So in June 2017 I became a parent for the first time. A beautiful little newborn babe. He is wonderful, he is amazing, I love him with every fibre of my being and he has already taught me so much I didn’t know about myself. That’s the gushing done (maybe), now on to the real stuff.
Clearly I’m not that far in to my parenting journey. I am in no way claiming to be an expert but here are a few things becoming a parent has taught me about newborns.
They stay up at night
These tiny little beings are night-time ravers with stamina to rival any 90s clubber. Not that I was clubbing in the 90s as I was under 10 but I hear impressive things.
Everyone told me that babies wake up a lot. I was repeatedly told to cherish my sleep and I did. I stayed in bed as long as I could which by the end of my pregnancy was not that long. It was definitely training for when Heath arrived.
What I hadn’t anticipated was that, not only did he wake up a lot, he stayed up for ages too. It was those two hour stretches between 1am and 3am that I was completely unprepared for. My little, angel-faced babe would just be there. Awake.
He wasn’t necessarily crying but I certainly couldn’t put him down. The staying awake was one of the hardest things I had to deal with as it left me exhausted which, when you’re a bag of hormones, is far from ideal.
They know when it’s Dinner Time
In those early weeks all I wanted to do was what a baby does. Eat, sleep, cry and well you know the rest.
Would he let us eat? Not in peace that’s for sure.
I had never expected that with his keen newborn sense of smell, Heath would identify dinner time.
Michael and I don’t really eat at regular times. Yet every time we served up something in our darling baby boy notified him that it was indeed, dinner time. Now he wasn’t necessarily hungry but he appeared to know this was a time to disrupt Michael and I. It ended up being two months before we were able to sit at a table just the two of us and get through a meal.
Heath still likes to join us relatively regularly. Mike has become a dab hand at eating one handed whilst bouncing our baby with the other!
They really do nothing
Having not really known many newborns I think I had some false ideas of what a baby would be like. He was amazing because we created him and he has superhuman hair but other than what I referred to in point 2, Heath really didn’t do anything.
I loved him unconditionally. He was special to us and all that jazz but he literally just slept for the most part. Even when he was awake he just gazed around.
Watching him watching the world quickly became my favourite sport! It definitely still is and will be for a long time!
They don’t always want to be held
This one came as a complete surprise. Sometimes they might want their own space.
What!? This little lady or gent that’s been tucked up so neatly inside me for almost 10 months wants its own space now? Where’s my reward? I want all the cuddles!
However, although this was a surprise, sometimes it’s exactly what my baby needs. Just a little time to kick his legs and roll around. Not only is it good for him, it gives me a little time to do a few bits and pieces too.
They may not know what a boob is
This one was a toughie. I was expecting this little, boob-guzzling being and was instead welcomed with an uninterested, unskilled babe.
Then I thought to myself, actually, he’s never done this before so why on earth would he know? It also didn’t help that I actually had no clue what I was doing either! Trying to wedge my entire boob into his mouth rather than just the nipple!
We figured it out after a couple of weeks and the help of nipple shields!
They will break you down
Babies are compact, emotional killers. Whether its joy or fear there will certainly be tears.
My first huge break down came at day 5. I was knackered and physically broken. At this point I dropped a maternity towel on the floor and I couldn’t pick it up. I literally broke down.
Another time, I was swaying in the middle of the night. Heath was just staring up at me. Tears were rolling down my face as I was simply exhausted and I needed him to sleep. He simply didn’t need to.
There were plenty more of the sad tears mainly due to exhaustion and hormones.
Luckily for me there were also plenty of happy ones too. The most memorable of these came as Heath smiled at me for the first time. Not a windy smile but a real smile. It was honestly the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and he got me right in the feels.
They may give you a new perspective on your own parents
This may or not be the case for you but for me I have an entirely new appreciation for my parents. I have always known that I was lucky with the two I ended up with but now I know just how much. Now I know what they went through not once but three times. Nutters. Although 3 is also my current plan.
My mum has been amazing. There whenever we have needed her and always so quick to jump up and help. The best present she gave us was an afternoon of sleep where she looked after Heath and did the washing up. Blissful.
Mike’s mum has also been fabulous. Ready to pick up anything we need from the shop and stitching a few things when needed! My sewing skills leave a lot to be desired!
Our extended family have been amazing too and so have many of our friends.
Whether it’s the family you were born in to or the family you’ve chosen through friends, you will gain a new appreciation for certain people.
One thing’s for sure – you will learn just how fast it goes so enjoy all the crazy, lovey-dovey-ness whilst it lasts!
It really is a whirlwind!