Hilary Duff is smashing the whole mum thing. She’s got three beautiful little babies – 10-year-old Luca, 3-year-old Banks and 16-month-old Mae, and an Instagram feed of perfect pictures of them making family memories.
The How I Met Your Father actress has always been pretty open about her family life, sharing her frustration when Banks had colic, her strength when she gave birth to Mae in a home birth, and her embarrassment when Mae nearly screamed the airplane down on a recent trip.
Now she’s back to share a message to new mums that really hit home with us.
During a recent visit to The Kelly Clarkson Show, Kelly Clarkson asked Hilary Duff about dishing out parenting advice to her friends. Hilary’s been doing the whole ‘mum’ thang for over 10 years now but humbly admitted that she certainly doesn’t know it all (who does???).
However, she does have one tidbit of advice that we couldn’t agree with more.
The first two weeks
As Hilary explains,
Don’t get fooled by the first two weeks because you have an angel baby. They just haven’t woken up yet.
You have those friends who are like, ‘This baby is sleeping through the night,’” she continued. Just wait two weeks. They don’t know they’ve entered the world yet.”
If this isn’t the most accurate thing in parenting, I don’t know what is!
When the newborn baby bubble pops
With all three of my own children, I assumed I had hit the baby sleep jackpot. For the first two weeks, that is.
All of them almost slept on cue, waking up for feeds and then back to sleep. People would visit us in our newborn baby bliss bubble and comment on how “lucky” I was and I would sit there smugly and wonder what all the new mum fuss was about.
When my third baby was just 14 days old, I even stupidly booked us a mini trip away, assuming she’d be totally chilled out the whole time.
She had been sleeping really well for the first week. And this was clearly because I was the newborn baby guru who can easily wrangle three children, including a newborn, in a hotel for a weekend, two weeks postpartum.
Spoiler alert: I am NOT the newborn guru.
She, my third baby, was the hardest. When she woke up from her post-birth newborn baby bliss slumber around that two-week mark, she woke up the entire house. The entire street most likely.
I thought I had this whole ‘mum’ thing down pat, but she tested me like no other.
Like clockwork, on day 15, the same night we were in a hotel, something switched. What followed was weeks of an almost unexplainable state or zombie-like trance, full days missing from my memory. Filled with frustration and exhaustion, that baby bubble smugness quickly turned to intense sleep deprivation.
Countless hours cuddling, rocking, feeding, burping, bouncing, holding, pacing the house with her in my arms, wondering what the hell is upsetting her?
Two weeks ago she slept four hours at a time. Now she won’t sleep for 40 minutes, not even in my arms.
What changed? What happened? Where did I do wrong?
She just hadn’t fully woken up yet. She hadn’t realised that this was her new life. It was a bit cold and weird and she was always hungry and her tummy hurt. At two weeks old she realised that she could do something about it – she could cry. And fuss.
At two weeks old, newborns discover a very important fact about life – that we are their constant comfort and that being away from us is scary and overwhelming. They need us. Constantly. Just to hold them, to keep them warm, to help them overcome tummy pain, and then to feed them again once the tummy pain subsides.
To gently rock them and remind them that this strange new world has one familiar thing in it – us.
It won’t be like this forever. Your little one will get used to this new world. The newborn baby bliss bubble may pop around the two-week mark, but what awaits – the chaos and the cuddles – is well worth it.
Just be sure not to book any holidays during this time…
What to read next
- My Baby is Turning One and I’m Just Not Ready
- What I Wish I’d Known When my Children Were Still Newborns
- The First Six Weeks: This Beautiful Letter is a Must Read for All Newborn Parents