Ask your heavily pregnant chum what scares her most about giving birth and the chances are (after hurling a bottle of antacid at you) she’ll say ‘the pain’. This is complete poppycock of course, but something you can relate to and discuss sympathetically in loose terms over a slice of carrot cake.
I’m not saying your friend isn’t concerned about childbirth smarting somewhat, (obviously) it’s just that in truth, she has other, more pressing matters on her mind. Like, hosting an audience with her overgrown lady garden, potentially pooping on the delivery table and the prospect of being left with a foof that whistles in the wind to the tune of Mr. Bojangles.
There are some things we just don’t talk about in life, because they’re deemed too personal, too icky or too darn freaky to discuss – and that is just plain wrong.
To think of the time I wasted as a new mum, Googling baby poos and worrying my son’s breathing was too loud / quiet / fast / slow / regular, or a little “breathy”. This, for me, was the perfect time to panic.
So, consider this list my gift to you – 12 things not to panic over as a first time parent. If you manage this, please tell me how:
A fontanelle that can dance the foxtrot.
That little diamond shaped squidgy bit at the front of your baby’s head? The gap where their skull hasn’t quite fused together just yet? It pulses. To a beat (a heartbeat, not Uptown Funk). This is normal.
And there’s no need to rush to hospital if you accidentally touch it. The soft bit is a protective membrane, not their actual brain. You won’t have given them a partial lobotomy with an overzealous kiss. Babies are awesome like that.
Newborn baby girls have a mini period (sometimes).
Non-doctor mummy-brain high level explanation: A surge of oestrogen in pregnant ladies can kick-start something in their foetus’s uterus, leading her to shed a little blood in their first week of life.
When you think of it like that, it doesn’t sound quite so gross / life threatening / freaky deaky.
Newborn baby boys get erections (often).
Just not for the same reason as daddy.
You’ll become the kind of person who keeps a journal (about bowel movements).
In the early days of parenthood, doctors, midwives and health visitors are frightfully keen to track your child’s feeding and toilet habits. (Gross, huh?) Given that you’ll be too tired to sneeze, let alone recall the time, frequency and nature of what your infant has been up to over the last 48 hours, you’re likely to resort to writing this stuff down, as and when it happens.
Think Bridget Jones Diary – with less sex and more wholegrain mustard poos.
Hiccups. All the livelong day.
No child ever died from chronic hiccups. Trust me. (I Googled it).
Yes, you really can bleed this much, for this long and not die.
I strongly suggest you hunt down a couple months’ worth of woolly mammoth sized maxi pads.
You will leak. A lot.
Mainly milk, blood and pee. This is customary.
Hot damn, being a new mama is so glamorous.
The left eye is looking at mama; the right eye is catching up on Peppa Pig.
It’s very common in the first three months for a baby’s eyes to wander and drift apart – particularly when tired. If the wind changes, they won’t stay like that.
Who knew babies carried weapons of mass destruction at their fingertips? For the sake of your little one’s digits and your sanity – I strongly recommend filing, rather than cutting them.
And don’t get me started on scratch mittens. You might as well give them to a cat.
Growth spurts, cluster feeds and mourning the loss of your left nipple.
Unless you have been blessed with cast iron teats, breastfeeding will hurt. Initially.
At three weeks old, your child is likely to experience their first growth spurt. Chances are, this will present itself in the form of eight hour long feeding marathons, with your little cherub gnawing off your left nipple.
Okay, that’s not strictly true.
It might be your right nipple.
The growth spurt will pass in a few days. Once you’re through it, you’ll feel like donning a cape, some dayglow spandex and lifting a car up over your head. (Don’t. Your pelvic floor still hasn’t quite recovered).
Baby boys can pee into their own mouths.
No, it won’t kill them. Which is a huge relief, given that it is by far the funniest thing you’ve ever seen.
You’ll think to stem the flow the second time round.
Acts of God: poonamis / vomcanic eruptions / snotagra falls.
Brace yourself for a whole new level of ick. Much of the first year of parenting is spent shielding yourself from and cleaning up after rogue bodily fluids. Kind of like sitting in an oversized gunge tank, only less green and more smelly.
Projectile pooing is a real thing. I sh*t you not.