This week there is definitely a baby boom in my world. Three friends have had babies, my youngest cousin is having her first baby and the much-awaited royal baby has arrived. As a seasoned mom of three, I often wonder what I wish I had known before my little ones were born – what advice would I give myself, if I was having my first baby this week?
1. Have realistic expectations
Being a new mom with a new baby is a learning curve for both of you. You won’t get it right 100 per cent of the time and your baby won’t be the perfect baby seen in the the advertising world. There will be days when it all feels too much and feeling as if you have failed this little person may become a familiar emotion. Try not to set yourself up for failure by expecting perfection. Your baby may not sleep through when other babies do. She may be a little ugly and have pimples for a while. Your toddler may throw a tantrum in public and you may shed a tear when it all feels too much. Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on your baby.
2. A rigid routine is a recipe for stress
While you may crave a semblance of predictability to your life in the next few weeks, your baby may have another agenda. Try to go with the flow, especially in the early weeks when your baby needs to feed on demand to help your milk supply become established. A month down the line, you can start thinking about guiding your baby towards a predictable rhythm each day.
3. Don’t compare your baby to other babies
Thank goodness your baby is unique – she is magnificently one of a kind. The flip side of this is that she may not keep up with the baby next door – or she may exceed your developmental expectations. Give her space to develop according to her own genetic blueprint.
4. Your baby will cry more and sleep less than you can ever imagine
In a fog of sleep deprivation you will be searching for clues as to why your baby is crying. This is the cruellest fact of the first three months – you have never been this tired or this clueless. The good news is that the crying settles by 12 weeks and your baby will probably sleep through before six months – I know, apologies that the good news feels like an eternity away.
5. Suddenly everyone will be an expert about your baby
You will want to lock yourself in a bathroom and avoid certain people – that’s a fact. Try to listen to your instincts and reflect on your style of parenting before you start this journey. From there, surround yourself with wise people who confirm that your style is right. Conflicting parenting advice is not helpful at all.
6. You are your baby’s most important toy
You will teach her about the world, emotions and make her feel safe, just with a little eye contact.
Enjoy your little one – there is never a time in life when the old adage: “Enjoy the journey” is more accurate than when it comes to parenting.
- Meg Faure, an occupational therapist with a special interest in treating fussy babies and those with sleep problems which brought the Baby Sense brand to life in 2005. She is also the owner of the Baby Sense Company which develops innovative baby products.
She co-authored the bestsellers Baby sense and Sleep Sense with Sister Ann Richardson, Feeding Sense with dietician Kath Megaw and Dr Simon Strachan and Your Sensory Baby.