There is a lot of information out there that tells you what you can expect when you have a new-born and become a parent for the first time. Much of the detail is seen through rose-tinted glasses and tells you about how incredible it is to become a new parent, how your baby can slot into your lives and how you can be back to your usual self within a few days. As a sleep consultant in the UK I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly and as much as I would like to tell you this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I cannot, there is another side to parenting (a slightly less ‘everything is fantastic’ side). Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting for one second that the birth of a child is not the most majestic thing parents can go through. Bringing a child into this world is one of the most beautiful and rewarding moments in our entire lives and becoming a new parent is incredible. However, I want to be able to set you up with the true facts and give you the opportunity to feel you are making a success of parenting from the outset. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and as though you are failing because you compare yourself to other parents who have only ever told you about the ‘good’ times. The simple fact is that every baby is different and therefore every parenting technique needs to be flexible and unique to your family. There are some facts that are consistent for every family, truths that you may not be aware of. You should feel comfortable seeking help and advice, it does not make you a bad parent. Here are some common misconceptions and my suggestions:
- Your baby should not be crying all the time – it is not normal for babies to always be crying, they are trying to tell you something in the only way they can. If this sounds familiar to you, you should seek advice from your health visitor. There will be a reason for all the tears.
- You should not be expected to host and cater for people when you return home from giving birth – if people want to come and visit you and your new baby, they should be helping you. You should not feel pressurised into running around after them.
- You should not expect to be back on your feet a few days after childbirth – giving birth can cause huge trauma to your body, that is if you have a natural birth. If you throw in any additional complications or major surgery like a C-section, you are looking at a long recovery time. It is unrealistic to believe you can be back to your normal energetic self within a short timeframe.
- Don’t believe everything the internet tells you – it is so easy to get sucked into believing everything we see and read online. As I mentioned before every baby is different, they have different behaviour patterns, different needs and different abilities. You should not compare what your child does to what you see on the internet.
- Do not expect your baby to sleep through the night – people may tell you how amazing their children are, how they slept through the night from the very beginning. The truth is that babies need to feed regularly throughout the day and night to begin with. So, whilst it might be true that after some month’s babies can sleep through from dusk till dawn, it is not a given and it is ok if yours do not. You can however help your baby to create better sleeping habits and that is where I come in, get in touch to set your family up for more sleep filled nights. There are guidelines on how much sleep you baby needs in a 24 hour period, but note that this is not expected to be in one solid block overnight.
- You should not expect to be the perfect mother from day one – becoming a parent for the first time is a steep learning curve and it takes time to adjust. It is perfectly normal to get home with your new-born baby and think ‘now what do we do with it!!’. Learning on the job is the only way forward and you can trust in the fact that your instincts will kick in and they are usually always right, so listen to them.
If you need any advice or help please feel free to contact me for a bespoke package tailored to your needs.