Welcome to my new blog series entitled Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies. It has occurred to me whilst pregnant that so much advice to given to you by anyone and everyone; grannies in the street, ladies on checkouts, friends who don’t have children(!); but where better to get advice from than those who are going through it right now, themselves?
This week’s wisdom comes from Sarah from Forget Me Knit.
Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family
I am Sarah, Mum to two boys under two – so as you can imagine I have my hands some-what full! We live in the vibrant city of Bristol and enjoy exploring all the city has to offer. I have dipped in and out of blogging for a couple of years, but really got in to it when I was pregnant with my second son, Arthur. My eldest is called Ted and he is a whirlwind – as most toddlers are! We love spending time together as a family and look forward to our weekends for adventures together.
I really wanted to make sure I could contact my family and update them from hospital, so I took a spare charged battery for my phone AND a power bar so I could always make sure I had a full battery. I hated the thought of not being able to tell people the baby had arrived safely or have to rush any of those special conversations. It also meant I could take as many pictures as I wanted! Another great thing we took to hospital was bluetooth headphones – they are wireless so for a while I was handling the contractions by getting into my own little world listening to music.
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?
I think the thing I am surprised at most of all from both of my labours, is how midwifves and other maternity care givers don’t always listen to you. When I was in labour the second time I kept telling them I really needed to push and they told me I wasn’t ready and that I still had a while to go… he was born 3 minutes later! So always be clear on your feelings and instincts! I was induced for both of my labours and it takes a really long time – be prepared for things not to happen straight away.
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?
A wrap or a sling – especially with your second baby when you have a toddler to take care of! I couldn’t live without mine. It makes me feel reassured that Arthur is getting the physical contact and comfort he needs from me, but I am still able to play with and entertain Ted. There are so many to choose from – you need to have a try and see what you personally are most comfortable with.
We have borrowed a sling from a friend to see how we get on with it before buying one.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?
Not really advice, but I have one friend who was very realistic and honest with me about everything – labour, childbirth, breastfeeding and beyond. I found it really helped me be prepared for things to be tough at times, and to know that it was normal. I really appreciated her being honest with me and it made me feel like it was OK to have difficult days.
Sounds like a good friend to have around!
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?
Sleep when baby sleeps! As if! I didn’t put Ted down for the first 6 months! 🙂
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?
My top tip would be don’t listen to anyone’s top tip! (except this one, of course!) It is always interesting to hear how other people parent and it can sometimes be helpful – but ultimately you should just do things your way. Don’t doubt yourself because you do things differently to someone else, or compare yourself in anyway – different things work for different people and you know your baby best. Everyone should do what works best for them as a family.
What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?
Lack of sleep! Ted was a terrible sleeper and I walked around in a zombie-like state for a goof few months. It was a total shock to the system! Make sure you are kind to yourself in those early days and have a good support network around you. It will get better!
What’s the best thing about being a new parent?
Getting to know this new yet familiar little creature that you grew! It is so amazing when you first hold them – I will never forget that moment with both of my boys, it was so special. It makes everything disappear into the background – if you had a difficult and uncomfortable pregnancy or a long labour, it will all soon be forgotten in that moment.
Aw, what a lovely note to end on!
Thank you for that great advice, Sarah!
If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.