Being a first time dad, I had some preconceptions about what it might be like having a newborn – the thing is though, these preconceptions (as in other situations) didn’t materialise. Instead, I went on an incredibly steep learning curve that has propelled me into fatherhood.
1. Babies are really loud
Of course I was expecting crying (obviously), but I never realised how loud babies actually are! On numerous occasions, I have was woken up by the sound of a noise that can only be described as the gruffle of a small animal (a piglet maybe?). It was an invasive yet cute rhyme of snoring and breathing that seemingly never ended… until the cry of course. I liked knowing that the baby is ok and to be fair the chorus wasn’t offensive. In my mind, I guess I just thought that babies slept nice and peacefully like on TV. How naïve!
2. Breastfeeding is hard
Everybody talks about how long mums should breastfeed for, but one thing people don’t talk about as much is how hard it is. I swear it’s an art and after the “if it hurts you’re doing it wrong” chat, it’s easy to think about giving it up, especially if you get caught in downward spiral of sore nipples. I wasn’t aware that such a tiny soft little creature could do so much damage if you don’t get it right. A real eye-opener and another boost to my admiration for women who give birth.
3. Babies dictate life to begin with
Eat, sleep, poo repeat. Normally in that order, but of course the order is subject to change when the baby decides. Regardless of what the books say, a baby will naturally act on instinct and this first week, I noticed there is nothing that can be done about it. Don’t for a second think that you have a say in what the baby wants and when they want it to start with. In the later weeks, it’s easier to establish a routine…but off the bat, the baby is driving and it’s not a slow ride!
4. Poo doesn’t smell
My wife had an emergency C-section and is therefore a bit incapacitated. That left me to do most of the changing as she couldn’t rotate or get up too well. I was expecting a spectacular concoction of odours and scents. I had a vision of me holding my nose in disgust as I simultaneously wiped my baby’s bum. Alas, I was once again wrong. Although baby poo looked nuclear at times, it hardly smelled at all if the baby is on the boob. Bonus. On the same note, I also never thought about how many nappies you get through either!
5. They completely mesmerise you
I spent hours looking at my baby. He couldn’t do any thing (except the aforementioned pooing, sleeping and eating) but my goodness he was (and still is) amazing. I knew I would fall in love, but what I didn’t know was just how much time I would spend staring at him, talking to him and randomly singing to him.