I have a new parenting philosophy. It’s basically this: each phase has brilliant bits and awful bits. The first time round, it’s hard to focus on the positives because the awful bits seem so hard. You feel like each phase will last forever, and I was terrified of letting the baby form “bad habits’ or “making a rod for my own back.”
With the benefit of a few years of parenting, and now doing it all again for the second time around, I know that each phase only lasts a relatively short time. I know that you have to enjoy certain things, because they grow up so quickly. You have to make the most of each moment.
The newborn phase is really, really hard. It’s a massive shock to the system, and you’re probably recovering from the birth, struggling to establish breastfeeding and completely exhausted.
However, there are some good bits of the newborn phase. They won’t last forever, so you need to make the most of them.
- 1. Newborn cuddles
- There is almost nothing better than a newborn baby snuggling into you. It is one of the most relaxing, peaceful things in the world. I understand that when you’re stuck underneath a sleeping baby, it can be really frustrating, but these moments won’t last for long. So unless you desperately need the loo, or can’t reach the remote, go with it.
2. No entertainment needed (except for you)
This is the time to catch up on all the TV viewing that you’ve not done for the last 25 years. Get into Netflix, borrow the box sets and enjoy being in charge of the remote.
3. The portable baby
Newborn babies are really easy to travel with, especially before they require solid food, extended nap times and entertainment. Although the thought of it might put the fear into you, many babies are very settled out and about. We had several lunches out in those first few weeks where Samuel just slept the whole time. So, once you’ve got over the first few weeks, give it a go. You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is.
4. Maternity pay
For many people, the first few months of maternity pay are pretty close to full pay. It doesn’t last! So make the most of it while you can and hit the shops with the pram.
5. Coffee shop feeds
Now that Samuel is being weaned (more on that in a few posts time), I’m really missing my trips to Starbucks/Costa/Local coffee shop for a quick feed. I can just about get away with giving him a couple of rice cakes in a high chair, but I know that once he’s on the move, even that will be out of the question. So make the most of those first six months, especially the cakes.
6. The baby stays put
Before they crawl, you can put babies down and they pretty much stay where they are. Once they are on the move, they don’t stop! So enjoy being able to put them down, leave them, and come back to find them in the same spot.
7. The newborn excuse
Late? Forgotten birthday? Lost keys? You have the perfect excuse.
“Don’t worry, you’ve got a baby.”
The same goes for those extra pounds you’ve still got to lose.
8. The lack of routine
I know I’m usually all about routine (you can read my posts about establishing a night time routine and daily routines here), but there is something very flexible about a newborn baby. By 6 months, you’ll be having to time car journeys so that they do or don’t fall asleep, and trying to stretch them out for just a bit longer awake. However, in the newborn days, they’ll pretty much sleep when they are in the car, in the pram or in your arms. If they don’t, they probably want feeding in my experience. See no. 5.
I’m going to be honest: the newborn phase is really hard, probably one of the toughest phases of being a parent, especially if it’s the first baby. It’s the time to be kind to yourself. But it really doesn’t last long, so you have to enjoy the good bits too.