Will my baby choke on a sheepskin rug? How can I make my baby trump? How do I know when my breasts have been drained of milk? Questions I never thought I would ask Google and, worryingly, these are just some of the more rational ones.
My husband and I had anticipated the day of bringing home baby, but nothing can prepare you for the moment you walk through the door with your tiny one – approximately the size of a Chihuahua – bundled up in her car seat. Here are some of the hurdles you may have to jump in those wonderful, albeit precarious, first seven days…
Beware, Google can be more of a fiend than a friend. After one harmless spit-up, my fingers frantically began to type into the Google search bar. Bad idea. Around every digital corner we discovered a terrifying, life-threatening, one-in-a-million disease that could be the reason behind it, never once considering that every baby spits up a gazillion times a day. Trust your instincts, not the internet.
I guarantee you will make one, if not several, panicked trips to the baby clinic/hospital in the first few weeks, only to be turned away by reassuringly smiling midwives. One evening we turned ourselves away from the hospital waiting room as we looked down at our peachy cherub kicking her legs in the air like she just didn’t care. After sheepishly creeping out of the hospital and avoiding eye contact with the receptionist, we wondered whether it should be us being admitted to hospital for parental hypochondria.
News flash: babies cry. They sometimes cry so hard their faces turn maroon. It could be anything from a tiny air bubble in her tummy to a wet nappy, or just because. You will cuddle, rock, sway, do a funny dance, perform some baby yoga – whatever it takes to turn that frown upside down.
At some point during the first 48 hours at home your brand-new little insomniac will pull an all-nighter. And the only place she will want to be is plugged to your chest, listening to your heartbeat. You will be so exhausted that you will lie upright on the couch, while your poor husband will sit diligently watching on while you both sleep into the wee hours. Now that’s what they call team work.
Sleep when the baby sleeps, they say? Who are they kidding? Once you’ve finally got your little mite swaddled in her basket and on her way to Snoozetown, you will be heading in the other direction – Crazytown – as you check not once, not twice, but 19 times to see if she’s still breathing in the first five minutes, setting the tone for the rest of your night ahead. Did someone say espresso?
You wonder when this heady mix of worry, anxiety and fear will end. And the more experienced mother will inform you: never. Apparently I will still check if my daughter is breathing in the middle of the night 18 years later. Now it’s time for me to breathe.