Come on Mums (and Dads), you’ve got to be honest, your baby looked like a grumpy old man (or woman) at some point/for most of the time during those first 6-8 weeks. No? Sorry, I don’t believe you.
Why aren’t we honest about what parenthood is really like? Why is that when we are, people worry about our parenting and judge us?
I chatted to another Mum about some of these things the other day and discovered that when she’d said them outloud she’d felt a lot of judgement of her parenting. So, in the interest of total honesty, to all you new parents thinking all these things and wondering why no-one talks about them, and because I think it’s totally fine to think all of these things, here are some of the many things I thought and did I had as a Mum in the early days…
1. My baby looks like a grumpy old man. There were points where I looked at him and thought, “oh, I really do hope you’re going to get more cute”. I didn’t love him any less, in fact I came to see him as quite a sweet old man. So much better to be honest about his funny faces rather than claim he’s cute all the time and expect others to agree, right?
2. When he started sleeping through the night it wasn’t the cuddles or feeding I missed, it was getting to watch box sets in the night. I was half way through Desperate Housewives and it was quite hard to catch up when he slept through.
3. I considered stopping breastfeeding repeatedly. Days in, weeks in and then I did stop at 7 months. If I had stopped at any of those points my baby would have been fine. Can you honestly tell which adults were breastfed vs. formula fed? No. Sometimes breastfeeding is really hard, sometimes people just know it’s not the right option for them. Fine. Let’s let them make their own choices on that.
4. At times in the night during the early days, I said “I can’t do it, you’ll have to go” to my husband. This didn’t mean I wasn’t coping. I was shattered because I had a newborn and in that moment I just ‘couldn’t do it’.
5. At times I just rocked the Moses basket with my foot and I’m pretty sure I fell back to sleep before him.
6. Sometimes I heard him cry and I fell back to sleep. He must have stopped because next time I woke he wasn’t crying.
7. On the same theme, I let my baby cry. Ok, I don’t often talk about this often as people have such strong opinions but I have chosen to let my baby cry a little to learn to soothe himself. I now have a happy 10 month old who loves going to bed and chats happily until he falls asleep so it’s worked for us. If you don’t want to let your baby cry that’s totally your prerogative but let’s just leave each other to make our own choices on that one and stop pressuring new mummies either way.
8. I worried about hurting my baby and pictured what would happen if I dropped him or squished his head too hard. This wasn’t because I was actually thinking about hurting him, I simply loved him so much that I didn’t want him to get hurt. I’ve had this conversation with other mums so I know it’s not just me!
9. I gave him a bottle of formula every now and then and told the Health Visitor he was ‘exclusively breastfed’ because I couldn’t face that conversation.
10. At times (particularly in those first few weeks) I thought, “please hurry up and get more interesting.” I think he’s gotten more and more interesting every day!
Come on parents, let’s be honest with each other! Anyone else got more things they’d add from their early baby days?