Having a child is one hell of a journey! There are plenty of ups and downs but we wouldn’t change it for the world.
Here are two pieces of advice that would have saved our sanity as new parents.
1. Don’t compare your baby to another baby.
If you are comparing your baby to other babies you will set yourself up to fail!
No two babies are the same!
In the first few weeks you will spend close to 5-8 hours feeding per day.
You might spend most of that time on your phone, researching milestones and your baby's development.
A multitude of topics relating to your baby of course!
I’m sure every new mother in the past few years has done this at least once or twice or 100 times a day!
Comparing and questioning everything, why is my baby doing this, or why is my baby not doing that?
You may read that so and so's baby slept for 7 hours straight but yours only slept for 3 hours, so you must be doing something wrong.
You aren't doing anything wrong!!!
As we said before no two babies are the same and there are too many different variables in each situation that you will never get a true comparison.
Setting unrealistic expectations in your mind will only lead to frustration.
If you're busy comparing your baby to the next, you'll miss out on valuable time that you could be bonding with your baby.
Time is one thing we can never get back.
99.9% of what you will scroll through will be the very best of parenting!
Babies and toddlers have the ability to melt your heart one second, and rip it out the next.
Be prepared for everything and anything!
2. Trust your instincts.
Just think back to your parents or grandparents or even great grandparents.
They had next to none of the information that we have access to today.
They had to trust their instincts or asked a relative because they couldn’t google their problems for a solution.
And you’re still here right, so they must of done a great job!
When you scroll through the internet searching for answers, you second guess your instincts.
There is so much conflicting information out there.
Don’t get me wrong the internet is a fantastic tool to solve problems but go with your gut and what feels comfortable to you and your situation.
We are parents ourselves of two beautiful young children Aston and Isla and we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs as well.
From post-natal depression, to breastfeeding and sleep issues but we’ve made it through stronger.
We fell into these traps ourselves and looking back it would have saved us a lot of stress and grief. How hindsight is a wonderful thing.
With Aston I had breastfeeding issues from the beginning.
I was even told by nurses whilst in hospital just to bottle feed because he was struggling to latch.
We ended up back in hospital with him as the maternal health nurse was afraid he hadn’t put on enough weight at his first check up even though he was happy and having lots of wet and dirty nappies.
You can imagine how bad we felt as parents, that we were led to believe that we were failing our new son.
It was only until the midwife on night shift came in that night that it put our mind at ease that we were doing the right thing.
We can still remember her coming in the room to check on Aston's feeding.
She was an older lady and she wasn't the warmest of characters.
She was going through her checklist and asking us the same questions that we had been asked by the previous midwives.
We were waiting for her to politely tell us in a round about way that we weren't giving our son enough milk and we needed to top him up with a bottle.
We were quite mistaken. She asked us why we were here!
We explained the maternal health nurse had recommended us to come into the hospital.
She shook her head, rolled her eyes and told us there was nothing to be concerned about.
He was getting plenty of food, was a very happy baby and had the right amount of wet and dirty nappies.
Needless to say we were out of hospital first thing the next morning!
With Aston I had to use nipple shields while breastfeeding, as they were the only way that I could get him latch and feed.
I used them for 4 months before he learnt to feed without them.
Some of what you read online says that they shouldn’t be used for that long or used at all, but he was feeding well so we trusted our instincts and kept using them as long as necessary.
Our second child Isla was a great feeder, but wasn't as good a sleeper as our first. In reality she wasn’t really that bad of a sleeper.
We were frustrated because we were compared her to our first child who was a text book sleeper.
Our second child was getting the sleep she needed, but we were trying to improve her sleep instead of managing her and our own sleep better.
The turning point for us was reading a great book called ‘Sleep like a Baby’ by Pinky McKay.
The first chapter goes through a series of parents and the sleeping patterns of their babies. What we got from the book was a change of mindset.
It reminded us that every baby is unique.
Some will be happy with 10-12 hours instead of the recommended 12-15 hours sleep.
It’s common sense when you look at it but sometimes you get carried away when you are a bit sleep deprived.
When we stopped comparing Isla to Aston the weight of frustration and expectation was lifted from our shoulders.
She’s now just over 2 years old and has slept through the night from around 16 months.
She wakes at the crack of dawn almost every morning, which is not ideal, but she always greets us with the biggest grin first thing in the morning!
The best way to start the morning.
Our parenting journey led us to opening an online store dedicated to help make life easier for parents. Parenting is hard, with so many twists and turns.
We source the most useful, efficient and high quality baby and toddler products from all around the world so you don’t have to waste your time scrolling the web for hours on end.
We wish you all the best with your baby journey and hope our advice can help you on your own parenting journey.
Amy and Matthew xxx