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What is it like having a newborn/baby?
Really? The good and the bad!

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#1 julia*v

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

I originally joined EB years ago when my DH wanted us to think about having kids. I wasn't ready. I asked some questions on here and the answers confirmed that I wasn't.

To be honest, I still don't think I am. It might sound selfish, but I like our life. I like our Sunday morning routine of a sleep in, lazy breakfast outside with the papers... visiting restaurants and new bars, travelling often enough...and not stressing too much about money.

In my head, if we had a baby, there are so many negatives... the thoughts that run through my head are: we won't have enough sleep, we'll never have time for us, I'll miss work, I'll really miss my income, we won't be able to eat out, I'd be lonely staying at home, we won't be able to do things with our friends, we won't be able to make plans spontaneously, travel will be much harder (and maybe not affordable?), breastfeeding would be difficult... and on it goes...

As you can see... I can think of many reasons that we shouldn't have a baby. Not to even start that the thought of labour and birth absolutely terrify me.

However, two of my close friends have had babies in the last three months. Both of them are quite bored at home, said they have heaps of time, the babies just sleep. I swear, I don't think I have ever seen them awake! They have had no problems breastfeeding, they still come out, do lots of visiting etc...

It started me thinking that maybe my perception of having a baby is unrealistic.

What is it really like?

Edited by julia*v, 12 November 2012 - 11:49 AM.

#2 Escapin

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

Yeah, I wasn't real keen about the whole idea either. And it IS pretty crazy, especially for the first few months. But the thing is, once you hold your baby in your arms, you just don't care any more!!! I could never have believed it before I got pregnant, but those hormones baby, they're pretty damn powerful original.gif

#3 laridae

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

Newborns sleep heaps and are very portable, so no problems with going out, travelling etc.  
Staying at home was boring (for me), so I went back to work.  Good quality childcare is available, you just need to get your name on the list early enough.  But since I went back to work, obviously the missing work & income things don't apply!

#4 ninaswalk

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

In my head, if we had a baby, there are so many negatives... the thoughts that run through my head are: we won't have enough sleep, we'll never have time for us, I'll miss work, I'll really miss my income, we won't be able to eat out, I'd be lonely staying at home, we won't be able to do things with our friends, we won't be able to make plans spontaneously, travel will be much harder (and maybe not affordable?), breastfeeding would be difficult... and on it goes...

I found all these things to be true at times.
Fortunately, when my kids smile, laugh, tell me they love me, do something incredible, hug me, learn something new, fall asleep in my arms or do any number of things that make me proud, all the challenges are made worthwhile and I realise that there is far more important things than going out to lunch with friends original.gif

#5 Red Cabbage

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

Even if you end up with a difficult baby, its only for the first year, after that, it just gets easier and kids adapt to your lifestyle.

#6 RealityBites

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:57 AM

Sheer hell  tongue.gif

Seriously, I think you should only have a baby if you really, really want one, to get you over all the crappy bits. It's a decision that has to come from the gut, not the head.

#7 lozoodle

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:58 AM

Tedious, can be a nightmare if they have reflux. I really hate the newborn phase, though it was much easier to deal with second time around, I didn't seem as bothered by the unsettled periods etc.

I much prefer it from about 3 months in. Wish they came out like that (just not that big)

#8 tazcan

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

It's easier to go out with a newborn/baby than a toddler, I can assure you.

#9 Dylan's Mummy

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:01 PM

Really, when your baby smiles at you none of those other things matter, it just brings tears to your eyes. If you want a family you will have to give up on certain things to an extent but the love you will feel for your baby far outweigh any of that. If nobody wanted to give up or put their social life on hold no one would have babies.

#10 rabbit hyde

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:02 PM

I can't tell you what it's like - because I'm still 7 weeks away from finding out myself.

But I understand how you feel, I was on FB the other week and saw and article about the renovations that had been done to the Newtown Hotel and looking and the leopard print pool table and tiki bar area - I swear I almost cried because I felt like I was missing out and that part of my life was over.

