5 Reasons Being A New Parent Sucks

I am now into my ninth week as a first time parent.  The experience has been a shock, a rude awakening, and no amount of advice before hand really prepared me for the experience.  Having twins has exacerbated things somewhat.  The positives far outweigh the negatives but it has been far from smooth sailing.

So, I have constructed a list of the 5 things I think are the worst facets of being a new parent.  The list is a vent and a very personal list.  The items that populate it may not be the same as what other first time parents would nominate.  However, I hope expectant parents find this article useful in some small way.

1.  Lack of sleep - The 1.5- 2 hour sleep sessions

Newborns have tiny stomachs and so they can’t hold much food.  This means they have to be fed every three hours.  Day and Night.  Feeding your newborn baby like this is an endless cycle that lasts for months.  The lack of sleep you have to endure can ,and does, break many people.  In fact, the symptoms of sleep deprivation are almost identical to that of depression.  Get sleep when you can and make use of whatever support base of friends and family you have to catch up on some shuteye. 

2.  Wind, Colic, Reflux Etc

Often occurring in the late afternoon and into the evenings babies often get trapped air in their stomach.  This can be from crying, bottle feeding, breast feeding or just from the daily grind of being a baby.  This ‘wind’ is painful for babies and makes them cry.  Sometimes no amount of soothing can help and you can only wait it out.  The incessant crying this trapped air causes means your baby isn't sleeping which means neither are you.  When your sleep only comes in 1.5 - 2 hour increments ‘wind’ is a terrible thing for both you and your baby.  I have invented the most peculiar burping techniques to try and rid my babies of wind with, sadly, only mixed results.  I continue to try almost anything to avoid it.  Recently I have read that 'tummy time' helps.

3.  Breastfeeding Stress

Newborns don’t know how to breastfeed.  I repeat, newborns don’t know how to breastfeed.  Breastfeeding is not initially a natural act and must be learned by the baby.  And this learning process can take weeks especially if your baby is a bit premature.  The mountain of pamphlets and videos new mothers are subjected to in hospital that describe breastfeeding ‘techniques’ gloss over this fact.  Being shown breastfeeding videos at the hospital of a 3 month old baby instantly attaching to the breast doesn’t help either.  This pressure to instantly breastfeed causes new Mothers and Fathers a lot of unnecessary stress.  Give your baby time to learn what will in time be a wonderful experience.  Just don't expect instant results.

4.  Sick Ups

Babies have an undeveloped stomach valve/sphincter.  This means they WILL vomit up some food for many of their meals.  This is NORMAL.  As long as your baby is putting on weight try not to worry about it.  Worry instead about your wardrobe full of milk stained clothes.  If your baby gets an opportunity to spew on your freshly laundered shirt/dress … they will.  So, minimising the damage becomes a high priority.  Learning an array of burping techniques and stocking up of wiping clothes with help a little. 

5.  Travel Trials

Be prepared to become a packhorse.  Leaving the house will be an expedition.  If you take your baby anywhere you will need a myriad of supplies.  Just to make a quick trip with the family down to your local shopping centre and back takes planning.  Time constraints play a role too because the timing of their next feed will always be in the back of your mind.

These five factors have made my daily life less than pleasant lately but the first three cause major havoc unless you have some sort of support.