1. In the hospital. Unless you’re dead posh, you’ll probably be put on a ward with 5 other new moms and their babies. Ear plugs are a must if you intend to get any sleep when your own baby is snoozing. That first night in hospital is setting the scene for the rest of your sleeping life. Now is a good time to say goodbye to it.
2. That first feed. For the love of god if your baby still hasn’t lached on 8 hours after giving birth and is still wailing with hunger, please, for the sake of us all; give him a damn bottle! Twice I was on a ward with moms desperately trying to breastfeed who had their babies taken away by midwives to give the poor mom a break. For the first night? Just cut your losses.
3. Breastfeeding. After having four kids I can confirm it is much easier to get into breastfeeding when you’re at home and a breast pump definitely helps. A lot. DO NOT beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen immediately, and DO NOT feel guilt if you slip in a formula feed as a top up. Sometimes? Needs must.
4. Formula feeding. Buy hungry baby formula from day 1. Why? Because your baby will want it by week 2 anyway. This was a lesson I learned after my first two, the hungry baby formula literally does keep them full for longer, therefore I had two babies who had a regular feed-every-4-hours routine pretty much from birth. (Very good tip: which ever way you plan to feed, make sure you have a least one tub of formula in the house before the baby comes home; once, I planned to formula feed and didn’t have any, then I planned to breastfeed, it didn’t work and I didn’t have any. Backup plans are always a winner)
5. Combo feeding. Probably the best thing I ever did. With my 3rd and 4th. I only attempted breastfeeding properly from my 3rd child, however, because breastmilk is easier to digest they don’t stay full for very long at all. We’re talking 45 minutes to an hour. Max. This was manageable during the day, night time however? Well, no one can survive on zero sleep. I started introducing formula at night from about 4 weeks old, worked a treat. Sleeping through (7pm-6am) from 10 weeks. #winning
6. Changing Nappies and clothes. Nappies are pretty easy so long as you don’t have a through-the-suit poo explosion (breastfeeding Moms, you’ll get used to this. Sorry) clothes however? Totally different game. For the sake of your sainity stick to vests and Sleepsuit only! As cute as those outfits from Next are, they’re actually a bit shit when put on your tinie-tiny baby. And babies have zero patience for getting dressed in fancy clobber.
7. Getting out of the house. Be prepared to never leave the house in under 30 minutes ever again. You’ll need at least three hours. Tips? Plan any outings in advance. At least two days. Seriously consider if your outing is actually necessary. Always have a pre-packed baby bag, with extra dummies (soothers, pacifiers, whatever) handy near the ready assembled buggy. Learn from your mistakes and refrain from outings again until baby is at least 6 months old. You’ll still need 3 hours to get ready though. Soz. 8. Sleep. Ha. Sorry, you won’t be getting much of that luxury anymore. That first night in hospital should have prepared you for that. However, getting off the couch is much easier than getting out of bed, so best to sleep on the couch. For the foreseeable future. It’s also much closer to the kitchen, for you know, formula making, breast pump cleaning, emergency towel grabbing and 2am coffee consumption. You’ll also be doing the rest of the family a favour by keeping the noise of baby downstairs with you. Yeah, sometimes moms have to take one for the team.
9. Weaning. Step 1. Always have a bath run and ready. Step 2. Put a very large mat under the highchair. Step 3. Remove all your babies clothes (unless you’re happy for them to be ruined in the next 10 minutes). Bibs are useless, don’t even bother. Step 4. Attempt to feed your baby orange goop from a seriously patheticallyshaped plastic spoon while he raspberry blows it back in your face. Repeat for the next 6 years. (Same steps apply for babyled-weaning, just be prepared to waste a lot of food)
10. You time. That’s pretty much nonexistent too I’m afraid, unless of course you have a nanny or some form of husband we only read about in parenting fairytales. (In which case, we hate you. Jokes. But seriously? Where did you find him and how much does he cost?) when your baby sleeps they’ll be only one of three things you actually want to do; 1, sleep. 2, eat. 3, do all the things you’re told not to do like clean the house, do the laundry, cook the dinner, tackle the month old ironing pile. You know stuff that has to be done. Sidenote: husbands are oblivious to any mess and therefore will not do it for you unless you nag him half to death and breakdown in one of those ugly-crying-monster-mom meltdowns. It’s a very real thing and it does work. Turns out, husbands don’t want to die.
11. Sexy time. I don’t know what it is about men but they seriously have no idea how long it takes for a woman to heal after giving birth. I’m sure they don’t realise the seriousness of what just happened to his poor woman. And I dunno, maybe it’s because our boobs are bigger but husbands become extra horny after you’ve given birth. And they will pester you. Tip? Just ignore his PornHub search history and let him get on with it. And be thankful it’s one less task you have to deal with.
12. Drinking Alcohol. No, you can no longer drink the local rugby team under the table at your favourite pub. In fact, you’ll be the one under the table after approximately 1 sip of wine. You’ll also probably be crying, because either a) you’re ridiculously drunk after 1 sip of wine or b) you suddenly realise you’re not the same woman you were before kids or c) you actually really miss the baby and would much rather be tucked up in bed watching Netflix. Life sucks. I know. Make it easier on yourself next time and adult up. Eat before you go out, drink water in between drinks and stay off the bloody wine!
13. Other helpful(ish) tips.
Babies cry. A lot. Give him a dummy. No shame in dummies, they’re a god send. If he won’t take one? Well, like me you’re basically screwed. Gin helps. For you, not baby, obvs.
Don’t buy shit loads of clothes (or nappies) in the same age, babies grow at rapid rates, especially if breast or combo fed. However, if you have over-bought on the sleepsuits, you can make a pretty penny selling all baby stuff on eBay, so don’t throw anything away. Ever.
Do over-buy on baby wipes, not only used to clean up shit and sick but they’ll also be your cleaning weapon of choice for the next 6 years. There’s nothing a baby wipe can’t fix.
Black leggings are your bestie for the foreseeable future. Yes, I know how cute those Topshop jeans are but trust me, you will get peed on, sicked on or shit on within 10 minutes of putting them on. Leggings, so easy to whip off and dead cheap to replace.
A handbag is basically just a fancy accessory for your buggy because that’s where it will hang when you’re out. Get a small one. Trust.
There is absolutely no need to embrace and enjoy every damn second of motherhood. Sometimes? It really is a bit shit.
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