It's not selfish if you enjoy your life and your time with DH.  I hate that a lot of women are made to feel as if their lives without children are meaningless and trivial.

I would suggest you talk to your DH and really look at if it's something that you want and that you both want.  Maybe try and spend more time with your friends who have babies, you might learn something and they might appreciate the company.

I'm excited for the new chapter in my life and to see how me and DH adapt to the role of parents and what this baby will be like.  But it's not for everyone and that is completely okay.

#11 Farmgal

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

If you are lucky you could have a baby that sleeps all day and is easy. Or you could have a baby like me that requires lots of medical intervention at the start and has a feeding tube for nine months and is lots of hard work.

Not all babies are easy, your friends are lucky, I suppose you need to ask yourself, are you ready to have a baby that is not easy?

I would have preferred to have had an easy baby, however after I looked at my baby for the first time I knew I would do whatever it took to look after and love him.

Sometimes life throws you hurdles and you need to be prepared for them too.

Edited by farmgal, 12 November 2012 - 12:04 PM.

#12 Helena Handbasket

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

It is different for everyone.

My first was a shocking sleeper. I was a single mum at the time, so some days were tough, but I managed and it got much easier once I found my feet and built up about of confidence. My next 2 babies were twins, and they were great sleepers, so I wasn't sleep deprived for long at all. My husband is also incredibly supportive and helpful. For me, having a supportive and hands on partner really made a huge difference, especially in the early months.

I do find I get bored at home sometimes, but even with newborn twins, I still managed to get out and about. It just took a bit more thought and planning.

Each persons experience will be different. Your DH sounds keen, but do you have other support around as well? Is it possible that you go back to work and your husband becomes a SAHD if you feel like you'll miss work to much? Do you have time to put the decision about a baby off for another year until you are more clear on what you want?

#13 Bluestocking

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

Its absolutely awful. Yet at the same time you love them so its just a sacrifice you make.

I do think you need to want kids before you have them though.

#14 chickenpants

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:04 PM

I was exactly the same as you, I wasn't ready to have children and had decided that I would be quite happy without... then oops!

I was in denial almost my entire pregnancy I think, it wasn't until we bought the furniture home and I started getting uncomfortable right at the end that it sort of sank in.  I worked 6 days a week until I was 38 weeks.  Painted the nursery at 36 weeks, assembled the furniture at 37..
Even my labour was surreal - went in to get induced, lay there on a monitor for a while,  didn't have a single labour pain and ended up with an emergency caesar.

Honestly, it's a lot different than what I thought it would be. I was expecting the suffering, the zombie-walking and everything that you hear as a horror story.  
Every baby is different, mine is fairly laid back and a lot more alert through the day than what I expected - I was anticipating a little eating, pooing, crying, squishy lump - but it's more fun than horrific.  They all have their moments, but it's good most of the time.

Especially when itty bitty, you can just pop them in a carrier and shove them under the table while out for dinner tongue.gif

I do miss work, and go back to visit a lot.

Edited by chickenpants, 12 November 2012 - 12:05 PM.

#15 =R2=

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:05 PM

All the negative things you mention happen in the first few months or the first year of a child's life. They do grow into interesting human beings too. Each stage has it's own ups and downs but hey I'm enjoying the ride. The good definitely outweigh the bad.

#16 Starrydawn

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:08 PM

Yes it can be all the cons you listed. It is damn hard work for that first year especially. Everyone has their own experience though.

Sleep deprivation is hard very hard. I didn't love the newborn stage even though I adored her. I don't think it is neccesarily easier to go out with a newborn than a toddler either. I find it much easier now actually. But once again all depends on the type of baby you end up with.

There is love so much love. That is the pay off.

#17 Mitis angelam

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:11 PM

It's complicated.  I felt a lot like you describe, and my daughter is now almost one.  There are things I hate so much about this life and being a mother and I struggle to manage that enough to keep functioning.  But - as other PPs have said - there are wonderful things, and I've enjoyed them much more than I thought I would.  I do agree that it gets harder as they get older; it's much more challenging to be out and about with DD now than it was when she was newborn.

