Things I didn’t expect – the first 9 weeks

Things I didn’t expect – the first 9 weeks

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Sprout is 9 weeks old now. She is absolutely lovely, and we adore her. She’s also a surprising little being. Even though she’s a relatively easy baby (which is to say that her pattern of needs happens to fit in well with what we can supply) it’s been a demanding few weeks, and I haven’t had much time to type with two hands. As she’s asleep on my lap unsupported, here are 9 things I didn’t expect about these early days of parenting.

1. That newborn sleep deprivation would be better than being pregnant
I feel so, so much better now I’ve had my baby. I had a straightforward pregnancy and was still run down and exhausted by the end of it. Being able to move freely and breathe deeply is bloody brilliant.

2. Baby acne
Baby’s skin is soft, right? I mean, it’s famously soft. Until they get baby acne and are suddenly the texture of corderoy.

3. That we’d have to wake her up to feed
Turns out a lot of the received wisdom, like never wake a sleeping baby doesn’t apply to newborns: they should be fed (and therefore woken) every 2-3 hours, 4 at the outside, to avoid dehydration. If they get dehydrated, they get sleepier, a vicious cycle.

4. That her cousins would adore her
I didn’t think a newborn would be that interesting to little children, but they are fascinated by her, love her and treat her so carefully. They are brilliant.

5. How much fun we’d have
Life has certainly changed dramatically, but as K and I are both off work we have time to enjoy Sprout, and to go out in the world and enjoy that, too. I didn’t think I’d say this, but these first few weeks have been fun. It’s a somewhat hazy fun, like watching the sun rise after staying up all night talking with friends, but it is fun. She’s fun to play with and lovely to snuggle, and it’s definitely easier to meet people when you have a baby.

6. That newborns don’t blink
It’s true. She still doesn’t.

7. That planes would be easier than cars
Can’t do much to soothe a baby trapped in a car seat but on a plane you can feed, change, walk, bounce…

8. That she wouldn’t cry tears
Another developmental stage that seems weirdly out of order.

9. That she would grow so quickly
Sprout is already 1.5kg over her birth weight. She has gone from a sleepy newborn, as impossible to uncurl as a slinky, to a solid baby with long legs, a bright smile that takes over her whole face and fixed (although unfortunately impenetrable) expectations of what constitutes acceptable entertainment.

It’s soppy to say it, and I’ll probably look back at this stage in a few weeks or months and think ‘she was still so tiny! practically a newborn!’ and she is, but I can already see clear differences. She’s growing up, and we’re starting to see, in a blurry way, the person she is and will be.

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