Now that Little M is one, I thought it would be appropriate to bring Meet the Parents to a close. Originally intended to provide guidance to myself and other new parents around the time Little M was born, I had so many responses that the series has been running for over a year!
I thought it would be nice to finish up with my own words of advice to share with readers who are in the same position that I was, one whole year ago.
Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.
I’m Jules, I live in Norwich with my husband and my one year old daughter, Little M. I started my blog as an outlet for my crazy rambling thoughts when we were trying to conceive. Little did I know, I was actually pregnant within a couple of weeks of starting the blog, so it quickly became a place to document my pregnancy and journey into motherhood.
What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?
I’m a bit too enthusiastic about giving advice to choose just one thing, so here are a couple!
- Straws. Straws were fabulous both in hospital (I had a c-section and found it very difficult to sit up afterwards) and once we were home. It’s much easier to drink from a glass one-handed while holding a baby, when it’s through a straw!
- Enormous pants. I mean enormous. I bought size 20-22 full briefs from Asda the day before my c-section and my word, they were perfect. To give you an idea of what I mean by enormous: I’m usually a size 8-10.
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?
I had a planned caesarean, so it was all very clam and everything had been discussed beforehand. What I didn’t expect, though, was to feel so totally out of it when wheeled into recovery. Despite not having a general anaesthetic, I felt like I was drifting in and out of consciousness. Medically, there was nothing wrong with me, so I can only assume that it was some kind of anxiety response!
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?
So many people have said muslins, and I totally agree, they are amazing and so versatile, but for me, the one thing I couldn’t live without was our Snüzpod*. It was brilliant having Little M so close to me during the night, and she slept well in it for eight months, before moving to her own room.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?
Probably to just follow the baby’s routine, and respond to her needs rather than following a schedule. I read a really good book about baby sleep* before Little M was born, and it was so useful to be able to share that information with hubby when we were sleep deprived; knowing that what Little M was doing with her sleep (or lack thereof!) was perfectly normal, really helped.
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?
The worst piece of advice was probably being told ‘she needs to learn to self-settle’. At eight weeks old. On the day she’d had her immunisations. No!
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?
In those early days and weeks, remember that everything is temporary. A friend messaged me this just a few days in and honestly it revolutionised my mindset and got me through the tough transition into parenthood. Oh and have a packet of jelly babies on hand! I ‘rewarded’ myself with one every time I was feeling particularly rubbish and it helped to keep my spirits up. It’s little things like this that make all the difference in the early days. Be kind to yourself. That goes for dads as well as mums!
What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?
For me, it was the guilt. I felt such immense guilt around not being able to breastfeed, that I ended up exclusively expressing for the first seven and a half months. If we’re fortunate enough to have another baby, I hope to invest in a good private breastfeeding counsellor to help me get to grips with it. There were too many different midwives in my home when Little M was born, all offering me ‘support’, but what I really needed was someone consistent and familiar who could give me the time and reassurance that I needed.
What’s the best thing about being a new parent?
Having a wonderful little person in your life, of course! Parenthood is such a gift, even when sleep deprivation and cabin fever is hitting hard. Remember that the tough times are temporary and things will get easier; then the fun really starts!
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