My Baby Led Life; What I’ve Learnt So Far. A guest post by Jess Watson.
1. The Baby is always right. This needs no explanation.
2. Breastfeeding is hard even when it’s problem free. We were really lucky in that both Anya and I took to breastfeeding pretty well. She latched within minutes of being born, didn’t have tongue or lip tie or any allergies. But it was still hard. She was still attached to me 90% of the day for pretty much the first month. It still hurt and we had to tweak her feeding position and latch several times in the early days before it became bearable. I’ve had mastitis twice due to an oversupply, but not in the early days like you would expect, and still have to wear breast pads to save my clothes and embarrassment. 9 months on I’m pleased that we’re still going and I really do love it but it’s still hard work.
3. A good night’s sleep is like winning the lottery. Some babies sleep through the night from an early age but contrary to popular belief a baby that sleeps through the night is the exception rather than the rule. Most babies will wake frequently in the night to feed, for a cuddle or to just make sure you’re still there. Anya wakes at least once for a feed in the night, most nights more than once. The key is making the most of the time she’s in bed which often for me means being in bed before 9pm to make sure I get a decent stretch before the nighttime shenanigans begin. Also, the old favourite of ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ is absolute rubbish. Feel free to ignore this advice.
4. Sleep is for the weak.
5. Your baby has superpowers. It has the power to reset your mind with its beaming smile despite your sleep deprived state and general frustration. All of a sudden you will temporarily forget everything.
6. Mum guilt is a parasite that creeps into your subconscious and transforms you into a neurotic, overthinking, guilt-ridden version of your former self. It’s real and should not be underestimated.
7. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Sometimes admitting you need a break is quite hard to do. I still have real trouble with this and every time I even contemplate having some time to myself the dreaded Mum Guilt sets it. However when you spend all day every day with your tiny person, it’s actually more than reasonable to want some head space to regroup. Be it with a book, a hot cuppa or and bubbling bath. It’s okay to let yourself off the hook sometimes.
8. Comparison IS the thief of joy. They all get there in the end be it eating, crawling, walking or even sleeping. Just because little Johnny has started rolling over already despite being 3 days younger than your baby does not mean your baby is defective or that you are doing something wrong. I’ve found that trusting your baby means you can’t go far wrong.
9. This too shall pass. Another favourite mantra of mine that I recite on a regular basis. It reminds me that everything is a phase in the early days. Just when you think you have a routine nailed life smacks you in the face, tells you not to be so stupid and greets you with a teething baby, a leaping baby or a sleep regressing baby just because it can. When you think you’re at breaking point and can’t take any more the waters recede and you’re left bleary eyed and wondering if it was all a dream, Which of course it can’t have been because dreaming would involve actual, proper sleep!
10. You are tougher than you think. Another one I try to remind myself of daily. Your body grew an actual human for the best part of the year. From scratch! Your body then gave birth to this human and helped you to nourish it in those early days. Pregnancy and labour pushed your body to it’s absolute limits. You are effectively superwoman. This means that whatever else this parenting ride throws your way you can totally handle it, right?
Jess was born and bred in Stroud and now lives in Gloucester with her 9 month old daughter Anya, long suffering husband James and their fur baby, Penny the cat. Jess has Polish parents and really enjoyed Anya’s first Polish Christmas with a big celebration on Christmas Eve. You can follow Jess on Instagram (@Jessthestar) and also read her own blog here.