Today is 1st of February, traditionally the first day of Spring in Ireland, so it's not a day for negativity. Spring is my favourite season, so filled with possibilities and hope. And new life.
So this post is not going to be about anything profound or thought provoking, it's going to be a light hearted look at some of the best baby tips I wish I'd known about when I started my 'Mammy' career. But first I want to show you a little clip of a beautiful cinematic documentary my own 'babies' gave me as a Christmas present this year and which I just got around to watching a few days ago.
It is delightful.
Top Tips For New Mommies..
When baby number one comes along I think every parent is in awe and a bit afraid of their new and tiny little ward. I know I was. You know, you're afraid you'll break the baby. You're afraid she'll never go to sleep and then when she's asleep you're holding a mirror close to her nose to make sure she's breathing. Or you wake her up just to check she's alive! It goes with the deal I think.
Well at that time I used to faithfully buy baby magazines and follow the 'instructions' of the gurus. Funnily enough, when my fifth baby was born I bought one magazine and flicked through it briefly before coming to the conclusion that the producers of these magazines know about as much about babies as I know about how to sell a glossy magazine...practically nothing. I passed the magazine on to my neighbour who had just had her first baby and was a little bit afraid she would break him!
Anyway, from those magazines, I did glean one piece of adv..no, sorry, two pieces of advice which probably justified all the money I spent.
1: Babies are designed for amateur parents-i.e. they're a lot tougher and more flexible than you think. You're not going to break baby just because you're inexperienced so relax and do your best.
2: Babies over one month old do not need more clothes than their parents. Therefore, if you are wearing a vest, t shirt and a sweater, baby does not need four extra layers, plus a blanket and a coat, two pairs of socks and a pair of fur booties.
Those two bits of advice gave me such relief. I probably wasn't going to break my baby and I didn't have to ask a million times was she too hot? too cold? does she need an extra cardigan? should I take off those tights..or add another pair? Phew...
So my other personally picked up tips are:
3: Try and adjust your perception of time. Babies don't know that you're usually asleep at 4 am and it's not their fault that they are awake at that time and keeping you awake. When I had my first baby, I used to dread the 4am feed, I was so tired and as I was sitting bolt upright breastfeeding my baby with my bedside light on I'd look at my snoozing husband with a feeling deep inside which no wife should ever feel toward her husband!! I wish I could say I am exaggerating, but sorry, no.
At least by the morning I'd usually be back in love with him again.
Then I read somewhere about changing my own expectation to that feed in the wee hours and instead of dreading it, try to look forward to that secret and intimate time with my tiny sweet milky babe when all the world was asleep and it was just me and her, a single ecosystem, snuggling in the dark and delighting in each other. It made a world of difference and to this day I will always look back at those secret moments with each of my six babies as some of the most special I will ever experience.
4: Learn how to breastfeed lying down. Science and research come up with new benefits of breastfeeding every year and I am not going to enter into a lecture here. Suffice to say that it is one thing I will get out of my bed in the middle of the night and drive somewhere for...if I think that a mother is not going to persevere in breastfeeding for the want of someone to encourage her. Honestly, I would do that. But d'you see that sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night to feed a baby...exhausting. So if a new mother can practice, practice, practice breastfeeding lying on her side ( a rolled up towel under the hip and back is great) it means that while baby is feasting away, she can have a snooze too.
It's really very easy when you master it and can be the thing that makes all the difference to feeling human and feeling like the walking dead.
5: Have a night (or afternoon) out with your spouse from time to time. Believe it or not, baby will not be psychologically damaged if her Mummy and Daddy spend some time refreshing their love for each other. Especially if the mother has recently become a stay-at-home Mom. Desire is the longing for something you don't have at that moment. If you spend every minute of every day with that little person, you will never feel desire for him because the desire is always being fulfilled. I think a short break will stir up that desire for the baby, you'll look forward to seeing him again ready and refreshed and in the process a little marital desire may be just the thing too.
6: I know every parent advises this when it's too late for them personally to do this, but believe me, you will regret this if you don't do it: Get yourself a pretty notebook, maybe something like this lovely one I saw on etsy.com -
Now, keep this little book to hand and write down the funny and endearing things your little ones do and say.
You think you'll remember...you won't.
Well that's a little taste of my deep seated and profound wisdom...
I'd love you to add any tips you've picked up along the way, maybe somebody will glean from them.
And can I ask you to send a few prayers my father's way for his speedy recovery so that he can come back home to us?