#1. All bumps are different. Okay this one hits close to home because it fucked me off every time somebody would tell me how small I was even though my belly was measuring at the correct size. At 25 odd weeks I freaked out and started worrying that my baby wasn’t healthy, when there was obviously nothing wrong with him at all. Baby bumps come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are small, big, high, low, round, bumpy or even lopsided. Even if you have a big bump, it doesn’t mean you’re having a big baby and vice versa. Whatever shape or size it is, remember to embrace the beauty and love your bump. Regardless you’re always going to get rude comments from people, strangers even, but try to take it in your stride and move on because its not worth the stress.
#2. Tell those lazy bleeps to give you their seat on public transport. Sorry, another one that hits close to home. Throughout my pregnancy I spent an hour on Melbourne’s public transport each way to and from work and I would be lucky to even get a seat – infact only three people ever offered me a chair. Yes there are some rude dickheads that look at you and turn away, but I’m positive most people are simply just lost in their own world on a boring train or tram ride home. If you need a seat and are bordering on fainting, stop being so stubborn/scared and just ASK. Kindly ask someone if they don’t mind giving up their seat for a heavily pregnant woman and I’m sure five people will instantly stand.
#3. Have more date nights with your other half. It can be tough getting out of the house when you feel like a nauseous whale, but try and make an effort to go on as many romantic dates with your partner as possible. Stay out late, have a sneaky glass of red and chat till the sun rises, because once the baby comes along dates like these will be few and far in between. Even better take some time out for yourself, read a book, go for a walk or just spend a day getting your beautiful self pampered.
#4. Google: Cluster Feeding. I knew babies fed alot, but I honestly didn’t even know the full extent of it all. After Jacob was born, he was feeding up to two hours at a time, but on day five he randomly decided to feed for 6 hours straight from 2am to 8am! I honestly felt like my mind wasn’t even cohesive with my body movements and I was freaking out that it would be like this forever. I think that if I had known about cluster feeding beforehand then I probably would have been better mentally prepared for the sleep deprivation that came along with it.
#5. Don’t buy too many baby clothes. It’s super cray how quickly babies grow and as soon as they’ve moved into a new size, two weeks later they’re quickly growing out of it again. Not only did I buy tons of baby clothes when I was pregnant, but we were also gifted clothes at our baby shower and in the end we had way too many. When Jacob was born I found that I was rotating piles of clothes so that we could atleast get one wear out of them…even then there were still clothes that weren’t even touched. Shopping for baby clothes is super addictive because everything is so small and cute, but if I could go back in time I would do things very differently. Next time I wouldn’t hesitate to buy secondhand clothes (Why spend $200 on 8 pieces when you can spend $10 for nearly-new used pieces?) and I wouldn’t buy such a large quantity of the one size (you do so much washing with a baby anyway so before you know it it’ll be clean). Also one more thing, Bonds Wondersuit onesies have a longer lifespan and are great transitional pieces when your baby is in-between sizes…and lets not forget that double zipper that makes it soooooo easy for overnight nappy changes! WINNING! The Bonds website has a few big sales across the year and there are quite a few retailers such as Best & Less that sell them cheap too. If you’re money conscious like me, then do your research and you’ll save hundreds of that hard earned moolah.
#6. Buy maternity clothes that are breastfeeding friendly. I know that not every mother ends up breastfeeding their baby, but from my experience as a breast-feeder I really wish I had shopped a bit smarter when it came to maternity wear. When I was pregnant I bought a few proper ‘maternity’ category garments, but for the majority I just went a few sizes up and unfortunately I didn’t even think about having access to the good ol’ milk jugs. Rookie mistake! So ladies if you want more bang for your buck, then I would definitely suggest stocking up on tops and dresses that have buttons or zippers down the front.
#7. You will cry alot and it’s completely normal. While you’re pregnant and after you’ve given birth, your body is continuously being pumped with a shitload of crazy-inducing hormones . Before you start wondering whether you’re losing your marbles, don’t fret because during this time it is totally and completely normal to cry over the simplest things. When I was pregnant I very nearly cried because a barista served me my coffee in a mug and not a takeaway cup. Not shitting you, it was an internal battle in my head to hold those tears back…all over a bloody coffee! If you didn’t think that was bad enough, the postpartum period takes it to a whole new level and during the first week after birth up to 80% of women feel an overwhelming emotional low called the ‘baby blues’. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself crying over the beauty of your baby, lack of sleep or even just the flow of love that you feel for your family. Yes, its okay to cry alot and feel sad for a while but if you feel like those feelings are a little OTT, then don’t be afraid to seek professional help because postpartum anxiety and depression is very common too.
