Until I had one of my own, I hadn’t really come into contact with many babies, newborn or otherwise. You go to antenatal classes, which are very useful for learning about birth, breastfeeding and general baby care. But there are lots of things you don’t find out until you’ve got your baby in front of you….
- They make funny noises. Yes, we all know they cry, but they make lots of other noises too, many of which are quite disconcerting and make you wonder whether you’ve broken your baby. At first just strange grunting and snuffling, but later it progresses to cooing and giggling to themselves too. Sometimes randomly in the middle of the night!
- Their clothing needs are very complicated. They shouldn’t be too hot, or too cold. You should layer their clothing, and they should wear one more layer than you do. Bodysuits and vests and baby gros and sleepsuits, as well as normal clothes like dresses and trousers and socks. And nobody explains to you how to dress them.
- They sleep a lot. Sometimes instantly. One minute they’re making funny noises and either being a bit grumpy or a bit chatty, the next they’ve closed their eyes and are snoring away with their arms up and hands behind their head. They have an amazing capacity for sleep – just not always when you need them to do it!
- They’re easily entertained. Once they are a few months old, you could spend half an hour just smiling or giggling at them, and they’ll smile or giggle back. Likewise around that time they are fascinated by everything – shadows, textures on walls, patterns, shiny things, new people.
- They grow so fast! I had heard people say this, but it’s true! I was at a post-natal coffee meetup yesterday, and there were 5 newborn babies, the youngest was 2.5 weeks old and so small. My friends and I with our lively 4 month old babies gazed at these tiny sleepy ones, reminiscing about when ours were that small.
The tiny hand of a tiny human….