12 things no one ever tells you about babies
When my daughter was born; I had never changed a nappy or fed a baby - in fact I had barely held one - certainly not one that was less than a week old. My little girl and her (big seven month old) brother have taught me so many things. Some of these are related to my particular children, but some are much more generic, which I am sharing with you today.
Here are 12 things I didn’t know about babies before I had them.
Babies sleep a lot. You can expect a newborn baby to sleep 16 hours a day. This can be a huge relief for a new mum, especially if you use it to your advantage. Try and have a sleep when baby is sleeping. Forget the washing, the dishes and the dinner, they aren’t going anywhere, and they’ll seem way less insurmountable after a nap.
Babies are REALLY noisy when they sleep. They sniff, snuffle and snore. They move around their cots and play in the middle of the night if it takes their fancy. Sometimes they may have a little whimper or a cry in their sleep, as if they’re having a nightmare. This can be…. challenging when they’re sleeping in the room with you.
Babies poop a lot.When I brought my daughter home from hospital, I sent my husband up to the all night chemist to get some nappies. The lady behind the counter gave him the jumbo box of newborn nappies. He asked if he could bring back what he didn’t use, for a refund. Needless to say the lady dismissed the notion that he would need to do so. We used quite a number of jumbo boxes of Newborn nappies.
There’s a reason onesies have buttons on the shoulder.This is something I did NOT know about when I had my daughter, but boy, do I wish I had. Those enormous head openings are there so that you can take your baby clothes off from the top down, without getting the results of a nappy accident all over them.
What “that new baby smell” smells like. It’s not lovely. Everybody talks about that new baby smell, but nobody tells you it’s a combination of sour milk, baby vomit and poop. They smell nice for a (very) little while after a bath, but inevitably as soon as they’re dry and clean, that will be the precise moment they decide to expel something all over themselves (and you).
Teething has symptoms. I did not know that extreme nappies, big red cheeks, temperatures, and disrupted sleep were all symptoms of teething. My daughter displayed all of these at one time or another while getting her teeth.
How quickly they grow. There were one or two friends who warned me not to buy lots of things for a newborn, as they grow so quickly they’ll never get to wear them, but I didn’t really believe them. Although there is SO much cute clothing out there for babies, it’s hard to resist.
Babies are sometimes frustrating. They don’t do what you want them to do, are silly, or even cheeky. But they are new people and they don’t do things to deliberately misbehave. They are just learning, and it’s important to remember that, from when they’re tiny babies, as they grow older and push more boundaries.
Babies have personality.I didn’t realise this until I joined a Mother’s group. They laugh and cry at different things. Some are chilled out, some are hyperactive. They are drawn to different people, adults and other babies, and they don’t like some people, adults and babies. In this respect they are just like adults, only they have no filter, and they react in direct proportion to how they’re feeling.
They have favourite people.When I realised this, I was kind of sad. I am not the favourite person of either of my children. Right from the very beginning my daughter had a preference for her father. She absolutely loves me, but she wants to be with him all the time. And my son wants to be with my daughter. She can make him stop crying, go to sleep, giggle and eat. He always reaches for her over me.
Routines are not set in stone. If you’re lucky, or clever enough to get your baby onto a routine that works, stick with it, even when it’s hard. They can lose their good routines SO easily. Just two or three days of disruption or excitement can lead to months of crazy sleeping and eating patterns.
The intensity of feelings they bring on.I have never felt such an incredible frustration, exhaustion, terror or despair before having my babies. But to counter-balance that, the absolute commitment, fierce protectiveness, utter joy and love I feel for them both is unrivalled by anything I have ever felt. They make you feel more than you ever have.
These are twelve things that I have learned about babies that nobody ever told me. I’m sure there will be many things that you learn yourself. All of them are different, and have their own little quirks and surprises (sometimes great, sometimes not so welcome) that you can anticipate as they live love and grow with you. I would love to hear yours!