The Reality of Life with a Newborn
Your expectations and the reality are probably going to be very different things! So, forget perfect parenting (if there even is such a thing) and see what life will really be like with your new arrival!
How to Survive Life with a Newborn
Feeding Doesn’t Always Go to Plan
Life with a newborn involves a lot of milk! Most mums choose to try breastfeeding before moving onto formula, because breastmilk is designed just for your little one. Nursing also offers many health benefits and strengthens the bond between mum and baby. But even though breastfeeding is often referred to as the most natural thing in the world, it’s not always easy. If you do plan on breastfeeding, that’s great – but you should be aware that you might face some problems along the way.
Some things you might not know about breastfeeding a newborn are:
- After birth, you and your baby might need some time to get used to latching. It could even take a few days for you both to get the hang of it.
- Your nipples might be extremely cracked or sore, meaning it’s too painful to breastfeed.
- Sometimes your breasts will be too full of milk (engorged), which can also make them feel very tender.
- On the other hand, your breasts might not be full enough! It might take a while for your milk supply to synchronise with your baby’s needs.
These are just a handful of reasons why feeding a newborn isn’t all that simple. But our baby advice is not there to put you off! Mums-to-be might just need to lower their expectations. If breastfeeding doesn’t work out the way you want, give yourself a break – it could happen to anyone.
Sleeping Never Runs Smoothly
It’s no secret that most babies don’t sleep through the night, especially in their first few months. So, with this in mind, you’ve probably read up on nap times and investigated a few baby sleep solutions. But no matter what you do, it’s worth remembering life with a newborn doesn’t always go to plan.
From controlled crying to co-sleeping, you’ll likely end up trialling every kind of way to help your baby sleep. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Although you shouldn't worry if your snooze strategies don’t run smoothly.
Remember that newborns do actually need a lot of sleep – they just don’t want it all at once. So, when they take a nap, it’s your chance to grab some ZZZs too. The best baby advice for mums is to sleep when their newborn sleeps. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, you’ll need it!
All babies cry. That’s a fact. Newborns need time to adjust – they’re still getting used to the world around them. Without crying, they have no other way to communicate. It’s your baby’s way of saying that there’s something wrong. The most common reasons your baby will cry include:
- Needs changing
- Too hot or too cold
- Needs to burp
And while you won’t recognise them straight away, you’ll soon learn your baby’s cues and work out why they’re crying. But what happens when you run out of options and your little one just won’t stop?
It’s completely normal to feel frustrated and helpless when your baby seems like they’re crying for no reason. It could even be colic, where a healthy baby will cry excessively, sometimes for hours a day. Some advice for first-time parents with a colicky (or just very tearful) baby is to ask for help. Life with a newborn was never going to be easy, so accept support from family, friends and health specialists whenever you can.
The Task of Changing
Life with a newborn normally means no fancy outfits or pretty shoes! While you might feel lured by cute hair bands and over-the-head dresses, you’re probably not going to use them. Newborn babies need changing around 10 times day, so you’ll quickly get tired of undoing fiddly clothing. The last thing you need during an emergency poo explosion is to fight with a trouser button!
Plus, babies can get very messy – not just when they need a nappy change. Milk spills and other stains are going to be a regular occurrence, meaning newborns need new clothes often. Buy lots of cosy sleepsuits and save the ‘proper clothes’ for parties and special occasions – it’ll make life so much easier.
Visitors, Visitors Everywhere
There’s a big difference between accepting support from your loved ones and having visitors come over every second of the day. But that’s what life with a newborn can feel like – every distant acquaintance is just desperate to pop round and see your baby. And while your lovely new arrival is sure to attract a crowd, you’re going to be in no shape to entertain.
For the first few weeks, it’s a good idea to only allow your nearest and dearest to see your baby, and spread out their visits to avoid being overwhelmed. Tell them to bring their own food, including a share for you. Finally, when you’re feeling worn out – get your partner to kick the visitors out!
Looking Pregnant Post-Birth
Post-birth, you might think your stomach will shrink back to its normal size. After all, there’s no longer a baby living in there, so why wouldn’t it? But actually, your uterus expands during pregnancy – and it can take up to two months for it to reduce down again.
Don’t worry about getting your post-birth stomach trim and toned – you’ve just had a baby! Breastfeeding and walks with the pushchair can help you lose weight, but letting your body recover post-birth is more important.
Doing the Best for Your Baby
Taking care of a newborn baby is challenging for everyone. But you’ll be surprised at how quickly you get used to the eat, sleep, change, repeat routine. And through all the sleep deprivation, sick-stained clothes and endless baby cartoons – remember, you’re going to make it through. Life with a newborn might not be the perfect, but it’s worth it.