The first month of your baby’s life is simply a baptism of fire. From the second you arrive home with your bundle of joy, you realise life isn’t going to be the same and you’re in for a whole world of worry.
Having NEVER been around babies before having my own, I was a bit of a text book dad – all theory no experience. Nothing you read can prepare you for how scared you get, no matter how chilled you are.
Is the baby breathing? Is it too fast? Is it too slow? Can you hear him? My goodness, listening for your babe’s breathing becomes an obsession in the first month, and any variation causes alarm – especially at night. Hands down, this was the thing that scared me the most about having a newborn.
“Feel the baby’s chest and see if they feel hot.” Hot is so ambiguous. What does it even mean? So many times we’ve looked at each other and asked if the baby is too hot or cold. I’m not saying we broke the thermometer out every time the baby slept, but we didn’t have a clue if we should swaddle, use a blanket, full baby grow…turns out you do quickly get to know your bab.
3. Your life
It has irreversibly changed and you have to figure out how you fit in this world again. During month one showering, eating hot food and silence all become luxuries of a life long passed. You tell yourself you’re ready, but I think every parent can agree that the changes can’t be put into words!
4. The first bath
Water + baby = danger. My logical brain envisaged every eventuality in the few short moments before Eddison first went in the tub. I even watched YouTube tutorials, because I was so scared of doing something wrong. Of course, once he was in the water it soon became his favourite place! Worry for nothing.
It’s so complicated. Everyone makes it seem so easy – it’s not. As a dad, it’s so scary watching a little human devour your partner’s nipples. Not everyone has a hard time, but trust me breastfeeding is not always a recreational activity! From a male perspective, as scary as it is, you have nothing but respect for women who try it and stick at it.
6. Milk consumption
Is the baby getting enough food becomes has he eaten too much? Then we go round again. Hungry – full – hungry – full. I’m literally shocked at how much milk babies get through but there is always a worry about amount. All I know is that a fed baby is a happy baby – month one certainly taught me that!
7. The baby’s mum
8. Sleep deprivation
You know you’re in for a hard time, but when the baby decides they are staying awake all night, you’re just in it for the ride. It leaves you wondering how you ever could’ve complained about being tired pre-partum. When you have a face like this at 3am you don’t really want to sleep anyway!
9. The loneliness
It’s a weird time; people are always around, but you have moments of feeling totally alone and you mourn your previous life. Then you catch your baby’s eye and it goes away.
You hear about the crying from everyone, but nothing quite prepares you for the howling of your own. It is true you get to know what cries signify, what people don’t tell you is how worrying it is when your baby hits a new crescendo of weeping.
11. Dr Google
Dr Claudia Pastides wrote a piece on this. Being so connected to information allows us to quickly research symptoms and cures online. Google always has the answers, but be careful what you look for. Whatever you search for will inevitably have ended badly for at least one person and it will leave you scared. My advice – let the professionals do the diagnosing – and check BabyCentre instead!
Nothing in the world can prepare you for the amount you will love your child. I feel so protective and responsible for Eddison it scares me. Love is something that can be overwhelming at times – trust me, in that first month, you feel the love!
The first month is a whirlwind. It’s emotional, it’s hard and it will test you, but for every moment of worry there is an hour of smiles and happiness. Enjoy every moment – time really flies, don’t waste it being too scared.