Now that Isla is nearly a year old (seriously, where has this year gone?!), we’ve already started fielding the inevitable “when are you having another” questions. Now the answer to this question varies from day to day. On bad days, the answer is a firm NEVER, whereas on good days, or days where I coo over newborns, I consider giving Isla a sibling in a few years.
But if I did do it all again, there are a few things I’d do differently. Here’s an example:
- Trust my own instincts – the amount of times I wanted to do something, but either the baby books or other people’s advice suggested something different, was ridiculous. I can remember one time Isla was crying and I was told, by an unnamed person, that she must be hungry again even though I’d fed her less than an hour ago. I was sure it was something else but fed her again just to avoid an argument – only for her to throw up all her milk. It turns out she had wind. You know best, you know your baby.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps – I really should have made the most of Isla’s newborn sleep patterns and caught up on sleep, but I made myself even more tired trying to keep the house immaculate. I now know that people don’t care if your house is a bit messy when you have a baby, and Hubs wasn’t bothered if the washing was a few days behind. Make the most of the peace and quiet while it lasts!
- Cute outfits – newborns really don’t need cute outfits, when you’re changing them 10 times a day they just become a hindrance. Plus Isla was a petite baby right from birth so didn’t fit into most of the newborn clothes we had, so I had to improvise big time trying to find her matching outfits, as you can see! Seriously, sleep suits are fine, especially when they sleep for most of the day!
- Cherish every moment, or try to – on tough days, I felt like such a bad mum when I was wishing the day would end, as we’re supposed to “cherish every minute” right? Well, no. It’s ok not to be glowing with happiness when your little one is screaming bloody murder at 3am, motherhood is hard work and I know we’re supposed to treasure every moment as it all goes so fast blah blah blah, but don’t feel guilty if you’re not loving every minute, especially during the tough phases.
- There are no medals for Most Tired Parent – I feel bad for the amount of times I’ve berated Hubs for being tired. He works in London two or three days a week and stays in a hotel, which I admit makes me jealous that he gets two nights of uninterrupted sleep and as a result, have demanded to know why he is tired. It’s not a competition to see who is the most tired, it doesn’t get any of us anywhere.
- Wean when they’re hungry – I mentioned in a previous post that one of the problems we had with Isla’s sleep was that my breast milk wasn’t enough for her when she was five months old, but I didn’t want to wean her as all the baby books say not to until they’re six months old. As a good friend pointed out, all babies are different and Isla simply became hungrier than the books said she should. Had I trusted myself instead of Dr Randomer who’d never met Isla, we might have solved the sleep problems earlier.
- Stop using Dr Google – I was a nightmare for googling anything I thought might be wrong with Isla. Here’s an example of some of the questions I googled in the first few months: “how often should newborns breastfeed?” “Is my baby feeding too much?” “Why was my baby sick?” “Is my baby sleeping too much?” I’m one of life’s worriers and I’ve jumped to all sorts of conclusions, most of which haven’t been helped by Dr Google. For example, Isla had some pretty epic diarrhoea one day and Dr Google put the fear of Christ up me, saying that if it continued I’d need to take her to hospital as she could get dehydrated within hours. I was terrified that she’d caught some kind of killer bug, even though she had no other symptoms and was fine in herself. It turned out she’d just had a bit too much fruit which had made her poo runny. Chill the hell out and stop Googling! If you’re worried, call 111 next time. Which leads me on to…
- Dont worry too much about percentiles – Isla is a petite baby and was between the 50 and 25 percentile when she was born, and dropped to the 25 over time. This worried me so much as I was breastfeeding and I was so upset that maybe I wasn’t feeding her properly. Percentiles are just a guide, and our midwife admitted they set too much store by the graphs as babies may grow loads one week and not much the next. As long as they are weeing, pooing and gaining weight steadily, they’re fine.