If I could only give you one piece of advice for surviving with a newborn it would be this: never say never.
It’s impossible to go into parenting without some pre conceived ideas. The media show us images of motherhood in parenting mags, glossies, tv ads and even in Holly wood blockbusters. And while we all know those images are sugar coated (and probably airbrushed too) they still contribute to our picture of early parenting. On the other hand, real life examples of mothering can come crashing in on our picture. We’ve all been guilty of judging a mother, whether a relative, friend or stranger, without having any clue about life with kids. It’s hard not to think about how we would respond n the same situation, and it’s funny how often we assume we’d do it better. Which of course leads to dangerous “I’d never...” thinking.
If you’re about to become a parent, do yourself a favour and scrap the word “never” from your vocabulary. If you don’t ditch the word I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have to eat it anyway. And while you’re at it, you might as well lose the word “always” as well. It’s almost as bad and just as likely to get you into trouble.
One “never” that I had to take back was use of a dummy. My daughter was an unsettled, reflux (LINK) bub and it only took a few weeks for me to give up on my idealistic notions and give the dummy a try. She wouldn’t take it, but I still tried a few times with a few types to make sure! I didn’t even think twice with my son. I also said I’d never bottle feed. Despite my best intentions with breast feeding I eventually had to put both of my cherubs on the bottle. I had been so determined with this “never” that it took me quite some time to deal with the change. It’s ok to make decisions about how you plan to parent, but never say never.
Here are some other “never” statements I’ve heard first timers say:
I was definitely guilty of a few of those “never” statements before having kids. Some of them I even held onto with my first child, but had to let go of with my second! Every child is different. I don’t advocate co-sleeping, but there were plenty of nights in those first six weeks when bub ended up in bed with me, at least for a while. I don’t believe nursing the baby to sleep is good for developing self settling habits, but when it’s 4am and you’ve got a screaming 4 week old who has been awake for h-o-u-r-s... well, you do whatever you have to do. And although I was frustrated by other mums who could only ever talk about their own little darlings, and swore black and blue I wouldn’t do it myself, I of course fell into that trap at times too. Everyone does with their first.