Friends of ours had their baby boy last week! The proud new mum is a close friend of Meg’s and we were receiving updates in the run up to the big day and around the labour. It brought back a lot of memories, some fond, some very stressful! It got me thinking how we’re only six months in to being parents, yet the amount we’ve learnt feels like we’ve been doing it a life time. We reached out to them to let them know we’re around if they ever need to catch up on much needed sleep, or need any advice. It got me thinking ‘what would I tell myself’, what advice I would give myself the day Ivy was born, from the perspective of me 6 months on. Here are a few things I came up with.
Trust your instincts
Even though you’ve put the hours in every Wednesday (and 5 hours one Sunday!) at antenatal classes, and mastered every form of labour pain relief, breathing techniques and body changes. As soon as you get home with Ivy you’re not going to know what to do. You’ll quite literally ask “what do we do now?” when you get back from the hospital. Use Google if needed (but not too much there’s lots of scaremongering on there), use your common sense, and let your paternal instincts take control (there are some in there somewhere). If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. In serious moments, speak to your doctor as much as you need to feel comfortable, the specialists are quite literally there to help.
Getting sleep when the baby sleeps is easier said than done. The first two weeks of being a dad are going to be brutal, especially as you’ve taken on two weeks of night shift. Hallucinating will be very real, tears always a thought but things will improve. Also, stop worrying about Ivy rolling in her sleep, she’s not even close, you can worry about that in about 4 months time. Make the most of her being a very still, sleeping, baby burrito.
Support each other
Cabin fever, lack of sleep and a baby set to go off at any time, take any one of those and there’s no surprise you’re going to get at each other. Just keep it to a minimum as these are some of the best times and you should support each other through good and bad moments.
Walking round the block is the most underrated piece of advice you will ever receive. Listen to it. Mostly because it refers to the point above, it’ll wake you up, clear your head and simply get you out the house. Locking yourself in for the first few days/weeks is completely fine, in fact I advise that too. But when both are ready, a 5 minute leg stretch will sort you right out.
You didn’t listen to this advice the first time round. Maybe you’ll do it if you have another baby. People were right, avoid visitors for at least a week. Enjoy your time as a new family and don’t feel pressured by friends, family to have groups round to see the new arrival and enjoy copious amounts of tea. You don’t get these first days again, so for once, stop being a stereotypical over polite Brit… I’m not that cut throat, immediate family get a pass, but keep visits short and sweet and get back to watching Netflix and adoring your little girl.
Make the most of it
Right now, Ivy rolls, laughs and picks things up on her own, but it feels like yesterday that she lay there doing nothing but being a ball of cute baby. 2 days turns into 2 months in the blink of an eye. Make the most of every moment and make sure to take LOADS of photos on the way.