Five things I wish I’d known as a new mom


Often, we gain perspective from hindsight. Having been a mom for many years now, I consider myself a veteran. Here are five things I wish someone had told me when I was just starting out:

Buying baby food doesn’t make you a slacker mom

In my early parenting days, I developed a penchant for masochism. Anything that wasn’t lovingly crafted by my beleaguered, sleep-deprived self was just not good enough.

One of the habits that this belief fostered was making my own baby food. Which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but the pressure I imposed on myself was crazy. I could often be found wandering slack-jawed and silly around the kitchen, trying to cook when I should have been napping.

Take it from me: just because you didn’t mix the ingredients together with your own, bleeding fingers, doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom. It means you need some sleep.

They’ll sleep, eventually

When Kid2 came along, it felt like I had kissed a full night’s sleep - actually two straight hours, if I’m honest - goodbye for good.

As a newborn, she’d wake up to feed every two hours, and then when she was old enough to sleep on her own, she’d wake up in the middle of the night to trudge through to my room and stare threateningly at me.

She’s a teen now and she sleeps for whole nights at a time. One might say she sleeps like a baby. But one would then be very much mistaken.

It’ll all happen, eventually

My babies were champion crawlers. Walking, they weren’t so keen on. I waited 18 months before Kid1 walked. Concerned about his lack of ambulatory skills, I took him to be checked out by a specialist.

The next day, seemingly just to prove how ridiculous that was, he got up and walked. At 11 months, a paediatrician declared Kid2 hyper-flexible and said she wouldn’t walk without physiotherapy. I chose to bide my time. She walked unaided at 19 months.

By the time Kid3 arrived, I just waited it out: he walked at 21 months.

Here’s a tip from a veteran: Milestones are for the birds. They won’t be crawling when they reach matric. Eventually, they’ll learn to walk and talk and chew their own food. Just be patient.

Your boobs will deflate

And then they’ll inflate. It’s like a roller-coaster boob-ride.

There was serious boobage when I was pregnant. For the first time in my life, I loved those things. They were big and sexy. When my milk came in, I looked like Pamela Anderson times 10. And then I stopped breastfeeding.

Out of nowhere, I had pancake-boobs. This was not pleasing. I thought long and hard (for at least a day) about getting a boob job.

Someone told me it takes five years to get the fat back into your boobs after breastfeeding. I have no idea whether that’s true, but at some point, they grew back. They’re not the same boobs as I had pre-pregnancy, but they’ll do.

Never put your hand down the nappy

You’ll be tempted, just like I was. You’ll smell something a bit off, but you won’t be sure. You’ll wonder if it’s the nappy. And your addled brain will tell that it’s too much trouble to take the nappy all the way off and you should test it by sticking your hand in.

Trust me when I say: it’s a horror show down there. Just don’t do it.

What do you wish you'd known as a new parent?

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