You’re never fully prepared for life with a newborn nor are you prepared for the curiosity of others. Well-meaning or plain nosey, here are some questions I’ve been asked this past month. You might recognise some; no doubt you’ve been asked them too. They appear to be the standard post-labour conversations for new mums!
1. Is she good?
What does this even mean? I presume you mean does she cry. Yes. Does that mean she’s not good? It’s the only way she can communicate so I’ll go with the short answer “Awww, yes she’s good”. Is she staying out late at night, smoking and drinking on street corners? No. But does she wake us up every 3 hours in the night? Yes. Has she made us 40 minutes late after projectile vomit and two outfit changes. Yes. But does that make her bad? Hmmm. Or is she merely a 4 week old baby?
2. How was the labour?
This question is fine if you’re about ‘sharing is caring’. And fine if you’re comfortable relaying the details to the person asking. Random strangers? You might want to think twice. Although some people are happy to divulge their life story to you. To be honest, at times, I’ve been grateful to hear people’s labour stories – to know that other mum’s didn’t just push for 10mins and skip out out of the labour ward with their bundle of joy; it makes me feel more normal…whatever that means. You then feel compelled to share your own story in return – even if you didn’t want to!
3. Do you sleep when she sleeps?
I am yet to find a single woman who actually does this. If you do, please enlighten me because I could be missing out on something valuable here. So far, when Mini Lass sleeps, I am carrying out other duties such as washing bottles, filling the steriliser, washing her clothes/our clothes, having a shower, having a wee. You know, all the necessary daily jobs. “Jobs can wait you know” so I’ve been told. Yes, I know. That’s why you could write your name in the TV stand dust and why I have no other hairstyle apart from The Messy Bun. I’ve yet to finish a full cup of tea so I think an afternoon nap is a long way off…
4. Are you bottle feeding or breastfeeding?
Erm, what’s it got to do with you? As it happens, I’m bottle feeding Mini Lass but that does not make me anti-breastfeeding. It’s each to their own isn’t it? Nobody forced the ‘breast is best’ message onto me but I was clear with Midwife from the off that I’d decided on bottle. The reason? Well, Lad and I wanted to share the feeds and the share the bonding – I don’t think the fact that I haven’t breastfed makes our bonding any less authentic. From a practical point of view, we know exactly how much milk she is taking and can roughly guess how long she’ll sleep before she’s ready for another feed. I am a bit sad that the bust didn’t benefit from some natural enhancement but hey, you win some you lose some.
5. How often does she sleep?
It varies. Why? Because she’s 4 weeks old! And doesn’t know what day it is yet. She sleeps roughly 2-4 hours. I don’t know if that’s good or bad and who’s to say? If she goes 2 hours in the night you feel like you’ve slept for 5 minutes. If she goes 4 hours, you feel like celebrating! There’s no set routine. If your one month old has or had a sleep pattern as a newborn then that’s amazing – Please let me know how you did it!
Last night Me, Lad & Mini Lass went for a walk and stopped for a chippy tea on the way home. Who wants to cook? The woman behind the counter was oooing and arrrrring which was nice until she bombarded Lad with accusations disguised as questions. “Have you changed a nappy yet?” Yes. “Have you done a night feed yet?” Yes. Just wrap the cod and chips please and stop the questions. Instead we smiled and did the obligatory laugh before whispering how cheeky she was when we got outside. I was amazed how a complete stranger would give us the third degree.
How about people start asking us new parents some other questions like –
- Do you want another biscuit?
- Shall I carry that for you?
- Do you want some wine/gin/prosecco?
Yeh, you can ask as many of these questions as you like …