But it starts getting really tough really quickly. Both getting up a dozen or so times every night to feed our wide-eyed (not yet so charming) little troll. As a warning to those who are expecting, there isn’t really anything in life that will prepare you for these first few weeks, especially if your little guy or gal has trouble with breastfeeding (ours had ‘tongue-tie’ which wasn’t diagnosed until we insisted the midwives double checked). We discovered pushy and paranoid parenting fueled by grumpy sleep deprivation was essential to helping your baby...
As during labour, dad’s feel a little helpless during this time, since all you can do is run around mum trying to help her get to grips with feeding this new little creature (and of course change his nappy). Mum of course has it way tougher, with constant pressure on her from others to be super-mum whilst not passing out from exhaustion and painful boobs.
But it all changes the moment he stops giving you a creepy grimace from trapped wind, and gives you a real smile. He does love you after all, and you’re not just a hairy nappy changing facility to assist boob-lady. You notice shortly after that he extends the same expression of love to his cuddly toy robot with a face on… so you’re still just the hairy nappy changer, but now with a face. But it’s a step that changes everything. By this time your body expects less, lower quality, and more erratic sleep.
We also, despite lots of unhelpful pressure from healthcare professionals to avoid the evil bottle at all cost, had started to mix breast with some bottle feeding by this time. This was the best decision we’ve made so far with him. He immediately started eating better, and we could both bond properly with him (him looking into our eyes whilst feeding, rather than being squished with much complaint into a boob). This just stresses how important it is for every family to make the best feeding choices for them, and not feel pressured by what others think is best.
In those early days, he would also save up his poo for the most inconvenient times (yes, no early parent story is complete without a mention of poo). After several days of nothing, we would be out with him and suddenly, the explosion would come. Once, several days of saved up poo made an appearance a few seconds before he was about to have his tongue-tie operation, which he was clearly not keen on… (tactical little genius, this bought him another 30 minutes at least). For a first-time exhausted parent, this was a bit of a shock, since he was keen not to make the nappy and clothes changing process easy. Sparing you the details, let’s just say it got messy enough for him to go into the sink. But you get on top of (or use to) these things.
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots