The last nine months have been the steepest learning curve I’ve ever experienced. I feel like a completely different person who can never go back to having that pre-baby carefree attitude. I’ve experienced child-birth.
OK so maybe this is all a bit melodramatic, but I do feel like an expert in areas that this time last year, I was utterly clueless. Here are the top five things I’ve learned:
- As long as you’re near a John Lewis, everything will be fine. Before becoming a mum, I only went into John Lewis if I needed to buy some sewing thread to mend something (or, er, get my mum to mend something). That’s where grannies shopped, right? But now, it’s a safehaven. Their baby changing facilities, feeding rooms and restaurant are large, clean and well thought -out. They’re truly second-to-none. When my baby was very small, there was something reassuring about shopping near a John Lewis, knowing that come nappy change and feed time, I could pop in and it would all be stress-free.
- Grown-ups will never understand In The Night Garden. And that’s a good thing. Because if we did, surely that would put us on a par with babies and toddlers in the brain department. There’s no point in agonising over how the Ninky Nonk is so small as it whizzes through the trees, yet Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and co can all fit inside it. Just enjoy the effect it has on your child. (In my case, it’s huge grins, clapping and squealing.)
- Never say to another mum ‘Aww your baby’s so small!’ I learnt this the hard way – by saying it to a couple of mums in coffee shops/changing areas, and witnessing their faces drop as they muttered something defensive. I always thought small babies were cute, but no, saying a baby is small is actually secret code for ‘Hmm. You haven’t done very well getting him up from his birth weight, have you? Are you just not trying hard enough? What percentile is he on? The tenth?’ (Who knew?)
- If you look in the right places, you’ll find creative, talented people who make beautiful products for babies. One of my favourite things I’ve bought this year is a Memory Bunny. Made by Handmade by Laura, the bunny is created from your baby’s old sleepsuits – the ones you felt emotional over, when packing them away. Laura now makes elephants, bears and monkeys too, from £19.50. I’ve also just ordered a gorgeous handmade name plaque from Tiddly Pom for £20.
- Embrace anything that makes life easier. Whether it’s Huggies Pure wipes (sod cotton wool and water – like that’s going to deal with meconium), Ella’s Kitchen Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Apple & Blueberries (don’t feel guilty – wouldn’t you rather spend time playing with your baby, than steaming and pureeing fruit every day?) or a Snoozeshade (brilliant invention), it’s all good.