There are so many things that are new when becoming a mother, almost everything to be precise!
I never had friends close with children, in fact, I hardly knew any children at all before becoming a mother. I worked in fashion, luxury to be specific, I had a wonderfully hectic career with an even busier social life and really, nappies and nipple creams were the furthest thing from my mind!
Then I fell pregnant. Actually, at the same time as three of my extremely close friends! So, together we decided to figure it out.
So, I had 9 whole months to plan, right?! Well, you’d think!
I downloaded the apps that compared my baby to all sorts of exotic fruits and root vegetables (What to expect, Web MD Pregnancy… etc), which also helped me to prepare for my little treasure’s arrival. I prepared the nursery and I bought some maternity clothing. I selected a beautiful pram, a Baby Jogger City Mini GT, ready for my postpartum workout and I chose a lovely name: Matilda. I bought nappies and bottles and even a breast pump! So, everything was set, wasn’t it?
There were and are still so many things that I just could not prepare for, things that nobody told me were even possible! So, as kind as I am and in the name of sisterhood I am going to share them with you, in order of discovery/need.
- We have some crazy baby sizing names in Australia. 00, 0000, 0… What?! Ok so, here it is. 0000 is Newborn size, 000 is 0-3months – and you should probably buy less 0000 and more 000 because they grow so fast, 00 is 3-6months and 0 is 6-12months, then normal sizing ensues (1,2,3 etc).
- Babies eat when they eat. During my antenatal class my midwife told me that we should set the standard of feed time for our little tykes, the baby needs to feed 10-12 times a day, so just feed it 10 times a day when it is convenient for you and you will be keeping ‘like a baby’ through the night. Yeah, I sure am sleeping like a baby! No mater what you do, your baby will feed when she is hungry or thirsty and the recommended feed style is ‘on demand’, which you can imagine is not on YOUR demand! You might be lucky and have a baby that sleeps through the night, or you might be like me and have a baby that feeds throughout – but either way, all of the mothers that I have spoken to have told me that their children will drink when they feel like it.
- Your milk is not ‘on tap’…but it is…but it isn’t. After 3 or 4 days, when my milk came in and then settled, I was shocked to find out that I didn’t have enough milk to express for a full feed at any given time. Now, my baby is growing like a champion and she is exclusively breast fed , but it was my impression that if I stuck the pump to it, my breast would give me a litre of milk. To give you an idea, my breasts get really full at night time, which is when my baby typically feeds – during the day my breasts are much less full and I may only be able to express 20mL in 15min, whereas at night I may express 60-80mL. Milk is produced on demand, as your baby drinks it triggers prolactin, a hormone that triggers milk production. Now, just because you don’t have full breasts, doesn’t mean that you don’t have milk to feed your baby, but you may not have enough milk to express for a feed later on (or it may just take a really long time, which personally I cannot be bothered with!). It is all very confusing! For tips and information: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/early-days/how-breastmilk-made
- Newborns literally cannot do anything, but wriggle and look cute. Now, I know what you’re thinking there new Mama. Your baby is a genius – and so is mine! But seriously, I was surprised to find out that a newborn baby can literally do nothing for themselves. Obviously we know that they are fine tuning their motor skills from an early age, but I just expected that my baby could at least grab something. Now please, I know that you’re going to tell me ‘But my baby can grab things’ – yeah, like your finger or your hair while you try to manoeuvre her to your should to burp, but no – don’t be fooled, this is a reflex called the Palmar Grasp Reflex. It is not for months that your child will be able to thoughtfully reach and grasp and object.
- Having said that… Can they?! Everyone told me that infants could not move by themselves for ‘like 4 months’, then my baby rolled off the bed at 2 months! Always be careful, thank goodness I have the world’s shortest best, but they don’t move, they don’t move, they don’t move and then they DO! Never put your baby on a bed or couch without safe barriers and be super mindful of change tables!
- They also can’t see! I know you thought your baby smiled at you day 1, so did I. But apparently a baby can’t see properly in 3D until one month of age. My Paediatrician told me that a baby can see somewhat properly to 30cm distances, which is the distance from the breast to the face – so maybe that smile was at you!
- Babies have a lot of ear wax. Gross, I know! Now, don’t clean it will a cotton bud, you can just clean it as it comes out of the canal with a cloth or tissue. It is a bit shocking at first, but you will get over it once your child poos or wees on your hand!
- Not to mention Yeast! We all know that babies have these cute little Michelin rolls, but these rolls can actually hold yeast and bacteria! My midwife showed me how to bathe my little love on Day 3 of my stay in hospital. I was told not to use soaps anywhere but the hair and shown to just splash a bit of water around the child’s body, with a cloth. As time went by she started to get a yeast build up in her neck rolls! I now use an organic baby wash on her neck, underarms and bum, thoroughly, but I find that her hair is quite fine without soap.
- New babies can poop 8-10 times a day, or not at all! As if you weren’t confused enough about what is going on down there… first with dark green tar poop and then yellow mustard seed poop! These are all completely normal, as is not pooping for a day or two according to WebMD (and my baby-Daddy/Doctor). Of course, if you are noticing the baby is not eating, has discomfort or not wetting her nappies (at least 6 a day) often, or if you just ever feel unsure – then you should see a Doctor.
- Some babies never actually crawl! It is thought that many babies don’t crawl because they don’t spend a lot of time on their tummies, known (funnily enough) as Tummy Time. Tummy Time strengthens the babies back and core muscles and allows the baby to learn to flip and roll. Tummy time is suggested for 20min a day, however not crawling is a milestone that is quite normal to skip – so don’t be too concerned if your cheeky monkey just jumps straight into walking!
- Babies just want your love – and you should give it to them! No, it won’t create a cheeky, bratty child. If your baby cries, there is always a reason. Just remember, this whole world is new for your infant, everything is overwhelming and they are learning at an incredible rate. You really can’t spoil a baby, they need nurturing and comfort and CUDDLES! Babies also get bored if they are not stimulated, I find this with my own daughter. Singing, reading books, tickling and cuddling will not create a bratty child – this will support the development of security within the infant.
There are so many more things to share, but these are the things that I found most interesting!