Back when I was pregnant I shared a post on 20 things no one tells you about getting pregnant and it went down so well with regular readers of Tattooed Tealady, that I thought I'd share with you 5 things I've learnt about newborns.
Willow is 5 weeks old today so I've had just over a month to get used to life as a new mama and get to grips with looking after this tiny human being and giving her all of my attention and love. It's a pretty wonderful thing being a mama, but it is also completely unlike anything I expected or how anyone told me it would be.
Like all babies (unless you're super lucky), Willow can be fairly vocal with cries. At first I used to get absolutely terrified when she cried, worried and wondering why she was crying. Was she hungry? Did she have a dirty nappy? Was it trapped wind? When your baby is newborn and crying you go through every scenario trying to work out what's wrong with them and more often than not it's something that can be solved as quickly as changing a nappy or shoving your boob/a bottle in their mouth, and lots of cuddles of course!
But as Willow as gotten older (I'm already making her sound 50 rather than 5 weeks!) it has become so much easier to distinguish between cries and what they mean, and once you're able to do that your life instantly becomes a million times easier. I know what her cries are when she's hungry, windy, needs a clean nappy, just wants a cuddle or simply needs some help getting off to sleep. You become in-tune to your babies needs and end up feeling like Superwoman in the process.
002. Babies will sleep through anything
Everyone makes out that you need to be super quiet around babies, especially when they're sleeping. Don't have the telly louder than a mouse, tip toe around the house, oh and make sure you whisper when trying to have a conversation. Nah, you're alright.
Before Willow was even born my partner and I said we wouldn't change our environment at home drastically, because it'll only result in her being unable to sleep with any kind of noise. Sure, we've toned down the volume a little and we're not throwing any wild parties, but babies go into such a deep sleep that it's almost impossible to rouse them sometimes. You don't need to turn your home into a library (well, unless it's with actual books in which case go ahead!), you just need to be sensible about things.
003. Leaving the house will take longer than whatever you need to venture out for
It's like packing for a holiday. Nappies, wipes, changing mats, a spare set of clothes just in case, oh and don't forget the Dettol wipes in case you have to just a public changing room. It might not sound like much but when you put it altogether you'll be struggling to zip up the changing bag - before taking it all out again just to check everything is there!
The first time we took Willow properly into town we made a day of it. We headed off to get her registered then popped around the shops before catching the bus to see some family. Just as we were about to get on the bus, BOOM!, she starts crying. I have never panicked so much, trying to think where on earth we could use a public baby changing room and oh God do people think we're awful cos our baby is crying in the middle of town? Parenthood is fun, honestly.
004. Babies are not as fragile as they look
Whenever I have held other people's babies, whether family or friends, I have always been terrified. Am I holding them right? Are they supported? Are they comfortable? Of course you will worry when holding someone else's baby, the last thing you want to do is hurt them in any way or, worse case scenario, make them cry.
Yet when it comes to your own baby you soon realise, hey, they're not as fragile as they look! You don't have to hold them like a piece of glass that could shatter at any moment, light pats on the back really don't do anything when it comes to winding and you really do have to put some effort in to get those burps out, and they really are OK being left alone for longer than 5 seconds.
005. They really do change your life in the biggest way
Becoming a mama has been the most amazing thing, the biggest accomplishment of my life and the most magical, whirlwind experience, even if I am only 5 weeks in. Your life changes instantly once your baby is born and there's no going back, but all those sleepless nights, cries and dirty nappies are worth it, because you have this incredible little person who makes life so much better than you ever imagined.
Being a parent is hard - and I know we have so much more to experience, with more highs and lows to tackle -, but it's also the most rewarding and beautiful journey you could ever begin.