Nothing can ever prepare you for having a baby. It’s probably the most life changing thing that you’ll ever experience; I wasn’t naïve, I knew it’d be tough but I really didn’t realise how exhausting and traumatic it would be. You can read all the books you want but until you’ve gone four days with no sleep you don’t have a clue.
If I was to have another baby tomorrow, I’d feel like an expert. I’d do everything differently and I think I’d cope so much better and enjoy it more.
So here’s what I wish I knew first time round.
That I’d miss being pregnant. My mum told me to enjoy it, that I’d miss my bump. I did love being pregnant but I didn’t appreciate it and I was desperate to get the baby out. I’d do anything for that bump now.
That the birth is the easy part. I can actually say I enjoyed giving birth. Maybe not at the time when I was rolling around on my ball spewing up Coco Pops or swearing at P for not holding my gas and air at the right angle but I have nothing but amazing memories of my water birth and it all went exactly to plan. However, after going into labour on the Sunday I probably had about 3 or 4 hours sleep until my milk came in around the Wednesday and I have never ever ever felt exhaustion like it. We still barely slept after that but at least he didn’t scream all night anymore. The hospital was fantastic and offered to take the baby until his next feed so I could get some rest but I declined as I just wanted to lie there and stare at him. I can safely say I’ll be accepting next time.
That the baby blues WILL happen and are totally normal. After giving birth your body will experience major hormone changes and leaves you feeling so emotional. I cried non-stop for about 3 days; I cried because I was tired, because I loved him so much and because, well, just because. It’s completely normal but should only last a few days.
Feed feed feed. I didn’t realise how much newborns actually need to feed. I feel horrendously guilty that M would be screaming his head off and we’d be pacing up and down rocking him, singing to him, cuddling him and all he wanted was milk. I’d be scared about him waking up as I knew he’d cry and I didn’t know how to stop him. Next time, the slightest whimper and baby will be straight on the boob. They can’t overfeed and it’s often suckling for comfort but that’s fine, I didn’t know something so important and I’ll always feel guilty for that. I feel like all that crying (on both our parts) stopped me from enjoying him!
Co-sleeping would save my sanity. After the first few nights of no sleep, we finally realised M just wanted to be stuck to my boob and thought the only way I’d get any sleep is if we co-slept. I researched safe co-sleeping and I didn’t realise how completely normal it was. He’s been a part of me for 9 months, of course he’s not going to want to sleep alone in his hard wooden crib. Co-sleeping was an absolute life saver. Think we used that crib less than a handful of times, so I probably won’t even bother getting it out next time.
There’s no rush to get back to normal. I’d just carried a person for 9 months and pushed him out my foof and I was so bothered about getting back into my pre pregnancy clothes and getting out. I had guests from day dot and took him out in the pram on day 4 which was ridiculous as I could barely walk or see straight. Next time, I’ll be in my jamas on the sofa enjoying every minute with my new born. Obviously it’ll be a little trickier to hibernate as I’ll have a toddler too, but it’s so important not to rush and enjoy this time as it goes so quickly. I’m desperate for it now M has me at the park in all weathers.
Savour every moment. I feel so sad that I barely remember anything about the first few months, it’s all just a huge blur and I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I can’t really remember sitting cuddling my newborn or the noises he made or how we spent our days. I’m glad I took loads of pictures though, even if it makes me sad looking at them!
What do you wish you knew as a first time mum?