What to expect as a new parent
Can you ever really know what life will be like when your baby arrives?
You can read the books, ask every question that you can think of, and hit every supermarket baby event, it does that really prepare you for what parenthood throws up?
Here are our top tips to help you to navigate the first steps into your new journey.
1. Your life will change beyond recognition
If you think a baby will just slot right into your life, we’ve got news for you. All babies are different and they rarely follow a text book. So try not to make too many plans ahead of their arrival, as the chances are, you ’ ll have to change them. Be realistic about the adjustments you ’ ll have to make and it’ll feel a tiny bit less of a shock.
2. You won ’ t get much sleep
It sounds obvious, but there will be chunks of time when you will get no sleep. Most people can function on little sleep, but over time, those broken few hours will catch up with you and you will feel like you ’ ve been hit by a car. There is a reason that sleep deprivation is a form of torture, so make sure you take naps when you can. Even a few hours will help you to remember your own name.
3. Everyone will have advice for you
Every man and his dog will offer you their advice, whether you want it or not. Listen to it (and try not to get wound up), but pick and choose what you follow. It ’ s your baby and you will know them best, so respond to their needs and give them all of the love you can possibly manage. Trust your own intuition.
4. You probably won ’ t be the parent you thought you ’ d be
Not going to let your child watch TV or eat chocolate? Never going to leave toys in a mess or shout at your kids when you ’ re running late? And absolutely never going to let them stay up late? Hmm. Parenthood is already a balancing act, so our advice would be to open minded about situations you may find yourself in as they happen.
5. You will compare yourself to others
We all have good days and bad. You may see other parents on a good day when you are struggling through a bad one, and that ’ s all it is. One day. Don ’ t put yourself under any much pressure to compete – they probably felt the exact same way the day before, and your good day will come. Be kind to yourself for that day and take the next one as it comes.
6. You will probably forget to eat
Your own time will be very limited, but you still need to feed your body – particularly when breastfeeding. A few weeks before your due date, batch cook meals that are stodgy and filling, and easy to reheat. Meals such as lasagne, cottage pie, spaghetti Bolognese, and fish pie might be your secret power to surviving the day.
7. You will need some help
Having a baby is tiring, stressful, and let ’ s face it, the steepest learning curve you ’ ll ever have. If someone you love and trust offers to help, forget your pride and accept it. Perhaps ask a family member over to hold the baby so that you can take a shower, or grab a power nap. Or if you ’ re not comfortable with leaving the baby, ask them to the hoover around for you, walk the dog, or make you dinner.
8. You won ’ t have much time out anymore
Haircuts will no longer be the relaxing trips they once were, and family time will replace date night. Self care is fundamental to your happiness and experience as a parent, so make sure that you plan in some time for yourself when you feel ready. All in all, parenting is hard. There is no sugar-coating that. It is however, also an absolute
privilege and a hugely rewarding experience, so take the wins when you can and don ’ t be too hard on yourself.