We have a feature that tells you about the ten things you need to know about motherhood and it’s epic. Not only does Heidi point out that the piles of laundry could be at the very least scooped up by a helpful friend rather than mockingly used in a list of motherhood failings, she also puts to rest that “sleep when the baby sleeps” myth. Whoever made that one up didn’t live in the 21st century that much is for sure. So, to keep on with the positive, the fun and the fabulous here are 9 things you didn’t know about your baby (maybe).
1. They won’t win a beauty contest
Very rarely do babies look like the chubby gems that populate adverts shortly after they’ve been whipped from the birth canal. Sometimes, with a caesarean they can look slightly less squashed and wrinkly, but most often they look funny and that’s OK.
2. You will name their poop
We went on holiday to Scotland when my daughter was six months old and while we toured the distilleries she managed to make some startling bowel movements. The Dalwhinnie – lots of noise and screwed up facial expressions but nothing in the nappy. The Glemorangie – that poop that manages to get out the nappy and down the legs and up to the neck where your only hope is to just throw everything (except the baby) away.
3. Bonding isn’t on a timer
Honestly, another person who should be shot at dawn with muskets filled with baby poop is the person who slapped a ton of pressure onto an exhausted and hormone-riddled new mum by saying that they “should” bond with their baby. There is no “should” there is “all things in their own time”. Don’t put needless pressure on yourself to look like that freshly washed mum from an advert. They only exist when they are surrounded by a bevy of nannies and a make-up artist.
4. You’re not sure if they know you exist
You’re tired and you are a bit worried about your mind as you pull your stockings from the fridge and the butter from the laundry basket so you are a bit put out that so far your small human has done nothing but pull faces when they poo. No smiles or eye sparkles in sight. Don’t worry, at around six weeks old they will beam at you and it will all be worth it.
5. Their head pulsates
OK, look, there are a lot of things about parenthood that are faintly terrifying but the whole Soft Spot and it’s tenderness and the fact that it may throb is very unnerving. Don’t stress. The pulsating is due to the blood vessels clustered in that area and is entirely normal. It is still very delicate, though, so handle with extreme care.
6. Your days will somehow disappear
Babies and their sleep schedules are the stuff of legend and you will get wrapped up in trying to adjust and get the whole motherhood thing figured out. That’s ok. Allow for the fact that this new life is a time consuming project and treasure every second. They DO grow up so fast and one day you will look back and miss these days of baby cuddles and sleepless nights.
7. Nobody knows how to swaddle
Well, nobody who hasn’t studied videos and practised on their daughter’s Baby Bjorn anyway. Swaddling takes a certain amount of skill so you don’t do it too tightly or too loosely and the baby doesn’t fall out the bottom. Watch videos and practise on your daughter’s Baby Bjorn (or someone elses).
8. Babies have an innate sense of right and wrong
FACT! There was research done by people at Yale that plonked babies from six to eight months in front of a variety of movies that depicted levels of good and bad. Most of the babies chose the shape that was being good over the one that was being bad. They also uncovered in more research that babies have an innate sense of justice. There you go, your baby already has a moral compass. Go you!
9. The palmar grasp
There are people who have actually demonstrated the strength of a baby’s grip which is, apparently, strong enough to hang them from mid-air like a primate. I don’t recommend doing this ever, but some people have and their babies have swung away without falling. Now that is strong.