Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be yet another list of overpriced gadgets and gizmos you ‘need’ to raise a child.
In fact, the things on this list won’t cost you a penny.
What they will do is save your sanity, propel you to parenting pro status and make you the envy of all the other parents at baby group.
These are the things you won’t find listed on most baby shower gift registers, but they’re the things all new parents need to have.
The little things that make a huge difference in a day of parenthood!
Here are 10 real life things you need if you have a newborn baby… with a pinch of humour on the side:
#1: Night Feed Friends
As you try to adjust to your new life as a vampire, desperately trying to stay awake until dawn while your baby enjoy yet another all-nighter, you’ll need some night feed friends. These are the friends who know exactly what you’re going through because they’re going through it to. They’re usually awake in the middle of the night thanks to their own little bundles of joy.
When nothing else seems able to keep you awake, these guys will. They’re your night feed buddies, and you couldn’t get through the night without their constant stream of messages.
#2: A Discrete Postman
Your postman is definitely going to see your boobs. It’s a parenting rite of passage. Either you’ll forget to put your boob away after a feed (easily done) and answer the door with it right there, or your baby will yank it out for you as you thank the postman for delivering a parcel.
You don’t even need to be breastfeeding, the involuntary postman flash can happen to formula feeding mamas too. Sometimes you are just too tired to know where all of your breasts are. So what if one happens to be out of your top? How are you meant to know that when you have had no sleep? Luckily for you, the average postman sees approximately 3.8 breasts a day (probably) so he’ll be discrete about it.
#3: A Polite Smile
With a baby by your side, you won’t be able to leave the house without getting accosted by well-meaning elderly baby fanatics. They just love babies, and they want to come and share some parenting wisdom.
Of course, parenting has changed a lot in the last 70 years, so don’t expect much of their advice to be useful. They might tell you to put brandy on a pacifier, use a window cage to air your baby or get your baby’s name down on the list for the local workhouse as soon as possible. Cue your polite smile face. Add in some gentle nodding for extra points. Nod and smile, nod and smile, it’ll be over soon.
#4: Nerves Of Steel
There is no greater challenge in life than that of cutting your baby’s nails. Look how tiny they are! And so fragile. And, you know, they’re attached to the little human you spent nine months growing inside your tummy. Oh, and if you mess this up, there will be some serious tears. Here’s the terrifying nail cutter, good luck.
#5: A Massive Bladder
Never mind the fact that your bladder just took nine months’ worth of abuse in the forms of fetal acrobatics. And you’ll need to ignore the fact that your pelvic floor has probably seen better days, because despite the fact that you spend most of your day tending to your baby’s bathroom habits, there will be no bathroom breaks for you.
If you so much as think about needing to pee, your baby will immediately start crying and need you. And good luck leaving the house — how are you supposed to fit a pram into a toilet cubicle?! You’ll spend your days waiting for company just so you can have a wee in peace. Oh, and if you’re breastfeeding you’ll probably be drinking more than usual so, erm, good luck with all of that.
#6: A Taste For Cold Drinks
Your much-needed morning coffee will probably spend its entire life being reheated in the microwave. Even after the third reheat, you won’t manage to drink it. Instead you’ll discover it the next morning, cold and alone in the microwave where you left it the day before.
Reheating that coffee is as pointless as making a new one, you never get to drink it anyway. The key is to develop a love for cold coffee, then you’ll never have to skip a caffeine dose again.
#7: A Love For The Mundane
The newborn days can be pretty monotonous, and the sooner you accept that, the happier you’ll be. You’ll spend your days running up and down stairs, changing nappies, feeding your baby and generally trying not to fall asleep. Your baby will poop as soon as you put a clean nappy on her, forcing you to rush back upstairs and go through the whole debacle again. She will wake up every time you put her down, forcing you to soothe her to sleep yet again. And she’ll decide she’s hungry as soon as you’ve finished feeding her. Embrace the repetition.
#8: A Sharing Personality
Remember before you had a baby, how you kept yourself to yourself? Yeah, those days are long gone. Having a baby is like a beacon announcing that everyone in the nearby area should feel free to ask you as many personal questions as they like. Your friends, colleagues and complete strangers will all of a sudden start asking you things your closest friends may not even know. How long were you trying for? Did you poop during the birth? Does sex feel different now? Yikes.
#9: A Muscly Arm
Don’t worry if you don’t have one of these yet, you soon will. You can always spot parents of young children because they have one very muscly arm. Only one though, of course, which looks great. You’ll spend all day carrying your tiny newborn around and, before you notice it, she’ll be celebrating her second birthday and your arm will be giving Madonna a run for her money. Your other arm will not have developed any muscle, in fact it’ll have lost muscle thanks to your new mama diet, consisting of biscuits and of course, lukewarm coffee.
#10: A Crap Filter
As soon as you become a parent, you’ll start getting advice from everyone you meet. You’ll also be searching for information online a lot. These two things mean you’re going to encounter a lot of crap. You’ll need a filter in place to prevent the crap from getting through. Listen only to the good advice, seek support from people you trust and don’t trust anyone who adds the phrase ‘never did me any harm’ onto the end of their advice.
The irony is you'll go through periods where you absolutely love everything about having a newborn. Especially when she's sleeping, looking like an adorable angel, and you'll have an irrisitable urge to pick her up and give her a big snuggle… before accidentally waking her up. And once your baby isn't so little any more, you'll definitely be left with many fond memories of your life as a mother of a tiny, sweet-smelling newborn.
Recommended Reading: Check out BellyBelly’s article, 10 Things I Don’t Have Time For As A Mother.