Things I wish someone had told me about babies (in no particular order)

Babies want to be held all the time. Get a sling or baby carrier and make life easier.

Babies have no sense of day or night. Forget the idea that you’ll sleep at night and be awake during the day.

Babies have an incredibly short sleep-wake cycle. It’s part of being a baby. There is no formula which makes them sleep longer.

Breast-feeding has a very steep learning curve, but gets easier and easier as you go on.

Breast-feeding is the lazy way to parent. Sit on your arse/lie in bed and feed the baby.

95% of anything that’s wrong with a baby can be fixed by boobs. Hungry? Boobs. Thirsty? Boobs. Cold? Boobs. Scared? Boobs. Lonely? Boobs. Tired? Boobs. Shock? Boobs. Best parenting tool ever.

When visitors come over to see the baby, tell them to bring food and do housework. Washing up, laundry, hoovering.

If you are bottle feeding, don’t let the visitors feed the baby. You have to make up the bottle, they get the fun bit, you get time to run around doing housework, and they expect you to make them tea as thanks.

How to make up a bottle:

  • Fill a kettle with cold tap water and boil.
  • Clean and sterilise all the equipment, including bottle, teats, lids, retaining rings, caps and the scoop that comes with the formula.
  • Clean and disinfect the work surface
  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Put the sterilised bottle on the work surface.
  • Use sterilised tongs to put the sterilised teat, retaining lid and cap out on the lid of the steriliser.
  • When the water has boiled, allow it to cool for 30 minutes, to 70 degrees. It has to be this hot to sterilise the formula.
  • Pour the exact required amount of water into the bottle.
  • Loosely fill the scoop with powder, levelling it off with the back of a clean knife. Add the correct number of scoops to the water. If you make a mistake, throw it out and start again.
  • Put a sterilised cap on the bottle and shake until the powder is dissolved.
  • If you’re putting on a teat, hold it with tongs, not your hands.
  • Hold under a cold tap to cool to the right temperature.
  • Throw away any unfinished formula, bacteria can breed in it.

Ignore any auld ones who say, “I made it up with cold water and they were all fine.” They used to smoke while pregnant and not wear seatbelts too.

Look into paced bottle feeding. Just letting the baby glug away at a bottle results in colic and major wind.

Newborn formula is the closest to breastmilk. Hungry baby formula is a con, resulting from our obsession with making babies sleep all the time.

If you are breastfeeding, you CAN drink, eat curry, onions, fizzy drinks, coffee, chocolate, and anything else you fancy.

The rule for drinking is, “If you are safe to hold the baby, you’re safe to feed it.”

You can also use most medicines. If your doctor is reluctant to prescribe something, get them to check out Wendy Jones Factsheets.

Stock up on boxsets. You’ll spend a lot of time sitting down feeding the baby.

Don’t bother with lots of gadgets. All the baby wants is you.

It’s not safe to put the baby into a thick coat in a car seat. Dress her in normal clothes and put a blanket over the car seat.

Breast milk is fabulous for eye infections. Squirt it right in.

There is a couple of hours every evening called the Evil Hour, when your happy contented baby turns into a screaming demon. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your milk, it’s part of being a baby.

There is good evidence that “Cry it out” sleep training causes long term problems. You’re teaching the baby that they can’t trust you, that they’re in distress and you won’t come. Sweet Sleep has much kinder techniques for helping your baby sleep.

A baby is the only fat-sucking device that actually works. You can sit on your arse watching Game of Thrones and get the fat sucked off your hips and thighs.

You are legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be. That means restaurants, churches, cinemas, shops, etc. You don’t have to ask permission and can’t be asked to stop.

When eating out, restaurants with chopsticks score for one handed eating. At home, invest in a pizza cutter for all your food. I swear, even sleeping babies can smell food and want to be picked up as soon as you sit down to eat.

Cloth nappies are less trouble then you’d think, and save a fortune. If you want to give them a go, then Nappi Nippas are a game changer. No pins, always have the perfect fit.

It doesn’t matter how cute they are, there are times you’ll realise you gave birth to the spawn of Satan, and your partner’s job is to stop you killing it. Every single mother ever!

Cuidiu and La Leche League have counsellors on the end of a phone day and night. Ring whenever it’s getting too much. Their job is help and support, they won’t try to bully you into anything.

Those fitness balls are great for settling cranky babies. Sit on it, holding the baby, and bounce. Beats going up and down stairs.

Night time milk has the highest fat content.

Have a laxative ready for the first poo after you give birth.

Beware of online shopping. It’s scary how easy it is to spend way too much money while sitting under a baby. But a Kindle can be a lifesaver.

About Eileen Gormley

This entry was posted in Birth, breastfeeding, Health, maternity leave. Bookmark the permalink.

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