Welcome back to Meet the Parents, my weekly blog series where a blogger and parent shares their advice for first-time and expectant parents. This week we welcome Sarah, who blogs at Boo, Roo and Tigger too.
Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.
I’m Sarah, a mum of three based in Norfolk. I’m a Northerner at heart but made the move down south as a teenager with my parents. Having met my husband at 17 years old, I opted to stay in Norfolk when my parents moved back to our hometown.
My three children are Roo (10y), Tigger (6y) and Piglet (1y). Being a parent to three children isn’t as manic as I thought it would be, however, having them in three different age groups can be challenging at times.
What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?
Granny pants – The biggest pairs of full brief pants you can possibly get your hands on. I had caesarean sections with all my children so wasn’t able to have anything pressing against my scar. Plus post-baby bleeding is bad so you need something to hold maternity pads in place.
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?
With my first baby I developed pre-eclampsia and was kept in hospital for 24 hours before I went into active labour. During that time lots of tests and examinations were carried out. My advice would be that if you are unsure of why they are taking your blood pressure every 20 minutes, or your urine each time you go to the toilet – ask. Whether it be the doctors, midwives or the maternity assistants who are looking after you. You have the right to know why they are carrying out these tests and what the possible results can mean for you and your baby.
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?
Muslins – for some, these seem like completely useless items, however, I love them. They are so versatile and can be used for so much more than just catching milk dribbles. From an emergency nappy (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ran out) to fabulous backdrop for newborn photos, especially if you buy pretty patterned ones. In fact, my youngest two children use muslins as their comforters so it just goes to show how much I used them and love them.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?
At the time there was another colleague pregnant also with her first who kept talking about how wonderful motherhood was going to be and how much she was looking forward to it. I looked at her and wanted to feel the same way, when a community nurse I worked with at the time was always a very down to earth kind of person must have sensed my reservations. She turned to me one day and said ‘enter motherhood with realistic expectations, baby will cry a lot, it will sleep when it wants to sleep and will test every fibre of your patience. It is all worth it, however, you do have to grit your teeth and get on with it’.
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?
This is a difficult one. Everyone always offers many different pieces of advice but at the end of the day it is whatever works best for you and your baby. Breast or bottle, dummy or no dummy, co-sleeping or moses basket – to some either one will be bad advice for others it is how they manage.
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?
Adjusting to parenting is hard. It is something that will push you to your limits physically, mentally and emotionally. Just remember that you have got this. You can do this and that this phase will not last forever. Keeping a positive mindset when you are at your lowest will help you pick yourself back up and face another broken night’s sleep, vomiting session or poo explosion.
What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?
Sleep deprivation – as someone who likes their sleep, nothing can prepare you for the first days, weeks and possibly months of sleepless nights. I thought that the uncomfortable nights experienced in pregnancy were preparing me, however, they were just the warm up to the main event. I soon learned not to look at the clock when I was woken, to watch it as I attempted to get baby back to sleep or look at it one final time as I climbed back into bed. Even worse than this is the competition that forms between you and your partner about who had the less amount of sleep that night.
What’s the best thing about being a new parent?
There is that emotion of looking at the little baby in your arms and knowing that all they need in the world is you. Whilst this at times can feel overwhelming, there is something really quite special about it and as soon as they grow and start completing things on their own you feel somewhat redundant.