I was at a baby shower today for a long-time friend (she’s not my “OLDEST” friend, as she likes to point out.) She mentioned that women have a tendency to tell all of their pregnancy, labour and delivery horror stories to moms-to-be. This is something I’ve never understood. Yes, you need to know what a “typical” labour is like, and you want to be prepared for any eventuality, but does a first-time mom really need to hear about your 4 days of back labour, your 47 stitches to repair your nether regions or the emergency c-section that you had with a bad epidural? No, she really doesn’t. The idea of labour is scary enough to most moms-to-be without putting the worst case scenario in their heads.
However, after this, she also mentioned all of the unsolicited advice that people give out about childrearing. My favourite of these come from people with no children of their own. And of course usually whatever they tell you conflicts with the last person to grant you some of their wisdom. You really learn how to just tune it all out with a polite nod and smile. (Or, if you’re in a really evil mood, you can agree with them and even egg them on without them realizing that you’re mocking them.)
There are things, though, that I wish someone HAD told me before I had my first baby.
- No matter what the nurses tell you, unless your baby has a serious medical concern you do NOT have to wake the baby at night to feed it. The idea here is for the baby to sleep THROUGHOUT the night. The baby will NOT starve if it sleeps through one feeding. You, on the other hand, will greatly benefit from any stretch of sleep that the child will grant you.
- Babies don’t break easily. In fact, they’re pretty darned resilient.
- When you get home from the hospital, you will stare at your sleeping child in wonder – and wonder how the hell any responsible adult let you take this little person home when you haven’t got a CLUE what to do now.
- If you’re planning to bottle feed, the bottles rarely come with the right speed nipples for a newborn. Nipples that are too fast will cause an alarming amount of spit-up.
- If you’re planning to breastfeed, learn about it before the baby arrives. Read a book, watch a video, talk to a lactation consultant, anything. Just don’t assume that it’s natural, and therefore as easy as “Baby, meet boob.” That is a surefire course to sore nipples and a whole lot of tears.
- Whether you plan to bottle feed or breastfeed, you will face criticism. Develop a thick skin NOW. Know that you’re doing what is best for your family and be strong in your decision.
- Not every mom feels that immediate, overwhelming bond. It doesn’t mean that you won’t fall madly in love with your child, it just sometimes takes a while to set in, and that’s okay.
- No matter how hard you try, you will never feel like a good enough parent. It just means you care.
What are some of the things that you wish someone had told you about being a parent?