9 things no-one told you about life with a newborn
As a newborn photographer, I’ve had the privilege of meeting hundreds of new parents who have trusted me with their beautiful babies. Most parents arrive anxious, exhausted and a little deflated. Life with a newborn is not what they expected. They are then amazed by how confidently I can handle and settle their newborn into a deep sleep without any problems. But this hasn’t always been the case. I was once a new mum too and here’s some of the things that really took me by surprise…
1. It might not be love at first sight.
This is the hardest one to admit so I’m going to get it out of the way first. When my daughter was born, I didn’t feel the rush of love that everyone told me I would feel. I felt pure relief. Being induced, spending 11 hours on a drip, being sick, going 48 hours without sleep and then finally delivering my baby just totally drained me. The love part did come later, once I was alone with my daughter and no one was looking at my lady bits!
2. Some newborns are furry.
I had no idea that some newborns are born with super fine hair over their shoulders and back. I was slightly horrified when my daughter came out resembling a gorilla and immediately blamed myself and the clearly dodgy genes I had passed on to her. After a bit of googling, I discovered that it’s totally normal, it’s called lanugo and it usually falls out after a few weeks. I now just see it as an adorable newborn trait along with the funny noises they make…
3. Newborns are noisy.
My newborn didn’t really cry but she did make lots of little squeaky noises and funny sounds almost like a hamster. This really took me by surprise and was slightly unnerving. Now I love listening to squeaky babies when they come for their newborn shoots.
4. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone.
I was 100% determined to breastfeed my baby. I was really anxious about the idea but I knew the benefits to both mum and baby so I decided to put my fears to one side and just do it.
I read ALL the articles. I bought ALL the things. I thought I was prepared. I was wrong. Very wrong.
My daughter couldn’t latch, I couldn’t relax enough to produce milk, I couldn’t figure out how to get her into a good position, everything just seemed to be going wrong. It was hard. And at night time it was even harder. The whole experience was pretty soul destroying. I had a couple of health visitors who tried to help but it just wasn’t happening. I felt like the biggest failure ever. In the end, I gave up and resorted to bottles.
My advice to any expectant mum, that’s thinking of breastfeeding, would be to attend a breastfeeding class and to pop along to one of the many breastfeeding support groups and get some real life experience. There are certain things google just isn’t cut out to teach.
5. Newborns hate Moses baskets.
They also hate cribs/cots, bouncers, sleeping pods, basically anything that isn’t you. This is all to do with the fourth trimester. For the last 9 months your baby has been tucked inside you feeling snug and safe. They have never felt hungry, thirsty, hot or cold. The world must be a pretty scary place to a newborn. And it’s not that they hate their Moses basket, they just really need some reassurance that everything is going to be ok. That’s why they love to sleep on your chest.
Here’s a tip, once they are fed, burped, changed and ready to sleep, try swaddling them. Every newborn I have in my studio loves to be swaddled, it makes them feel secure. If you’re unsure how to swaddle, you can buy swaddle blankets that make the process super easy.
6. The sleep deprivation is brutal.
Nothing can prepare you for the sleep deprivation. I had heard that life with a newborn was tiring but this was exhaustion on a whole new level! Part of the problem was that even though my baby slept, I couldn’t. I was either holding her on my chest so she could sleep (I hadn’t discovered swaddling yet) or, on the rare occasion I was able to put her down, I was so anxious about her not being in my arms that I never fully drifted off to sleep. The good news is that the first 6 weeks are the hardest and every week after that gets a little easier.
7. Your hormones will go WILD.
You will cry at anything. And, most of the time, you won’t even know what you are crying about. Try not to worry, they usually settle down after a couple of months but if you’re concerned, speak to your health visitor.
8. Explosive poos are to be expected.
Your first encounter with an explosive poo is one you’re not going to forget in a hurry. You will be amazed at just how much poo one tiny little human can create and both impressed and horrified at their ability to get it all the way up their back and sometimes even in their hair. Explosive poos will become the norm and will probably happen at the most inconvenient of times – just accept it.
9. Mum guilt is here to stay.
Mum guilt is real and it usually starts even before your baby is born. Some days you will
feel like you didn’t do enough or you’re not enough. When you’re feeling discouraged, just remember, you are the centre of the universe for the tiny human you created from scratch. You’re kind of a big deal.
Clare is a Newborn Photographer with a luxury studio in Garforth, Leeds.
Or visit Clare’s website: www.AusthorpePhotography.com to see more of her beautiful work and enquire about her photo shoots. And don’t forget to follow her on Facebook and keep up to date with her latest news and events.