run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Monday 25 May 2015

Life with a newborn

I was terrified about life with a newborn - everyone said it was so life-sappingly, unrelentingly awful. Announce that you're pregnant, and any parent of a baby or toddler reacted in the same way: first the smile, the congratulations, the announcement that they're so excited to have a new play-date buddy - then they got on to the negative stuff. 

"Enjoy your sleep now, because..." "You're reading a BOOK? That'll be the last book you read for 18 years..." "Restaurants? You'll miss them when the bump's gone.."

Well, maybe I'm overly stuffed with happy-hormones, and my six-week-old babba is currently slumbering on my chest. But... I've loved the newborn phase. I know going out gets tougher when the cute lil babe grows into a noisy, routine and cot-requiring toddler. But don't listen to all the doom-mongers. Quite apart from the fact that you have a tiny human, with teeny ears and fingers and toes that you'll stare at wondering how your body conjured them up, life with a newborn can be pretty chilled.

They say... you'll have no time for you, ever again.
 My experience has been... newborns sleep for most of the day. Yes, there's washing to do etc but there's also hours on the sofa cuddling your baba with your feet-up, and a film or TV catch up if you fancy.  
They say... They eat, all the time. You're just a dairy (or bottle-holder).
 I say.. yes, there are all those hours of feeding - and the boob experience definitely wasn't as easy as I expected, and hurt at the start - but it's pretty cool to look down and realise you're single-handedly sustaining your baby. Plus feeding time leaves at least one spare hand - to read blogs on your phone, read a Kindle at night, or just watch TV. 
They say.. you'll be fat..
 My experience has been: yes, my body's changed and not in a good way, and at times I find that a bit depressing. But the bump bit sucks up pretty speedily - and then it's just a question of actually doing some toning/exercise - just like life pre-baby. 
They say... You'll be knackered. Forever. 
 Ah, the sleep thing.. OK, that's true, I have occasionally found myself hallucinating about going to bed at 10 and sleeping alllll the way through til morning, like in the Old Days. But the body seems to adapt - I've been less tired in the first baby weeks than I was during pregnancy - and their sweet face gazing up at your takes a lot of the pain away from a 3am demand for that all-you-can-eat buffet you're providing. My husband even secretly admits to getting more sleep nowadays - because he is more disciplined about going to bed earlier.

Some other amazing things about newborn life: people are so nice to you. Random strangers come up to you to congratulate you on your ability to leave the house - no one did that on even your worst hangover days, when it was far tougher. Others will coo at your baby and tell you it's the most gorgeous thing in the world. Friends you haven't seen for yonks will suddenly send a Baby Gap parcel. Colleagues you've never seen smile will melt when you take your babe in for an office show-off. 

You'll have weeks (followed by months, and years) of firsts - first bath with your babba, first time they wee in your eye (one for the boys), first smile, that amazing smell of their newborn skin... So don't listen to the moody old-time parents!


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