Ok, so we all presume when we fall pregnant that things are going to change. It’s not like we anticipate that our Friday nights in Paddington are going to continue, so long as we can find a baby Bjorn that matches our outfit. No – we are realists.
- The crying will be hard to take
- The sleep deprivation will make life hard
- We’ll be worried that everything is a health issue in our newborn (surely all this hiccuping is going to kill her??!!!)
But here are a few things you might not have been prepared for. A few things that set my stress meter readings on high alert.
The late doctor
You’ve timed it perfectly. You arrive at the surgery with baby fed, changed, and her “awake” time coincides exactly with your appointment. You freaking ROCK, sista. But your scheduled time comes and goes, and you’re window of contented-babydom is closing. And closing. And with that one loud pissed-off roar, you know it’s gone.
Your baby is going loco when the doctor finally calls you in and you’re on red alert. You’re now talking through symptoms over the noise of a pint-sized demolition site. Didn’t expect that turn of events, huh?
First breastfeeding-in-public experience
- You finally mastered this breastfeeding thing. It hurt a heck of a lot more than you were expecting, and who knew that getting the right latch was going to be so tricky? But here you are, a month or so in, excited to show the world how confident you are with all-things-motherhood. It’s time to feed.
You pull your baby out of the pram, and hold her on your lap while you get your muslin cloth ready. Hmmm. OK – so getting this around your shoulder one-handed isn’t so easy. And once it’s around your shoulder, it’s harder than you thought to get your nipple out (AWKWARD). You’re cloth is now covering baby’s face and she is FREAKING OUT because it never normally takes this long to get to the good stuff.
Suddenly, you’re blind. You’ve lost your baby somewhere in between muslin cloth, breastfeeding bra, and nursing T-shirt! You strip off all your layers in a mad panic, shoving your baby onto your exposed nipple as the barista stares at you open-mouthed. Nice.
The oblivious do-gooder
You will come to know this sort very well in your first few months as a parent. They’ll ask for a cuddle at THE most inappropriate times (AKA 10mins before nap-time).
Uh….ok...you say as you hand bubba over, not wanting to sound like one of “those mums” who keeps her baby to a strict schedule and is judged for not being able to go with the flow. Within 5mins, baby starts to grizzle. She’s making those “drop me or I so help me God I’m going pierce your eardrum” noises.
You try to rush the conversation forward, so that you can have your child back before the full-blown wailing begins, but your friend/neighbour/shopkeeper is oblivious.
“She must be hungry” they say, looking at you accusingly. (And now you want to punch them. Twice).
THE car trip.
The first road trip I took my daughter on was when she was 4months and we thought a 2hour trip to Kiama was perfectly reasonable if we could coincide it with her nap time. Such a rookie new-mum mistake. If your baby doesn’t like cars in the first place, there is no way this scenario is going to play out well.
My daughter’s hysterical crying forced us to pull over after 30minutes. I tried to breastfeed and rock her to sleep on the side of the road for over an hour. We repeated this process twice, finally arriving in Kiama 4 hours later, having aged 10 years. To this day we still reckon this was the single most stressful experience we can recall with our new baby. (Even trumping our trip to the ER!)
No one ever tells you how hard the process of stripping a newborn baby naked can be. They don’t like it when you yank off their bodysuits. They certainly don’t appreciate the change in body temperature. And then you go and plonk them in water (helllooooo – what IS this new sensation?!) Things can either get better, or they can go from bad to worse. In my case, things always took a turn for the worse.
You have to grip onto your slippery little sucker as you diligently obey the midwife’s instructions and first dip their head and THEN (and only then) their body. When it’s all over and you’re every bit as drenched as they are, and you somehow need to get them dry… But how? You do some crazy-arse yoga moves to somehow cover this screaming wreck, all the while hoping you don’t turn into a baby-friendly slip’n-slide.
BTW – these velcro towels that just stick on around your neck are the business if you find yourself in this predicament!
What things did you find stressful about the reality of your newborn that you’d never given thought to when you were pregnant?