Welcome back to my blog series Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies. This week we’re chatting to Lisa from Mrs Savage Angel.
Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.
I have been writing over at mrssavageangel.com for nearly three years. I’m a stay at home mama to my 4 year old son Oscar. I live with Oscar and my husband Ben in leafy Surrey. I write about parenting, Oscar’s Autism diagnosis and weight loss.
What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?
My hospital bag was a bit different to most people’s because I was taken in for a week before I had Oscar. So the overnight bag I had so diligently packed wasn’t much use. However, I did have Ben bring my pillow from home into the hospital and it’s the one thing I wouldn’t have been without. I hardly slept in the week before Oscar was born, but at least I got to rest on something comfortable. I even had it in the delivery suite with me (although not in theatre obviously).
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?
Everything. Seriously you can plan and prep as much as you like (and I wrote the most detailed birthing plan) and I would encourage any first time mother to be informed but seriously you have to be prepared for anything to happen. It would be lovely if we could all have drug free, natural, stress free births and there is certain pressure out there to achieve that. But really, if you are able to give birth safely (for you both), does it really matter how it happens?
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?
I thought we were so well prepared before Oscar was born, but actually we bought most of our essential items after he was born as and when we needed them. I never went in for slings and such, although I don’t know why and I always wish we’d tried them. But to be honest I struggled having him on me all the time (turned out I wasn’t as ‘earth mother’ as I’d hoped) and so for us having a baby bouncer chair, that laid completely flat (and later could be sat up) was a gift. However, really for me, a decent buggy was my most used item. I had the Mothercare My3 and the Maxi Cosi car seat that could clip on to it. It wasn’t the most expensive travel system, but I loved that it was so flexible!
We took a lot of care over choosing our travel system, and I’m so pleased we did!
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?
The best piece of advice I got just after he was born actually. An older friend with grown up daughters told me just to sit and enjoy holding him. Because once he started moving that would be it. I heeded her advice as much as I could and she was so right. I had no idea my son would be on the move by 16 weeks, so I’m forever grateful for those few weeks of sitting still.
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?
Sleep when the baby sleeps! No one who gives that advice either has children or remembers what it was like to have a new baby. It’s nigh on impossible. When are you meant to do things like sterilise bottles (Oscar never latched on and I bottle fed from the beginning)? Also I found I would try and sleep while he napped, but that I’d just have dropped off, when he’d wake up, meaning I’d be jolted from sleep, leaving me feeling queasy and sometimes even angry. So eventually I stopped trying.
It’s quite similar to being told to get lots of sleep before baby comes. Do people not realise how uncomfortable it is being heavily pregnant?!
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?
I know you won’t believe this, but my top tip would be to enjoy your baby while they are super portable. Go out and about as much as you can, because once they start being mobile it is 100 times harder to get stuff done. Pack up a bag and just go!
What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?
The lack of sleep obviously makes everything so much more difficult to cope with, but really I think the hardest thing, particularly about being a new mother, is giving up your independence. Being wholly responsible for the life of another person, 24/7, is harder than I ever imagined it would be. Give yourself time to adjust and never once think anyone else is doing motherhood better than you. They’re not!
What’s the best thing about being a new parent?
Do you know what, I was going to say how lovely everyone is to you, because everyone loves a new baby, but actually one of the best things I found about being a new parent, was how honest you become. You will be so tired the filters come down and actually that’s incredibly liberating. You no longer have the energy or the desire to put up with other people’s nonsense. And that is a magical feeling. Oh and how amazing you find your tiny baby. Watching him and kissing him were just the best!
If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.