AH! I could write a whole book by now around what society says about being a new mum, but will try to focus on only a few.
1 – Sleep when baby sleeps rubbish
Every one was telling me, sleep when baby sleeps! I couldn’t take it anymore and was starting to have rage attacks. Even if baby is having a nap during the day, probably mum needs to eat, go to the loo, have a quick shower. Meeting basic needs is a challenge! And some mums still need to cook and do basic shores. Also, it might be that you actually try to sleep and you can’t. For instance in the first week I’ve suffered from insomnia. I went to bed, closed my eyes and couldn’t fall asleep. At some stage baby would wake up anyway.
2 Breastfeeding is hard
You get lectured as soon as baby is born on how to breastfeed: head back, nose to nipple and then push baby’s head to breast. If they don’t latch is because you’re an idiot! I’ve attended classea before she was born and it was really hard! I didn’t care about the latch, I just wanted to feed her. Ended up with lots of bruises because she had lip tie. So rather than making us look like failures, midwifes should be more supportive. It’s really hard to breastfeed at the beginning! No wonder so many mums give up because there’s no support.
3 – sleep torture
At war they use to torture people by sleep deprivation. Guess what a new mum faces? Waking up every hour or more often is a killer, seriously! And it can last months or even years. Some lucky mums have babies sleeping a lot in a row since 7 weeks. At 12 weeks my little one was still behaving like a newborn. So it’s ok to ask for help, either a friend or family so you can have rest. Mum is the most important person for baby, so if you collapse your not doing anyone a favour.
4 – you will look rubbish
Yap. No time to pumper myself. Even a quick shower feels a luxury. You might see lots of mums that look gorgeous and seem to have everything under control whereas you don’t even remember last time you’ve brushed your hair!
5 – leaving the house will take forever
You know the moment you believe you’re finally ready to leave, baby decides to do a massive poo and needs changing. Or vomits everywhere or both combined. Forget it, you can’t control time anymore, just be ready to be late all time and start preparing before you think you should.
6 – eau du vomit
That’s my new perfume. Most people used to say babies smell amazing. Well my one smells vomit and so do I. I’ve given up on being clean.
7 – you’ll miss your old life
Oh you will, loads and it’s ok. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby (there’s loads of positive stuff like baby giggles) but you’ll wander all the time about this person that used to be you. Learning to leave the house with baby ia hard. Yes you need to learn it and feel confident. You’ll love the fresh air on your face and if you close your eyes you can almost taste your old life with a smiley or sleepy baby.
8 – you will despair when baby cries non stop
It’s so heartbreaking to see our little ones in pain, you will feel like running to the hospital all the time. Trust your gut! As I’ve learnt the hard way, gps and health visitors only care about weight. If your baby is putting on weight everything is fine and it’s normal for babies to cry. While that is true it’s not always the case. Colic is just one of the things that might impact your baby. There’s stuff like reflux / silent reflux where baby will arch in pain day and night and you’ll feel ignored by the health professionals. Follow your gut! You know baby better than anyone, if you believe baby is not ok don’t give up until you get help. You might have to fight… Literally!
9 – you might have to give up on your favourite foods..
I thought I was only restricted while pregnant but no… Because of the reflux I’ve cut out dairy, soya, tomatoes, chocolate also avoiding red meat and I’m hungry all the time. It’s really hard! There’s lots of stuff with hidden milk. Eczema is another reason why you might have to restrict your diet. I miss my Mediterranean diet
10 – everyone believes they know better
Either its your own mum, your mother in law, the neighbours… Everyone will come with advice on how you should treat your baby. Again follow your gut and just ignore them. Some of the stuff I’ve heard even from strangers in the street
- Your milk might not be strong enough, you should give formula (my mum’s generation was told this by doctors!)
- You shouldn’t carry your baby all the time she will get spoiled (reflux hello????)
- Swaddle your baby.. My little one hated it since day 1
There are lots of positive things but I feel expectations are not set correctly and mum’s feel like a failure because they are tired all the time or baby is not growing according to the lines… For any mums out there, you’re doing great! Scream if you need to, we’re only human!