Some people actually have no idea about babies. I was one of those people. I had never really held a baby and was in no way interested in them. I preferred dogs.
When I got pregnant, the first thing I did (after saying “no way no way no way, I CAN”T BE x 20 ) was buy a couple of baby books. I soon realised that every single baby book or expert contradicts the other. I gave up reading them as I found the whole experience more stressful than the pregnancy itself.
I wished there was someone out there who could tell me the ABSOLUTE BASICS. All the stuff that people assume every woman knows, but in fact lots don’t. With this in mind, I have written a set of instructions for new babies.
Disclaimer: This is written about newborns (there is no way in hell I would ever claim to know anything about a toddler, I can’t control my own) with a target audience of complete and utter dummies, like me.
Crying: When a baby arrives, the first thing they do is cry, which is a good thing. Some baby’s continue to cry on and off for months and some don’t feel the need to cry very much at all. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to prevent getting a crier. Some people say that a relaxed Mum makes for a relaxed baby. This is a crock of you-know-what. It’s an absolute lottery. I know this as I got one of each and I did not change my personality at all.
So I’ve had a baby, now what do I actually do with it? Every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion on how a baby should be cared for. Some say the baby is the boss (demand or baby-led) and some say the Mother or the so-called parenting expert decides what happens and when. WHATEVER. At the end of the day, all you have to remember is this:
Drink, Burp, Play, Sleep. REPEAT. REPEAT. REPEAT. REPEAT. Repeat this all day, and all night long.
You can get all technical about it later – but at first, this is all you need to do. NB: They don’t ‘play’ at first, so the play part simply means to be awake. This is a good time to change their nappy.
Feeding and Wind: When babies drink their milk (either from a boob or a bottle) they can accidentally swallow too much air and this air can get stuck in their belly. This is what people mean when they say a baby has ‘wind’. Wind hurts a baby and they generally cry a lot until they you get the air out. Generally the air comes out when you sit the baby up and rub their back, usually in the form of a burp. However it can also be a fart or a spew. Just get the wind out.
Sleeping: #touchysubject: New babies like to be wrapped up tightly when they sleep. This is called a swaddle.The tighter the swaddle the better. This is for two reasons: 1) it reminds them of the womb and it comforts them 2) it prevents them from waking themselves up with their hands (which they can’t control). Baby’s get little frights in their sleep, and their whole body can jump or jerk quite suddenly.Swaddling helps prevent their little arms and legs flapping about and waking up.
Two other important things to remember:
- Take your baby out a lot and NEVER CREEP AROUND YOUR BABY. Contrary to what people think, baby’s love noise – it’s louder than a megaphone in the womb. If you start shushing and tiptoeing about in an attempt not to wake the baby, they come to need silence, and then your life is pretty much over. #takeyourbabytoaparty!
- Don’t be stingy with your baby, remember sharing is caring. Let other people hold him/her a lot. It does a baby good to get used to other people. Remember at some stage you are going to want to go to the hairdresser or a bar (depending on your priorities). How are you supposed to do this with a stage five clinger? Pass the parcel people!
Now, I’m sure this piece has upset some of you because I’ve made it all sound so easy and simple. I assure you I know it’s not. This is written as a place to start for complete and utter Mummy Dummies. Like me.