The Five Unexpected Challenges of a Newborn

You will be told of a lot of challenges after having a baby. They mainly revolve around sleep, crying & colic, wind, plus many others.┬áThere are some that just don’t seem to be mentioned as much though, if at all. Certainly these five challenges were rarely (if at all) discussed with myself and Clare.

1. Breastfeeding is Difficult!

Breastfeeding is difficult!
Breastfeeding is difficult!

We went to NCT. Did our own research. We saw images and watched videos. It all seemed fairly straightforward. The head butting baby crawling their way to the breast, latching on nice and easy and off we go.

Rubbish.

It can be incredibly difficult as I’ve highlighted in my post here. There are very few circumstances that I’ve heard of in which things have gone to plan, especially after a C-section due to the delay in milk coming in. This is evidence that it is a real challenge. There seems to be this image that breastfeeding is easy but it really isn’t and I thought it important to share this to give a realistic expectation. If it works easily for you then fantastic! If not, don’t worry as you’re not alone!

2. Personal Care and Hygiene

Remember to brush your teeth!
Remember to brush your teeth!

Your time will be spent looking after your baby. You will be sterilising everything, washing constantly, changing nappies, holding your baby, feeding your baby. Your time will be so busy when you first have a newborn you will find you let things slip for yourself. You’ll eat rubbish, sleep little, miss the odd shower, even sometimes forget to brush your teeth (eww!)! Don’t worry though, this will end as you get more used to things. It’s just a challenge at first to look after yourself and a baby.

3. The Permanence

Clare and I have been married for 11 years, and for that time it’s been me, her, Rocky and Charlie. We went out when we wanted, gone on holiday where and when we wanted, ate where we wanted. We’ve gone to the theatre when we wanted, see a film when we wanted, seen friends any time we wanted. We’ve gone out drinking when we desired, gone to bed and got up any time we wanted. Basically, we’ve had the life to do whatever we wanted.

Now things have changed. We can’t do any of the things in the list above without more consideration, without arranging a babysitter, even without us thinking about doing these things separately from each other. And that will never change. That permanence is something it takes a while to get used to, to accept that your life has changed forever. To be clear, it has changed forever for the better, absolutely for the better, but it takes a while to get used to that change and that challenge to your norm.

4. Lack of Time to Yourself

It's difficult to find time for yourself
It’s difficult to find time for yourself

If like us you’re about to have your first child one of the things it will take a while to adjust to is the lack of time you will not have to yourself. I started setting up my blog before N was born. I took a long time getting it set up and looking how I wanted it to.

Now however, having a newborn baby, you have very little time to yourself and finding time to do my blog is a real challenge. When you’re not feeding, cuddling, calming, changing or otherwise looking after your baby, plus going to work, you have little time left to yourself to do your hobbies. This is certainly quite the change from where we were previously in terms of having time to ourselves.

5. Seeing Friends

After you have had your baby you will see your friends when they come over to see the baby. Everyone loves to meet a new baby! The thing is, you really cut down your going out socialising after having a baby. Seeing your friends in the same way you did before is one of the real challenges to overcome, if not impossible to start with. I think this is largely to be expected when you have a new baby isn’t it?

It’s not forever though. We are starting to make plans now to go see people separately. It’s the first month or two when you will find you can’t be separated from your baby, but then you should be able to start making plans. The way we look at it is a baby should enhance your life, not replace it.

Summary

So, that’s my life of some of the unknown or unexpected challenges you’ll face when having your first or subsequent children. Hopefully being forewarned is forearmed!

What challenges have you faced that are not generally known or talked about? If you know anyone expecting a baby feel free to share this so they have some knowledge of these challenges.

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