Babies do not come with manuals. During your first pregnancy, you will learn many things by yourself but the learning will be easier if you are aware of what to expect. In this journey, you might find yourself asking “why didn’t anyone tell me” many times.
You will attend your usual antenatal classes, you might read books, and even register in a baby center, but all these won’t prepare you for the experiences you are about to have as a first-time parent.
It would be crazy, extremely exhausting, and a magical moment of your life. Your life will also change in unbelievable ways. Here are some important things you need to know about having babies.
Get ready to capture your baby’s childhood
You can invest in a quality camera just to capture wonderful pictures of your baby growing up. This will help you have many lovely pictures and probably videos of your baby childhood moments.
You would appreciate going over these photos in the future. They would remind you of the scenarios you may have even forgotten. Sometimes, the pictures look like a photo of a different baby because your baby has grown and changed so fast.
It will be almost unbelievable. Pictures are amazing because you would be too tired to remember everything. And your baby might also appreciate those pictures when they grow up.
Be picky about the advice you receive
Almost everyone has a piece of advice for a new mother. Everyone will give you an advice when you put to bed. This includes your family members, neighbors, friends, and even your friends who are yet to have their own kids.
Even random strangers would offer advice. Everyone you meet will have an opinion on how you should parent your baby and also give other suggestions. If you want to walk with what everyone tells you, you will bring yourself under a great burden.
This can also make you feel as if you’re not good enough. Actually you are a good parent and you are doing your best, this experience is normal and it gives you an enormous desire to do more.
So it is quite natural to question or doubt what you are doing. It’s natural to be worried if you are getting it right or not. But you have to trust the medical advice you’ve received and your parental instincts.
Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by everyone’s opinions and advice. You have to find your own parenting philosophy. You also have to be open enough so you can benefit from genuine/good advice. You just have to find a healthy balance between these opposites.
Your Baby Don’t Need Plenty Things
Many parents make the mistake of buying a lot of things thinking their babies would need it. In the end, they come to realize that most of what they got wasn’t needed.
You need just a few baby sleepsuits, a lot of nappies, your baby set, and a few blankets. A newborn baby doesn’t need fancy gadgetry. You have to know this so you save some money and not feel everywhere with fancy toys.
All your baby needs most is your love in abundance and your presence. Most first-time parents make the mistake of overbuying for their baby.
You need to go slow on this. Ask other experienced parents for their recommendations. This will help you save money for other future uses.
Your sleep will be affected
By agreeing to have a baby, you have just signed up for your sleep to be disrupted. You will miss your long hours of sleep terribly. Many moms get awfully sleep-deprived in their first week of delivery.
You will slowly come to the realization that sleep is a luxury for new parents. The best way to handle this is to sleep when your baby is sleeping. Don’t do other activities like cleaning, laundry, or cooking.
Sleep or take a nap and then you and your spouse can take turns staying up late at night. You can also change plans as the situation changes.
Have a budget and plan your finances
You will find yourself into an expensive proposition when you have a baby. Childcare drains your wallet. It is an expensive factor you can have to plan for before having a baby.
This forms the largest part of most family budgets.
Get all the supports you can
An African proverb says “it takes a community to raise a child”. This is right and that is why you have to get all the support available to you. You can ask family or friends to babysit for you if you have important things to do.
You can get help with cooking, house chores, and other activities. Your partner can also help. Don’t try to be a super mom or dad. If someone offers to help, do not refuse it.
These issues will definitely sort themselves out as your baby grows. For now, all you have to do is to go with the flow. You can join parenting support groups, seek out the advice of experienced parents when faced with a challenge, and you can even go online, and get information.
You would get helpful advice and tips when you turn to those who are in the same stage as you. They will give you the right advice, guidance, and support.
This will give you the support and comfort you need as a new mom.
You have to plan massively when going anywhere
If you are going anywhere with your baby, you will have to plan ahead and carry essential stuff. Forgetting any of these can make your outing uncomfortable.
Even a quick run to the market needs about 45 minutes of preparation. Most times, it looks as if you are preparing for an overnight trip.
Forgetfulness is not good at this time. You should avoid sleep deprivation and exhaustion because they weaken you, slow you down, and make you forgetful.
To avoid forgetfulness, you can keep a bag that carries all the essentials you will need when going out. Or you can keep a list of the must-haves when going out with your baby.
This list will help you when you are too tired to think or remember things. It will also help you to go out more organized and lacking nothing.
Breastfeeding is not impossible but it is hard
You might take time to get breastfeeding right. It is not as easy as it looks. But if you have the right support and information, you will easily overcome breastfeeding issues.
It will be a great start for your child if you choose to breastfeed. It will boost his/her immunity for life. You can talk to mums who have breastfed successfully in the past to get the real picture.
