Nothing was as I expected it to be when my baby arrived. I didn’t need half the things I’d dutifully bought in the run up to the birth, breastfeeding was agony and new mums groups gave me panic attacks. But I’m glad that many of my pre-conceived views of motherhood turned out to be false – I even got my baby to sleep (in the end). Here are 10 of the biggest myths about early parenthood.
You need lots of stuff for a new baby
You don’t. You need a box to put the baby down in, nappies, formula/breast milk, wipes, a few baby gros and vests, car seat and a baby sling…the rest you can buy as you go for your individual needs. And painting the nursery is a complete waste of pre-baby downtime given your baby will probably be in your room for the foreseeable future.
This is a personal one but I don’t think its actually really a thing. I kept asking what people meant here in San Francisco when they said they had undergone sleep training with their baby. Essentially what they meant is that they left their baby to cry for a bit, letting them settle themselves…which by they way after about three months is totally a good idea. Thousands of books will tell you the exact amount of time and schedule to do it by but just do it according to your own babies sleep pattern as otherwise you will go mad! They haven’t read the books.
You will feel an instant connection to your baby
Some people do and some don’t. It can depend on how tiring the birth was! You might find yourself functioning on autopilot for a bit until you are a little less tired and overwhelmed. You won’t be the alone if you find your baby isn’t exactly the person you thought they’d be.
Having your husband RIGHT there is a great support
Again, this is an individual one but a lot of people (or at least one person, me) find that putting your husband in the spare room for the first few weeks is actually beneficial, bearing in mind they can’t actually breastfeed. This means you’re not both exhausted…so there is less fighting and he can look after the other children or go to work and actually be able to function.
Your relationship will be tested to its limits
What I found was the complete opposite. Yes you might not be having regular sex…or sex at all… but you are now bound together by this little thing that makes you a real life FAMILY…something that can’t help but take your relationship to another level. It’s lovely.
Your other friends with new babies are clean, happy and in a love bubble
No they‘re not! They are just using Social Media. Remember that most people struggle a little or a lot with a new baby. The whole process is messy and exhausting no matter how organised and perfect you are.
Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world
Ouch! Get it right or get it wrong it really really hurts for a lot of mammas. This can last a few weeks or a few months – it might never be the bonding experience you believed it would be. You might find yourself using ugly, unnatural looking devices such as breast shields and pumps, even a milk syringe. No one told me about any of these things before I had my baby. Probably for good reason.
Having your in-laws to stay within the first two weeks is a great idea
Not enough time!!!…Wait till the baby is at least eight weeks!…Unless you have fabulously helpful in-laws and you get on with them like a house on fire. Very rare.
Going to baby groups is a great confidence booster
Its so important to get out and about and meet new parents just like you. But don’t whatever you do start comparing yourself to the other new mammas. Their baby might sleep for seven hours at a time, breastfeed like a champ and already have head control…but here is a little secret…it won’t last, nothing does with newborns. Hurrah.
Your will never sleep or socialise again once baby arrives
This is the biggest myth of all! You will get sleep (in the end) I promise …just hang in there for a few months, things get easier and easier. You will find yourself happy and busy with a whole new world of activities, interests and friends. Besides, tiredness just isn’t such a big deal now your baby is here and with any luck your friends and family will not only rally round you but you will find them bending over backwards to fit into your new life.