Five things it is essential to know about raising a baby*
*Not really that essential at all
- It is easier to open a packet of cakes than make a sandwich. Especially one handed (you do it with your teeth).
- You won’t enjoy every moment. Bask in some and just try to get through others. You’ll recognise which is which, though the first usually involves a smiling or sleeping baby and the second – poo on the carpet and exhausted crying from you both.
- The kitchen floor isn’t dirtier than it used to be, you just notice it more now you are not at work. Stop looking down.
- Takeaways are your friend. Don’t judge yourself, even when you drop a bit of peperoni on your sleeping baby’s head
- If you’re worried about a lack of a dirty nappy from your baby, just run late for a Doctor’s appointment, strap them in the car seat and lock the front door. The poo will follow immediately, and will most probably be up to their shoulders.
Five things it is essential to own with a new baby*
*More essential than a crib, honest
- Warm, toasty socks – Feet get cold in the night when you are feeding, feet get cold in the day when you are sat trapped under your sleeping cutie and feet get cold when you are stood in the kitchen rocking for 90 minutes at a time.
- An Extractor Fan – This may reduce the standing and rocking time above from 90 minutes to 45. Other popular sleep tools for these strange little babies – dishwashers, hairdryers, hoovers. Things that may terrify babies and stop them going to sleep: dishwashers, hairdryers, hoovers.
- Baby wipes – Oh so many baby wipes. Buy lots, and then buy some more. The perfect answer for quick personal hygiene, cleaning vomity shoulders, doing housework, questionable carpet stain removal as well as constant baby bottom duties. They are your new best friend and to be separated from them is to be exposed to a world of pain.
- Music box contraption – The repetitiveness will drive you mad, the lullabies will fill your too short dreams, but it will save your voice and your baby will love it. Just don’t buy a wind-up one, they are impossible to administrate with your arms full and cannot be operated with your feet. Believe me, I’ve tried.
- Your mobile phone – For taking photos of your little beaut, for Googling all the million things you WILL be worrying about, for helping you to stay awake during night feeds, for plastering too many of the aforementioned pictures on Facebook.
Five things it is essential to do with a new baby*
*Forget E.A.S.Y, Gina Ford and Super Nanny, this is the routine to get you through
- Cuddle – They’re not newborns forever (thankfully!) Enjoy all the cuddles you want, hold them close, give them a sniff, and let them nestle. It won’t be long before they are pulling your hair, biting your nose and using you for a human hanky. They will still give nice hugs though, in fairness.
- Accept Help – Family and friends want to see your new baby and (most) want to be useful. You want to eat, sleep and have the occasional shower so let the two meet and the days will be happier, easier and potentially include a hot meal too!
- Relax when your baby sleeps – Or sleep, obviously. But if you can’t, because you have unwittingly become a human mattress to your newborn, do try your hardest to at least rest during this time. You won’t always enjoy your status as pinned down Mummy but at least make the most of your little time out. Gather your blanket, TV remote and obligatory cake and push aside any worries of what needs doing by when – look after yourself as best you can whilst looking after a precious someone else.
- Go out when you want – Of course, don’t be under any pressure to leave the house at all – keep rocking that lounge wear for as long as you like. But don’t tie yourself down to times, routines and nap stresses in the early days when friends, walks in the park and empathetic cups of tea may just be the thing to get you through the tired and sometimes fraught days.
- Do what you need to survive – Be it rocking, dummies or bribery – although the latter is rarely successful. It gets easier, but not by putting more pressure on yourself to do things “right.” Right for your baby isn’t right for the next and so forth. Just survive, that is all.
And remember, you may feel like you’re dying with tiredness during some nights but don’t worry, you’re probably not. It does get easier and you most definitely get tougher. You are doing a wonderful job, giving all you can give and are without doubt, providing every single thing that your little bundle needs.
What essentials would you add to this? I feel like there wasn’t enough mention of cake?
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