We spent this weekend together as a family of three, knowing it could be the final one before we become four. Looking back at last time we were about to have a baby, we had no idea what was coming. It’s difficult to ready yourself for the unexpected though, isn’t it?
This time we feel far more prepared, and I’m not just talking lots of cot sheets and tiny nappies. But even though we’ve been there once, facing it again is incredibly exciting and ever-so-slightly daunting at the same time.
But like a bus that seems to take forever to arrive, I am very nearly due. So as I teeter on the brink of giving birth, I wanted to give my future self some advice about the early baby days…here goes.
Embrace the baby bubble There’s nothing like bringing a baby home for the first time. The early days are like nothing else, with all the emotions, the joy, the tiredness and a tiny mewling newborn. I’m not sure what it’ll be like when you add a toddler into the mix, but embrace the time and all get to know your newest family member.
Your baby possibly shouldn’t be that colour “Have you noticed your that she’s jaundiced?” asked the midwife on our first home visit after we arrived back from the hospital. I honestly hadn’t. I’d only just met her, it was winter, was that not just…the colour she was? So yes, it’s fair to say your breastfeeding journey didn’t have the best start. But you went on to do it happily for two and a half years. This time, make sure to get the latch checked properly in hospital and yes, keep an eye on their skin tone.
And note to your new mum self, always have a drink, snacks and the TV remote by you when breastfeeding. Or Loose Women is guaranteed to come on when you’re immobilised under a sleeping baby.
If pregnancy symptoms are odd, then remember that there’s also post-birth bodily weirdness. The night sweats, the hormones, and never having too many maternity pads. But you carried a baby for nine and a half months. Your body is amazing. Have some more cake and don’t worry about it.
It’ll probably be tough for a while…but it’ll get better… The general wisdom of all second-time-mums I’ve met is that the first weeks post-paternity leave are really hard. But it gets better. Everything really is a passing phase and at some point it will all click into place.
Although you won’t pop out an instant playmate, think of the long term love and potential of siblings like the years of laughter and fun with your own, and even now when they text you funny YouTube clips, come round to paint your house and entertain their niece for hours.
You might not get any sleep for a while. But just power on through. Although we must be due one that sleeps this time – tell me that’s how it works?! – the good thing about having a baby who didn’t consistently sleep through till they were two is that it’s prepared you for more years of sleep deprivation. Remember there’s tea, and cake, and wine, and lots of other mums who all understand.
And finally, trust all your instincts, do what feels right and take all advice with a pinch of salt . Everyone has an opinion, from mums to health visitors and old ladies in the supermarket. Just don’t make any 4am frantic visits to message boards and Dr Google.