There is so much information available to new parents on so many different topics. The benefits of breast-feeding, what sleeping positions are safe, how to baby-proof your home, when to start weaning – these are all topics that are widely covered by books, magazines, and online guides.
However, as every seasoned parent knows, there are some things that can’t be learned through reading books or watching YouTube; knowledge that is only obtainable through experience. So, here is a list of 15 things that every parent should know, but is not normally told about:
1) You will end up with a pile of baby clothes that are never worn.
Babies attract gifts, and those gifts are usually in the form of cute outfits with matching hats and gloves. As adorable as they are, sadly, you will find that many remain unused as your little one outgrows them faster than he or she can wear them.
2) A small amount of milk seems like a lake’s worth when thrown up on the floor.
Babies regularly spit up and that’s completely normal, but sometimes it can seem that there is something wrong, especially when a small amount of spit up spread on the floor can seem like so much. If you’re worried, do see a Doctor, however, you can also give yourself a bit of peace of mind by throwing a teaspoon full of milk on the floor and seeing how far it spreads. You’ll be surprised. You’ll also be annoyed at yourself for throwing milk on the floor.
3) Your new baby will surprise you one night by sleeping for more than four hours straight.
You will probably wake up in a panic when this happens and be tempted to wake them up for a feed. Don’t. Unless he or she is not gaining weight and you’re following medical advice then let them sleep, and enjoy the extra rest whilst it lasts.
4) Got a boy? He will wee on you mid nappy change.
Avoid this by loosening the nappy first and giving him a few minutes to relieve himself before completely removing and changing the nappy. Also, poo can squirt out with some force. You have been warned.
5) On the subject of poo, strawberries tend to come out the same way they went in.
No, it’s not blood, don’t panic.
6) Everyone, including your mother, neighbour, and woman in the shop, has an opinion about what you should be doing with your baby.
Remember, you know best and as long as your little one is safe, warm, fed, and healthy, you are doing just fine.
7) Babies have strange breathing patterns, including periods of up to five seconds where they may not breathe at all.
Try not to worry if this happens, and if you do have any concerns then seek medical advice.
8) It’s perfectly acceptable for your house to resemble a tip.
If you are a neat freak then you will have to get used to toys on the floor, strange marks on the sofa, and sticky patches on the carpet.
9) It’s ok to put your baby in the cot and take a shower for five minutes.
They will be just fine.
10) No matter how hard you try to leave the house on time, your baby will require a nappy change just as you’re about to walk out of the door.
You are unlikely to be on time for anything ever again.
11) Breastfeeding is not easy.
You will be sore, tired, and cluster feedings will make you question your sanity. It’s ok to accept that you need help and support. And, whilst breast is definitely best, your child won’t suddenly develop a whole host of health problems just because you switch to formula.
12) You will savour a lone 30-minute trip to the shops as much as you would have relished a two-week holiday before the arrival of your little one.
Your baby may mean the world to you, but those little breaks will be precious and important.
13) It doesn’t matter how many loads of washing you do a day, there will always be more.
There is no avoiding this.
14) Once your baby becomes more agile, he or she will put dirty things in their mouth.
This is OK and probably good for their immune system.
15) You will spend a surprising amount of time just staring at your child.
Their sleeping face will be more appealing to you than any blockbuster movie or favourite TV show. Savour these moments because if you are still doing it when your child is a teenager they will probably think you’re a bit weird.