#8. You won’t sleep for a very long time. People often say to you “get as much sleep as you can before the baby comes” and one of the first reactions you might have is to punch them in the face, because in between the pregnancy insomnia and the endless overnight peeing you’re pretty much not sleeping anyway. Thanks to every person I came in contact with I was quite aware that new mothers didn’t get alot of sleep, but boy did I have NO IDEA how debilitating it would be. I like to say that you don’t know what tired is until you’ve had a baby, because from memory it was like having the worst hangover imaginable and then being hit in the face with a bus. I know, I kinda sound like I’m over exaggerating but I’m honestly not. At several points in that newborn phase I thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion, but somehow our bodies just power on through. At the time it might feel like the sleep deprivation will last forever, but I promise over time it WILL get better.
#9. Once you think you have some sort of routine, your baby quickly changes it up on you. You’ve finally found the perfect settling technique for your baby, you know how to interpret their cries and you’ve got their sleeping routine down pat. You’re probably thinking to yourself “damn I’m pretty fucking good at this mum-thing”. Then out of nowhere…BOOM! Suddenly they’re not sleeping a wink, crying for hours on end during witching hour and that “perfect” settling technique is just making it worse. Don’t fret, it’s totally normal! Check out the Wonderweeks app and it will give you an idea of the developmental stages (leaps) your baby is going through and the temperament that they might be in. All that growing must be tough on the wee ones and the app will give you an understanding of why their mood has virtually flipped overnight. When it gets really tough, the app becomes a good reminder to be patient with your baby and to not be upset when they suddenly change their routine on you.
#10. All babies are different. I know it’s hard, but try not to compare your baby’s growth and development to the other babies in your mothers group. No matter if your baby was born a skinny runt or with a bakery to boot, can or can’t roll over front and back, is sleeping through the night or waking every two hours…just remember that all babies are different and that one day the late bloomers will catch up to those eager beavers. Don’t worry if your bubs isn’t even doing the things stated in the baby growth guidelines book, because thats what they are, they’re just guidelines. You might have a fast developing, sleep-through-the-night type baby and you might not. If you do, yes celebrate in your babies achievements but don’t brag about it to other mummies, because the last thing a sleep deprived mother with a high needs baby wants to hear is that you get a solid 12 hour sleep every night. On the other hand if you don’t, then try not to be sour about it and be happy for those babies meeting their milestones because one day they’ll be cheering your baby on when he/she meet theirs.
#11. It takes a village to raise a baby. Both of our families live overseas so for the majority of Jacob’s life we have had to navigate our way through parenthood alone. I come from a BIG family so I can imagine that there would have been people around every day to help clean, cook and even babysit. It’s been hard doing it on our own, but thankfully we’ve had some really amazing friends to help support us along the way. It really does take a village to raise a baby so as hard and as awkward as it is, try and accept help wherever you can. Ask friends/family to hold off on the bouquets of flowers and kindly ask them to bring over a bulk dinner dish instead (good thinking Robyn mwah!), maybe even fold your babies washing (thanks Bec!) or even just holding your baby while you have nice hot and LONG shower (thank you literally everyone who stepped into my house haha). The people around you WANT to help but probably don’t want to tread on your toes, so don’t be afraid to accept help and reach out if you need it.
#12. After giving birth you will bleed ALOT. When you come out of labour your stomach will still look like you’re 6 months pregnant and over the next 6-8 weeks your uterus will start shrinking back to its normal size. Along with this you will feel cramping afterpains and your body will release a shiteload of blood – if you’re breastfeeding then you’ll feel both of these happen at the same time and the sensation is very, well, weird. Nobody really talks about this stuff and I had no idea that I would have to wear those thick maternity pads for so BLOODY long, so stock up ladies.
#13. Be an open book. I was completely against co-sleeping and now we all sleep together in the same bed every night with Thomas at our feet. I thought I was going to self-settle Jacob from the get-go, but he was clingy AF during leap 4 (on behalf of all mothers: fuck you leap 4). Sean was originally going to give Jacob formula for the night feed to give me more sleep, but his tummy didn’t like it and it was hard sticking with the routine. Babies are super unpredictable and you’ll probably end up doing all the things that you said you wouldn’t do. Like alot of things in life most things don’t go to plan and it makes it a whole lot easier if you approach it with an open mind and take things as they come. Side note: Whatever you do, do not judge another parent’s method of parenting. I’ve seen and heard some mother’s make some snarky comments and yes you can have an opinion, but I don’t believe that anyone has the right to attack someone just because they don’t agree with their way of doing things.
#14. Trust your instincts. With your first baby everything is so new and scary so it’s no surprise that most first-time-mums freak out at every little thing. I’ve questioned so many things along the way, breastfeeding issues, settling techniques, sleeping methods, how to bathe your baby…and it still doesn’t end. The best advice I’ve ever been given was to follow your motherly instincts and sure enough most of the time it has been right. It saves you so much stress if you just “feel” your way through this whole motherhood gig and trust in yourself and your ability to make your own decisions.
#15. Your love will multiply. I truly didn’t understand what love was until we had Jacob. The feeling is indescribable and it would be an offence to even attempt to put it into words because nothing would ever do it justice.