They can also recommend helpful resources for you such as a lactation consultant. He/she will teach you how to breastfeed your baby. You should also try and get all the help you need while in the hospital.
You need to search for more support and information, this will help you know if your baby is breastfeeding well or not.
Reconnect as a couple
Parenting can be so hard and challenging that you may forget to connect with your spouse. What could be on your both minds is survival. Even on the best of couples, the arrival of a new baby takes a toll on them.
Time would never be sufficient to run errands, finish house chores and you are always exhausted. Romance won’t be on the top of the agenda anymore.
Deliberate efforts have to be made in spending time together. During this time, you don’t talk about your responsibilities or your baby. If you can’t afford a baby sitter, you can set up date nights at your house.
This will also help to create a secure, healthy, and happy environment for your baby. If you argue in front of your baby, ensure that you make up also in the presence of your baby.
Babies are more resilient and stronger than you think
Babies are explorers in nature. This makes accidents like minor falls and bumps common. You don’t have to fret or worry over these. Their bones are also flexible and this can cause serious damage to you but do not cause more harm to them.
Aside accidents, there are other things you can worry about. Examples of worries are: Is the milk my baby drinking enough? Is my baby’s weight OK? Why is my baby crying? Does my baby have enough teeth? You will have a never-ending list of questions running through your mind as a new parent.
At a point, you might think you are doing everything wrong and ruining your baby. It’s sometimes difficult to gauge a baby’s sign but you can with practice and careful observations.
Babies are intelligent and they will grow beautifully if we don’t get in their way.
You will learn new skills
Your baby will teach you so much about life. A baby finds joy in very simple things. Your baby will teach you how to love unconditionally.
He/she will also teach you how to forgive, trust your instincts, how to be carefree, honest, patient, perseverance, and many more. You will learn how to eat your foods fast and do many things single-handedly.
You might end up becoming an expert in baby language and non-linguistic communications. You will learn to interpret your baby words. You would also learn to sleep anywhere and anytime.
The hardest months are the first three months
This is why it is called the “fourth trimester”. Your newborn baby will inconvenience you because he/she is gradually adjusting to life outside the womb.
You will also be going through all kinds of physical changes and hormonal changes when recovering from childbirth. This world is the complete opposite of what the baby is used to.
During this first three months, your baby is learning how to adjust to stimulation and he/she is learning how to express their needs. Life outside the womb I such a big deal for a newborn baby, and some easily adjust while others take a long while.
Give your child what he/she needs and empathize with your baby. It is soothing to them when you pick them up when they are crying. They won’t be stuck with you forever. A few months down the line, they can be left on their own but under supervision though.
You have to get enough rest, eat lots of healthy and nutritious foods, and rehydrate well because your emotions won’t be stable during this time.
It would be swinging like a pendulum. You have to take care of yourself so that this won’t take a great toll on you. Don’t get lost in the busy life of a new mother and forget to take care of yourself.
You need to factor in “me time” in all your planning and schedules. This will help you to rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself. A happy mother always makes a happy baby.
Enjoy the process
Before you know it, your baby will be grown up and even ready for school. Enjoy every process of their growth. This includes the sleepless nights, tantrums, toilet training, and all that.
Tine will run fast and in the blink of an eye, your baby is walking and ready for school. Enjoy the baby stage because it is so short and you will miss it when it is gone.
One of the most magical and mystical experiences of life is watching your baby grow. Don’t worry or panic about your baby. Both you and your baby will be fine. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the beautiful gift God has blessed you with.
You will laugh more than ever before when the baby stage is over. Parenthood is mostly being full of joy, hope, delight, and love even while you are tired.
Parenting is not a race, don’t compare milestones
Milestones are not for comparison but indications of your child’s growth, development, and progress. Milestones should not be a yardstick to measure the progress and growth of your child.
Allow your child to get there by themselves and celebrate milestones. Allow nature do its own thing. A lot of parents make the mistake of thinking that they have to teach their babies how to walk, crawl, or turn on their stomachs.
These things are taught to them by their instincts. Your baby will learn to achieve this in his/her own time. You don’t have to prop your child up to sit or hold their hands to help them walk.
Some parents do these before they can even stand properly by themselves. Allow your child to this by himself/herself. This is good physiology and it would also help him/her develop strong muscles and bone structure.
Allow and train your child to trust his/her body from a very young age.
Not all babies sleep easily or sleep long
Most websites will tell you that babies sleep for 12 to 16 hours daily. Reading this will make you think that they sleep all the time while you can go about your work.
However, this is not true for all babies. Not all babies sleep long for uninterrupted hours. Even at night, they might wake up and start crying.
Some babies sleep between 2 to 4 hours at a stretch. It might even be difficult to put some babies to sleep.
Knowing all these will help you prepare well ahead of time. You will ask questions and gather much knowledge on how to go through this.