Baby books. Invest in a comprehensive baby book, but be prepared to throw it out the window at times. The behaviors and milestones in them are just averages, remember every parent and their child are individuals, and the babies don’t read these books, they don’t know what they are “supposed” to be doing at X age.
Be confident. No matter how scared and inexperienced you are, trust your own judgement, you are a lot more intuitive to your child’s needs than you think you are, you can always call your own mother or the doctor later if you feel you really can’t cope or simply don’t know what the hell is going on anymore.
Try not to worry. Less people are judging you and your ability than you think. When your child cries in public most people turn and look out of sympathy, if they are mothers of older children most likely that sympathy will come with a healthy dose of empathy too. Every parent has that colic scream, and terrible two’s tantrum in public moment.
Have a helper on stand by if you can. You want to be alone for the first week so you can bond? Well fine I guess… just remember to keep your closest relatives and friends on speed dial. Whether it’s the traditional birth or a C-section you will be dog tired and feel beat up even before you have begun to try get into a routine with a newborn. Sooner or later you will want an extra pair of hands and eyes to help you out while you throw a mountain of laundry in the washer or just catch up on some sleep. You will see why this is the best of the advice as you go down the list.
Equipment doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be good quality. You will want car seats that you can tug on with all your adult weight and still be unable to pull out of position, these car seats also want to be easy to strap into the car and easy to strap your child in, and if they have a removable and washable or at least wipe down cover then that’s even better. Ditto the highchair, the antique wood with patterned fabric may look adorable but it will be a ***** to wash.
Don’t feel guilty about your decisions. Unless it’s something heinously criminal you don’t have to justify your reasons for anything. S**t scared of a traditional birth and opted for a C-section? That’s cool. S**t scared of a C-section that you demanded to have a home birth? That’s ok. Want to breastfeed? Go for it. Don’t want to breastfeed? It’s still your body your choice sister. This applies to pretty much every decision you can or will make as a parent, if your child is still mostly happy and healthy you really can’t have gone too far wrong.
Don’t lose your identity. Being mum has become a big part of who you are, but it isn’t all you are. Are all your child’s needs met? Have some spare time? Go back to one of your old hobbies for a while or maybe explore some new hobbies. You were a person with their own interests in your own right before you had the baby, and you can still be one now.
Sleep when baby sleeps. Ah that old chestnut, well it’s mostly true, if you are the sort who can nod off at the drop of a hat then get your power naps in. But If you are a raving insomniac like me, who used to spend all the time baby was asleep just trying-and-failing to sleep (no matter how tired you are) then resort to the number 4 bit of advice and get someone to take a 6 hour shift for you. (Grandmothers are good) “I love my mother, I love my mother, I love my mother…*crash* zzzzzZZZZZ!”
Inoculations do not cause Autism. Hey at the end of the day it’s your choice, but the pro’s outweigh the cons here. The chances of your child getting ill or developing a condition from vaccines is so slim, compared to the risk of them getting these illnesses if they haven’t had the vaccines. Don’t confuse a correlation for the cause. If you get your kid the vaccines the worst that will befall the child will mostly be a bad case of the grumps for a week or two. If you don’t get the child vaccinated, then they could catch that disease and it maybe fatal. I know which risk I’d rather take.
Housework can wait. With a newborn you are probably going through a 4 hour routine that looks something like this: 1st half hour, baby is awake and you are going through the list of stuff trying to figure out why they awake and crying. 2nd half hour feed and/or change the baby, then baby has decided to poop again and/or has thrown up so now you must change the baby again. 3rd half hour spent covering whichever aspect on the list that was not already covered, if you changed the baby you will now feed it, if you fed the baby you will now change it. or try to wind it again, or try to play with it. 4th half hour you are wondering why the baby is still crying, is it colic? did it poop again? does it just want a cuddle? And because you are sleep deprived finding out which it is takes the full half hour. 5th half hour you try to fix the problem. 6th half hour you try to get the baby back to sleep again, you read it the Gruffalo or the Lorax, it’s not putting baby to sleep. 7th half hour you rock your baby untill your arm has gone dead and hum like a mental patient. 8th half hour baby has finally got to sleep but you are too tired to wash any dishes or throw any laundry in the washer. You wonder how much time you realistically have until your baby wakes up again and you rinse and repeat. You feel like a zombie already and face the prospect of doing this for anywhere between 4 to 6 months, weaning and sleeping through the night feels like a lifetime away. Good grief! Call your mother, call anybody who is semi-trustworthy and refer back to number 4. People used to be close to their neighbors and never live far away from their own parents back in the day for good reason. It might not take a village, but it certainly helps.
I love my child. But I’m almost certain children get their energy by directly siphoning it from you as the parent.