Once upon a time I gave birth to my first daughter. She was born a healthy 7 pounds 14 ounces. The labour and delivery process was long, and painfully exhausting. From that moment, I was no longer responsible for only myself.
From that moment, I became responsible for this precious human being who I carried inside me for nine long months. I became a parent. And parenting is a whole new ball game. Parenting takes you to emotional places that you never imagined you could ever feel. You feel a love like no other, and can stare at this human being that you created, for hours upon their arrival, in awe. I cant believe she’s ours, are words that my husband and I would say while gazing at our precious daughter.
I would love to turn back the hands of time and lay in that hospital bed gazing at our first born child. Although most new parents believe the newborn stage is the hardest, after raising three girls, I can attest that the newborn stage, in my opinion, is the easiest. Although I was sleep deprived, terrified, a little bit overwhelmed and even insecure with my new parenting role – lying with my baby and snuggling in our pyjamas, are days that I now long for.
The newborn days were the simple days, and if you are a first time parent with a newborn, you probably think I’m crazy. Here are 10 advantages of parenting a newborn, that I did not consider with my first baby.
When your child is a newborn, the good old breast or bottle will do just fine. They chug-a-lug away, and then fall into a sleep coma, otherwise known as being milk drunk. When your newborn begins solids, it’s messy, their bowel movements begin to smell like rotten garbage, and the drop-the-food-off-the-high-chair-onto-the-floor begins.
When your child is in the toddler/preschool stage all you want is a “good eater” that won’t complain about the food that you provide, and sit still at the table while eating. When they are even older, you wonder where all the food goes, because you swear you were just at the grocery store the day before. Oh, and your children need breakfast, lunch and dinner EVERY SINGLE DAY, which means grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning the mess.
Yes, a newborn baby is content with any outfit that you put on them. You can put your girls in giant flower headbands, or your boys in little suspenders and bow ties. But… soon will come the days when they can pull things off of their heads, and they would rather run around the house naked then in their clothes. During the toddler/preschool stage rubber boots are the go to shoe for EVERY outfit, even shorts or a summer dress.
And a father’s worst nightmare… the days when their daughters want to wear short shorts, because all of their friends wear them. Clothes also become more expensive as your child grows. So enjoy, the cute newborn outfit stage while you can and take lots of pictures.
Newborns love sleep. They sleep so much, that you don’t even have to try and put them down for a nap. They just nap! The advice that you get about sleeping when the baby sleeps is so hard to listen to. I hate to break it to you, but it’s the easiest time to do it. Heck, you can even stay in your pyjamas and nap every time the baby naps.
If I could go back in time, I would nap more, because as soon as your toddler/preschooler begins fighting those naps, that is when you will need a nap. If you have multiple children and can’t take a nap because the older child no longer naps, you will be challenged and exhausted.
You can take your newborn just about anywhere (well, maybe not a night club). You carry them around in their car seat while they sleep, attach it to the stroller and go! You can go for a long walk outside, or go to the mall, and you will not hear one complaint about the destination. “Are we there yet?” or “can I get ice cream” are non-existent.
Your newborn won’t have melt downs in public, and you don’t have to constantly worry about losing your child either, because they are snug as a bug in the baby carrier or stroller.
Diapers are expensive. You can’t wait for the days that you won’t have to buy them anymore, and wipe their dirty poop bums. However, diapers are so convenient when you are out! They are super absorbent, so you can go a few hours without a diaper change.
On the other hand, toddlers, preschoolers, and even older children can not hold their pee in for a few hours. You have to urgently rush them to a public washroom, while they do the pee dance, because they love to wait until the very last minute to tell you that they are going to pee their pants, and sometimes they don’t make it to the washroom in time.
As soon as your child starts becoming mobile, get ready for baby proofing, and more baby proofing. They love anything that they aren’t supposed to touch. They love touching electrical outlets, and basically pulling on anything that has a wire. They also love the baby gate at the staircase. Once they are able to lift themselves up, they will stand at it, and maybe even give it a shake or two.
When they get the hang of walking, running becomes their gross motor ability of choice, especially in the house. This is when the chasing begins. They no longer sit in the stroller for hours, but would rather get out and run around. So, keep this in mind with your newborn when he/she is sleeping in the stroller.
The beauty of having a newborn is that when you are off on your maternity leave, you create your own schedule. Yes, getting out of the house takes longer because you now have a baby bag, stroller, etc. However, before you know it, your newborn will go to childcare or preschool and perhaps you will be back at work.
Gone are the days of hanging out in your pyjamas and your own schedule. Now are the days of lunch packing, getting yourself, and your child ready and having to get out of the house at a certain time. When you need to be somewhere at a certain time, this is when your child is probably going through their independent stage and has to put on everything themselves. This is ultimately when you become a human clock, constantly reminding your child of the time (because they have no concept of time) and this when the sense of urgency and the morning rush begins, (unless you have someone taking care of your child at your house).
You don’t have to deal with helping with homework, reading newsletters and staying updated with all of their leisure activities. And the biggest concern of all, worrying about whether or not they are making friends, nope you do not have to worry about that quite yet.
As soon as your newborn starts making sounds, you become so amazed and engaged in their cute giggles and screams and anticipate the day they say your name. When you first hear the words, “mama” or “dada” your heart melts and you can’t wait for their next words. However, when they do officially start talking more in the toddler years, “no” sometimes becomes the word of the day, EVERY DAY.
You have to start spelling out swear words with your partner, and watch adult movies when the kids aren’t around. You begin to want them to go back to their newborn days of cooing and cawing, especially when you hear, “mom, mommy, mom, mama, mommmmmy, mom, mama, moooooom ALL. DAY. LONG.
Oh, and they also tend to ask “why” about everything like you are some sort of rocket scientist.
Oh the good old friends and family members that don’t have kids yet, invite you and your newborn over and you don’t think twice about it. Fast forward to the toddler/preschool years and you’ll probably think again. You will worry that they will jump on their sofa, get crumbs everywhere, run all over the place and spill or break something. And the reality is that they just might. And you can count on being judged by these friends and family members, because that’s just what some people without kids do. You probably won’t see these kid-less friends as much as you start seeing your friends with kids.
The days of eating with my husband in a restaurant that isn’t child friendly are long gone, (unless we schedule a date night). However, when our first daughter was a newborn, we ate out all the time. She would sleep in her stroller or car seat the entire time. We had engaging conversations, without forks clanging on plates, toddlers running around and a table that looks like hungry stray dogs attacked it.
If you are a new parent and are feeling a little bit overwhelmed with the challenges that you are facing with your new role parenting your newborn, remember that every new parent has felt that way. Each age and stage has its advantages and disadvantages. Often times, parents are in a rush to see their children get to their next developmental stage. We tend to get caught up in our children’s future. We can’t wait to feed them solids, see them walk, hear them talk, potty train them and take them to school. We believe that when they do these things, parenting will be “easier.”
In ways, your child’s new independence does make parenting easier. However, before you know it, your child will hit all of these milestones and, like me, you will look back and wonder, how did time go by so fast? And you will miss the simple days of snuggling with your newborn (even if your newborn was a huge challenge, and you didn’t get a wink of sleep) because as time passes you forget the challenges, and reminisce about how tiny and precious they once were.
Feature Image: New born baby via Shutterstock