What I wish I’d known about newborns first time around

newborns

Can I tell you a secret? I was a nervous wreck my first time around with a newborn.  A red hot mess.

 

I was anxious.

I was so not coping with the lack of sleep (and completely ignoring that advice to sleep when the baby sleeps).

I wasn’t eating well.

I just generally wasn’t in a good head space.

 

Friends of mine who are currently in their first year with their first babe (the very hardest year I believe) often mention how calm I seem this time round.  The biggest difference is honestly my perspective on the whole thing. It really is easier with number 2 and 3 (and I imagine beyond) because you know more and stress a whooolllleee lot less.

 

If only I could go back and whisper these 5 little secrets into my own ear so that I could’ve enjoyed my first baby as a newborn a little bit more.

 

5 things I wish I’d known about newborns first time around

1. Babies are un-figure-out-able (yes it’s most definitely a real word)

With my first I spent hours researching how to get him to sleep more.  I tried all the things the books said and he still napped for only 40 minutes on the dot.  I literally drove myself crazy trying to ‘figure him out’ instead of just getting to know him.  This time – I don’t waste the mental energy trying to work out what is wrong, I just get on with getting on.

 

2. Breastfeeding can be really painful at first.

First time around I think I just imagined that you put the baby to your boob and *bingo* – they drink and what a blissful experience that will be for both of us. Arrrrr…. yeah…. NO.  Breastfeeding in the early days is PAINFUL.  You’re learning, they’re learning, they want to do it all night long and your poor nipples are still being worn in. Ouch!

I promise you though, it does get better! Make sure you reach out to a lactation consultant or someone in the know if you’re in excruciating pain or have bleeding nipples.  Pump and feed. Use a shield. Do whatever you have to do. It won’t last forever and eventually you’ll both get good at it and it won’t hurt a bit… until they get teeth! (but that’s another story for another post).

 

3. Day 2 is SUPER HARD

I’d even forgotten this third time around. Or maybe I’d blocked it because it was too painful to remember. Day 2 is tough. Baby wakes up a bit. They want to constantly feed to get your milk to come in. Your nipples are probably already feeling like they’re on fire (see previous point). And you might not have slept in 48 hours. Fun times.

Even third time around I had a moment on day 2 where I felt like ‘I can’t do this. I just can’t get through another minute of this.’  But of course I did, and eventually my milk came in and he finally slept for a few hours (and so did I) and the world didn’t look so dark and scary anymore.  Just know that day 2 (or perhaps 3 or 4 or 5 for you) might be epically hard and that you can and will get through it.

 

4. Nothing lasts forever

I struggled with this big time with my first. I would constantly find myself worrying about doing things because then I would be ‘stuck doing it forever’.  Which is crazy! To my knowledge no one is still swaddling their 14 year old to get them to sleep!

This time around – if it’s working for me (and them) right now – it’s working.  Whether that’s holding them for all of their naps, feeding them 20 times a day, rocking them to sleep – all of the so called bad habits.

I know one of two things will eventually happen. They won’t need me to do it anymore, or it will eventually stop working for me. And then, I will find something else to do (or not do) in it’s place. The stressing over the bad habit is the worst part.

 

5. Babies can’t read parenting books and neither should you.

I remember my Mum saying to me when my first was a newborn and I had just explained some theory on sleep to her – ‘But did Eamon read the book?’. At the time I remember feeling pissed off by that comment but in hindsight she’d actually just given me the greatest piece of wisdom.

Put down the book. Step away from google.

Pick up your baby and follow your own instinct. You know best.

 

So they’re the five things I wish I’d known first time around. I’d love to hear from you – what do you wish you’d known?

 

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