Week Three Realisations

Sunday, 31 December 2017

While I can't say I'm an expert, I'd say that I finally feel like I'm a little confident in what I'm doing. And what I mean by that is that I've mostly got the breastfeeding sorted, I know how to change a nappy, I can successfully bathe a baby and my shushing and rocking is down pat! Jackson has hit the three week mark and so I thought I'd share a few things I've learned along the way. Oh, and I know there is a whole lot more learning to be done but I'd say that the first couple of weeks are the most intense.

It's okay not to instantly fall in love with your baby.

I've heard from so many Mums and Dads that their connection with their baby is instant. As soon as they entered the world, they were in love and couldn't imagine life without them. Well, it's safe to say I haven't quite got there yet. I still just feel like a robot, catering to his every whim. And that's okay. Because it's just what life is like for the first bit. But I know that soon he'll start responding to us, we'll get smiles, giggles, cries.. He'll know that I'm his Mum and that connection will start. I'm not worried. It's not that I don't love him (how could I not) but I'm just the kind of person that needs to understand someone and their personality before I can really start a relationship. 

Breastfeeding is hard.

I wrote about my experience here but I still think it's worth a mention. Despite it being the "natural" way to feed your baby, it definitely doesn't come naturally so if you're having problems please don't just "tough it out" - see someone. You shouldn't be crying through feeds, filled with anxiety at the thought of trying to get your babe to latch on. And if it's not working, know that you did your best and "fed is best" so jump on that bottle and formula and look after you. 

Babies change constantly.

One day your baby is in your womb, the next they're out in the big wide world. It's an intense experience for them, and one that takes a little getting used to. So just when you think you've nailed the parenting gig, just remember your baby will change on you. They're growing and developing everyday and so what worked yesterday, might not work today. I know. But! I hear there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe when they're 18 and moving out? Ha! Just stick it out. From experience, patience and flexibility is the only way you'll get through it - and just the knowledge that eventually, they will settle and fall asleep.

Give yourself one task to do everyday.

People say to just sleep when babies sleep but the reality is, being surrounded by washing and dirty dishes can be a bit of a nightmare. My midwife actually gave me some great advice and that was to set one achievable goal for yourself a day. That way, you know you'll feel like you've achieved something that day without putting too much pressure on yourself to get it all done. And just give yourself a break if you don't get it done - even though it feels like you're just sitting around, feeding and changing baby, you're helping a sweet little thing grow and develop and they couldn't do it without you! It's pretty massive really.

Say yes.

Running on empty is a real thing and it's pretty nuts how little sleep you get at the beginning. So when people pop over and ask if you want help/dinner/a hug then say yes. Make the most of it because every little bit helps when you're exhausted. And don't forget it's not just you, it's your partner or support person too that needs a little care so for the sake of both of you, just say yes.

And there we have it! I know there's still lots to learn and a lot more to come, but I feel like this is what I needed to hear before Jackson came. It's not much, but I think it just makes you realise that being a first time parent (or second/third) is hard and there's no "one size fits all" approach. There's no miracle holds, magic milk or special sleeping trick. There are no rules, just that you do all you can to look after your little babe and that's honestly all they need. You are enough so just do your best because it's perfect.

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