10 Things That May Surprise You Once You Have a Baby
No matter how many books you read or prenatal classes you attend, nothing will ever fully prepare you for the whirlwind of parenthood. There are so many wonderful things that come along with being a parent, and it’s so exciting to meet your little one after months of waiting – but here at Metanium we’re here to support you through it, so here are 10 things to expect once you become a parent!
1. BREASTFEEDING CAN BE HARD
Women are frequently made to feel guilty for not breastfeeding, but not all women want to do it – which is completely okay – and for some women it can be uncomfortable, painful and exhausting.
If you find that you are struggling to breastfeed but want to keep trying, there are a few ways that you can try to make it a little easier, such as:
- Keeping comfortable – Sit somewhere with plenty of support for your back and arms, and have your feet propped up. This way, you’ll be more relaxed and can easily bring your baby towards your breast.
- Supporting your breasts – They will probably feel more heavy and sore than usual, so use your hands to give them a little extra support during feeds.
- Changing positions – If you’re finding that a position isn’t working for you and your baby, change it. There's no 'wrong' position, so find what works for you both.
- Skin to skin contact – This can be very calming for your baby and help to make breastfeeding easier, so try placing your unclothed baby against your bare chest.
- Relax – Take a few deep breaths and relax – you’re doing your best.
Although it’s a natural process, breastfeeding doesn’t come easily for everyone and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mum, and although it can be upsetting if you hoped to breastfeed, don’t put pressure on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with using formula, as it contains all of the nutrients that your baby needs to stay healthy, plus it’s a great way to share the responsibility of feeding with your partner and help them to bond with your baby.
If you’re worried, have a chat with your GP or health visitor about alternative solutions. Whilst pregnant it’s normal to worry, but talking it out will help to put your mind at ease.
2. YOU’LL HAVE GOOD AND BAD DAYS
On one hand, you’ve just given birth to a beautiful, amazing baby that you love unconditionally. On the other hand, you’re sleep-deprived, hormonal and your whole life has been turned upside down! You’ll go from feeling frustrated and inept to feeling as if your heart is going to burst with happiness. Having a baby is an emotional rollercoaster and everything you’re feeling is normal. Make sure you talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling, such as your partner, your family or your friends.
3. EVERYONE IS JUST WINGING IT
Here’s a little secret – everyone is winging parenting. Everyone. Even the perfect mums you follow on Instagram with their immaculate makeup and impossibly tidy houses (seriously, how are they doing this?) The truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. You can only do your best, so trust your instincts and ask for help when you need it.
4. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WILL CHANGE
There’s no way around it, if you’re in a couple, becoming parents will affect your relationship. The first few months can be tough, as you have less time for each other and you’ll both be exhausted.
Sometimes partners can feel left out, especially in the early days when there’s so much required of mum. Sharing responsibility is a great way to support each other, so make sure they’re getting stuck in too – maybe they can be in charge of changes, or take on some bottle feeding? Remember, you’re both on this adventure together!
After the first few months, you’ll settle into your new lives and new routines, and be able to make time for each other again.
In the meantime, no matter how tired and grumpy you may be from the night feeds, listen to each other and make each other feel appreciated.
5. YOU’LL STOP BEING SQUEAMISH
Dreading the idea of changing nappies? You’ll soon get used to it!
In fact, you’ll get to a point where being peed, puked or snotted on won’t even phase you. Seriously. You’ll be spending way more time than expected up to your elbows in baby poop, so you won’t even bat an eyelid.
6. BONDING CAN TAKE TIME
Not everyone feels immediately overwhelmed with love the first time they are passed their newborn baby. Some parents take a little longer to feel that bond, especially if they had complications during labour or postpartum problems – it can take a little time, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for not bonding straight away.
Regularly cuddling and nurturing your baby is a great way to bond. Skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact is important, so make sure that you and your partner are cuddling, massaging, playing with, talking to and singing to your little one - which we’re sure you will be! Don’t worry, after spending more time with your baby, you’ll get there – just take it at your own pace. And remember, you can always reach out to a healthcare professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
7. YOU’LL LEARN WHAT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE MEANS
Once the bond has formed? Well, then you’ll know what unconditional love feels like! It’s like nothing else you’ll have experienced before and we guarantee you’ll be shocked at your capacity to feel so much love for someone that didn’t even exist a few months ago.
8. YOU’LL OBSESS OVER MILESTONES
We all know someone who brags that their baby was walking at three months and speaking fluently two weeks later (apparently) but really, all babies develop at their own pace. Although it’s good to have a loose idea of the expected milestones so you can make sure you’re doing everything you can to support your baby’s development, don’t sweat it if your child isn’t right on target.
9. YOU’RE NOT ALONE
Even if you have the most supportive partner in the world, the first few months after childbirth can feel isolating as you get used to your new life, so it’s important to reach out to friends and family for extra support when you need it (and you will need it!) If people offer to help, accept it. There’s nothing wrong with needing an extra pair of hands or just someone to pop round for a chat over a cup of tea.
10. IT’LL GO BY IN A FLASH
Don’t get us wrong, it’s not going to be easy, but before you know it, your baby will be one and you’ll be wondering how your tiny little baby grew up into a toddler so fast. So enjoy it while it lasts!
What were your biggest surprises during your baby’s first year? Let us know on Facebook!
We know that there’s a lot to learn when you become a parent, so take a look at our Everyday Advice page for some helpful tips and advice.
Breastfeeding How To’s: Positioning, tips and helpful accessories
How to shop smart and save on your baby budget
Travelling with your newborn: What you need to know
Heading back to work after giving birth
Welcome to the club: What to expect from a newborn