When you announce your pregnancy, you open up a whole new world of cliches about being a mum and raising a bub. Some of them are true. Most of them are not.
So let’s bust the hell out of these new parent myths that can make us mums feel like we are doing everything wrong.
After all, just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true!
Myth #1 : You won't be able to get enough of that new baby smell
Yes, after you wash baby and douche him with powder or oils, he smells about as amazing as it gets.
But after a poop or a feed (in which half of it is regurgitated up all over him), he isn’t quite as tasty smelling. I don’t recommend sniffing him after a big spew either.
Myth # 2: You will instantly love your new baby
The bond between a newborn and a new mum can be instant. The moment you look at your squishy new baby, you may feel like your world is complete.
But not always. Sometimes the pain of labour, the panic of having to take care of a newborn and the realisation of what has happened takes over. It can take days, sometimes weeks, to find that connection with your baby.
If you are struggling to connect to your newborn, please, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. This is actually quite a common thing and doesn’t make you a bad mum. There are ways to push past the panic and build an everlasting bond.
Myth 3: The days will fly by
Some days will. Other days will drag on forever and ever and ever. The truth is that being a brand new mum can be a bit lonely and tedious, especially if your partner works long hours. Some days you may find that it’s 5pm and you haven’t even had a chance to shower yet.
Other days it might feel like the clock has stopped completely.
And, to add to the mix, some days may never end at all, simply blending from day to night, back to day, before you even have a chance to shut your eyes. Those days are always fun…
Myth 4: You learn to function on no sleep
This brings us to the next myth – that you learn how to function normally on no sleep. Sorry, but no, you won’t. It’s not physically possible.
You may learn how to function at some level of normality, but lack of sleep is always going to make you slightly disoriented, slightly edgy, slightly grumpy and slightly exhausted. Oh, and probably slightly crazy too.
This is the mum zombie state. It can last anywhere from a few days to 18 years.
Myth 5: You can sleep when baby sleeps
If by “sleep” you mean, close your eyes for five minutes before bub wakes up again, then, yes, yes you can sleep when baby sleeps.
Myth #6: Breastfeeding will come naturally
Breastfeeding is natural. But it doesn’t always come naturally. The truth is it bloody hurts (not for all women, but for some women). The nipple tugs, the engorgement, the raw sucking sensation – it’s not the easiest thing to get used to, even if you have nips of steel.
But it does get easier once you, bub, and your breasts figure out the whole suck, supply, demand thing. And there are products, such as Lansinoh and nipple shields, that can help in the meantime. Stock up on cabbage leaves too – they are lifesavers when your milk first comes in!
The first few weeks with a newborn can be difficult. While you are probably running on adrenaline and soaking up the newborn snuggles, you are likely also slightly overwhelmed and beyond exhausted. For more tips on new mummyhood, have a look at our real mum’s guide to surviving the first three months with a newborn.