The moment you’ve announced you’re having a baby, you’ll start hearing many tips and wise hints from everyone around.
“You better get some sleep now mate…sleepless nights ahead!”
“Lol, your house will never be this tidy again”
“Everything will change!” (very helpful by the way)
“Make sure you get…” (and here comes a list of very many things you just have to buy because others found it extremely useful)
“Don’t let him sleep in your bed, ever!”
„Don’t carry your baby all the time, don’t rock your baby to sleep…”
And these are only a few examples of what you might hear…
Of course, we found many of those tips interesting and worth considering but looking back to what it was like when Little Man was born, there were a few things nobody told us about (like as if it was some kind of Tabu because no one ever says this to young parents) which I would prefer to have known about before we greeted our happiness on this side of my belly.
And this is what I’d like to write about today, to remember and to make other parents (especially moms) aware as I am pretty sure that the sole knowledge of this itself already will be of much help to you on many occasions at the beginning of your journey called mother and fatherhood.
- WHEN YOUR BABY CRIES:
b) Check nappy
e) Must be colic then….
No! Wait! There actually is an f) Something I didn’t know right from the start– YOUR BABY MIGHT SIMPLY NEED A CUDDLE AND SOME LOVE, WARMTH AND ATTENTION, SOMETIMES A LULLABY (though Little Man seemed to cry more every time I started singing……)
It’s not always about all those prosaic things. Empathy is the answer. Your baby is a living little human being just like anyone of us and can really cry only because it feels a bit lonely left alone in its cot for a while nearly right after it had spent a continuous 9 months in your belly, 24/7 with you and your heartbeat
- DON’T PANIC!
Easy to say hard to do but this was a lesson learnt and that’s why I’m so wise about it now
For the first couple of weeks Little Man absolutely hated being bathed. He used to cry so loud I was scared someone would finally send some social assistance over to us one day. When thinking of it now – I’m not surprised he cried at all. For the first two weeks when bath time was coming close, we used to start panicking, our levels of stress hormones used to raise because we were approaching bath time as a task that has to be completed without taking Little Man’s being into consideration much. My husband used to quickly go and pour water into Little Man’s tub (the temperature must be between this and.) while I was rushing around the house collecting tiny little onesies and nursing accessories, balms and such. Then we used to quickly (!) undress Little Man, quickly (!) wash him and quickly do all the necessary baby-care duties around him. All quickly, quickly before Little Man gets annoyed, sleepy, hungry, angry or simply starts crying! We thought we were doing our best just because we were following instructions from birth school while nope, the best we could actually do was put ourselves into Little Man’s tiny little shoes and focus on Little Man’s needs and himself instead of all the duties around bath – time. Before we understood that, we read some articles in the internet and from that breaking point in time, Little Man actually started ENJOYING bath time. „Quickly” was replaced by „take your time”. What we did was we began preparing Little Man for his bath a while before we actually put him in the tub, we played baroque music to him to let him relax a bit, we played with him a bit and only then we undressed him and put him into warm water, not lukewarm water but nearly reaching the highest acceptable temperature for babies as that is what Little Man preferred. We were taking it slow and bath time finally became a very happy time for all three of us!
Remember, no matter how loving you are, it does take a while before you learn how to meet your baby’s actual needs. Tough one but trust me, it really does come with time and I think that knowing about this before helps accelerate the process of understanding that your baby is a tiny human being with it’s own likes and dislikes, its own personality and moods.
Another panic factor. Let’s say you’re in the middle of a shopping center and your little blessing starts crying, out of the blue! The nearest mother & baby room is about a 10 minute walk from where you are, your husband/mom/friend is nowhere to be found. Your heart races, you stress, you start feeling anxious and you feel like crying yourself. People are looking at you as if you were some kind of uncaring monster and not a young mom which makes you panic even more. As odd as it may sound – try to keep calm. Honestly, that’s the best remedy, for both you and your baby. Ignore what others might be thinking (it’s most probably just your imagination anyway), try to kind of “switch off” everything and everyone around and focus on yourself and your baby. Moreover, if you don’t calm down, your baby will cry even louder because it will feel endangered knowing that its mommy feels insecure and if you keep panicking, you will surely not be able to tell what your baby is trying to tell you. Again, I know it’s easy to write, difficult to do but maybe if you read this before you give birth and you find yourself in a similar satiation, you will find it easier to actually STAY CALM.
- BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC
I must admit this is something nearly all first time moms I have met and spoken to were very much afraid of. Thus, I believe this relates to all first time moms who decide to breastfeed. This also somehow relates to the point above as whenever Little Man began to cry in the middle of nowhere and I knew it was because he was hungry I would stress and literally run to the nearest mother & baby room, even if it was a long, very long walk away so unfortunately I made him cry unnecessarily for quite a while a few times just because of my fear of breastfeeding in public. It’s hard to say why this is such an issue for all first time moms around but it wasn’t easy for me to overcome this either. For the first couple of weeks we stayed at home or close to it most of the time. It was Winter so I couldn’t feed outside anyway so whenever Little Man started crying during a walk I just ran back home. I also fed through nipple protectors which made things really difficult at times. I couldn’t just start feeding, I had to clean the protectors thoroughly, I had to stick them to my breasts, all this took time and was logistically tough (I’ve written a separate post about this) so I couldn’t even imagine myself breastfeeding in public. Until that one day when Little Man was about a couple months old, I went to buy something in one of the bigger shopping malls in Wroclaw. Even though fed just before we left home, Little Man started crying for milk. I asked someone where the nearest mother & baby room was and I was directed to a restroom for disabled with a nappy changing table. I could either sit on the toilet and feed (gross) or stand so I stood there, placed Little Man against my breast and thought HELL NO! I would never eat in a toilet myself so why should I make my precious Little Man do that??? I walked out with my baby cuddled against my breast and sat on a bench nearby. People walked by and smiled at me and that’s the moment I overcame my fear! I must also add that I have always covered my breast so that it wasn’t visible to everyone around and Little Man covered with a thin muslin cloth seemed very calm too. I am one of those woman who do not like showing their breasts off to all people around when feeding my baby. I have no need of demonstrating or proving anything to anyone, I have no need of taking breastfeeding selfies with my breasts in the first plan of course and I actually believe that a baby is happier when being breastfed under a thin cloth, having that moment of closeness instead of being exposed to all that so unnecessary stimuli around – my body, my decision, hate me if you wish for this opinion but yeah, I’m won’t be bothered (: Since that time, I have breastfed Little Man pretty much everywhere and never ever have I experienced any assault or unpleasant behavior because of that. For some reason many people just give me a smile which is really nice and motivating.
If you are just about to become a first time mom I wish you all the luck in overcoming this “issue” as quick as possible so that you can enjoy those precious moments instead. They’re definitely not worth bothering about what other people might think.
No matter how long it takes you to understand or learn this , remember you are the best ever parent to your baby. You will make mistakes, you will face a few fails but all this is a process young parents have to go through not because they aren’t coping, it’s because of how much they actually love their baby…
Author: Maja Nieznanska- Musial