Adapting to life with a newborn
So you’ve had 9 months to prepare for their arrival (or even longer if they were a stubborn little so-and-so like JJ who was 10 days late). You might have read every baby book out there, purchased all the latest baby ‘must haves’ and been to every antenatal class; but can you really prepare for life with a newborn? There’s nothing quite like that first night at home when you’re on your own with this new little being and the realisation truly hits – life as you once knew it suddenly has a whole new meaning.
Okay, now what?
It all starts with leaving the hospital. 15 hours after giving birth, I barely had the energy to walk to the car, let alone parent. I spent what should have been a five-minute journey sat in the back with JJ while Rich crawled along, waiting ages at each junction even when it looked like it was clear – ‘just in case’. We finally arrive home, introduce JJ to the pooch (his future bezzie), then have a little cry as we sit staring at this beautiful little person we had created, wondering what the hell we were meant to do next!
What day is it again?
During the first few weeks, day and night pretty much merge into one. As I was breastfeeding, I was obviously responsible for the night feeds (as much as Rich was disappointed by his lack of boobs and therefore inability to help). Before bedtime each night I would surround myself with drinks and snacks, making sure my phone and the remote were in easy reach to complete the dream set up. As strange as it may sound, I almost looked forward to JJ waking up in the night for a feed, as this was our time together. Just the two of us. Seeing his little eyes gaze up at me as I held him, knowing that I was all he needed in that moment – it was just so special. Especially after feeling quite overwhelmed by all the visitors during the day. Not only were we bonding, but I also got to catch up on Netflix shows – win/win! There was something about the stillness of the night that made me feel like we were the only two people in the world, even with Rich snoring away next to us (pfft, you and your useless nipples!) Despite the limited amount of sleep, I was consumed by a whole new level of love for this little boy and it was that overwhelming feeling which helped me power through each day.
Google will become your best friend
As a new Mama, you would think that the first time your baby sleeps through the night would be like Christmas coming early. Nope – my reality was far from it! The first time it happened for us was when JJ was about one week old. My body was still exhausted and recovering from the birth, so you’d have thought I would be longing for some proper sleep. But no, every hour or so I would wake in a panic as my eyes darted towards the crib, using my phone light to check he was okay and not being able to relax until I’d felt his chest moving. After he’d missed one feed, I even resorted to late night googling ‘what to do if your baby sleeps through the night – is this normal?!’. The midwives try and encourage you to wake your baby if he sleeps more than 2 – 3 hours at a time, but as JJ was already thriving we followed our intuition and opted for the ‘feed and sleep on demand’ method, which made far more sense during those early weeks. I just couldn’t bring myself to wake a sleeping baby – everyone knows that’s the golden rule of parenthood right?!
A few weeks in, right when you start to feel like you’re getting the hang of things, BAM, it’s time for your other half to go back to work and for you to brave it alone. It was quite daunting to begin with – But what do I do if I need a wee? Where do I put him?! But looking back, I couldn’t even tell you how we filled our days – they flew by somehow! It was pretty much 50% staring at JJ in awe of how perfect he was (or taking pictures of him) while the other 50% involved running in and out of the shower mid-shampoo or back and forth from making a cuppa to check he was okay! And trust me, during those first few weeks, you won’t even think about trying to leave the house, as even the once simple task of washing your hair feels like one massive Mama WIN for the day!
What were your biggest challenges as you entered the adventures of parenthood? Share your stories below!