For me, I think on balance I still would have preferred not to have a child.  I feel like I have completely lost who I am as a person.  But I watch my DH with DD, the sheer joy he takes in her and how much she has brought to him, and I don't think I could deny him that.  

QUOTE (Escapin @ 12/11/2012, 12:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But the thing is, once you hold your baby in your arms, you just don't care any more!!! I could never have believed it before I got pregnant, but those hormones baby, they're pretty damn powerful original.gif

I completely disagree with this.  I do care, I do struggle, and I have to make a conscious choice every day to stay committed to this thing, otherwise I'd have run screaming by now.

#18 MintyBiscuit

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:13 PM

Insanely hard work. DS turned one a couple of weeks ago, and I can see why people say the first twelve months is the hardest.  Things are getting easier and seem to be moving forward in leaps and bounds instead of the tiny incremental advances of the early months.

Newborns are portable in theory, unless you get one that is (insert issue here). DS fed two hourly during the day, spent anywhere up to four hours cluster feeding of an evening to go to sleep, and would then wake 3-4 hourly overnight for a while. Then when the cluster feeds got shorter, so did the sleep periods overnight. At one point he was waking every 45-60 minutes overnight. It was, for us, sheer unadulterated hell.

Those things you listed that you'll miss? They might not come back for a while. Most weekends I get a sleep in, but that now means waking at 6/6.30 when DH brings DS into bed for his feed, half dozing through said feed and DH then getting up with him when he's done and I sleep til about 9ish. Those luxurious sleep ins until 10 or 11 and then cruisy days are gone for now. We go out to cafes and restaurants a bit more now, but we've basically shifted from dinners to lunches because now that we have the night routine sorted, it takes a special occasion for us to mess with the formula.

I developed PND and I'm still on medication, and at this point I am very unsure as to whether we'll have another because I don't know if I can do it all over again. That said, I look at DS and it is absolutely 100% worth it. He is a joy to be around, he has made me more patient and relaxed in my own skin. I have no doubt there are challenges to come, but I think if I can sit here and say the hell of those early months was worth it, anything to come will be worth it too.

You'll see from the replies so far and those to come that every baby is different, so you really can't go into it thinking "I'll cope because they sleep all the time/breastfeed easily/have a happy personality". You don't know what it's going to throw at you, so I think if you're not 100% sure you want to do it, you shouldn't do it. If your DH is more on board with it, maybe he can be the one to take time off work?

#19 CherrySunday

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:14 PM

What is it really like?

Honestly? for me, having a newborn was easier than having a toddler.
Sure, it's hard, but there is so much joy in it. When they are really small, you can still go out for dinner, lunch whatever. Wander the shops for a few hours, watch a movie at home (I did this a lot with DD, as she slept in my arms). Stick them in a sling & do whatever you want.
Obviously, not all babies are going to let you go along with all that, but both of mine did/do.

#20 Mumsyto2

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:14 PM

I found the newborn stage to be easy and boring - mine slept constantly and was basically like a pot plant. I was so bored I went back to work after 3 months. During this time we found them to be very transportable and you could generally go anywhere and do anything (within reason - obviously not skydiving) without them cramping your style too much. Mind you, this was our situation, others may tell you they had a baby that never slept and cried constantly so they are all different.

The problems as you describe them in your post started for us when the newborn got older, turned mobile, wanted to explore, gained a personality and wanted substantial interaction. At this point they are not happy to be asleep for long periods, not happy to stay "locked" in a pram, they crawl/run around no end and you need to be constantly with them as they have no sense of safety and can get into everything (not in your own home obviously as you childproof) and will either hurt themself or trash stuff and they like to let you know who is boss (apparently them) by screaming, tantrums etc which is all normal baby/toddler stuff. This then completely ruins going out anywhere worthwhile unless you like places and activities aimed at babies/toddlers/kids as that is what you are then stuck with for years. Don't get me wrong I love my kids and do not regret them but it would be a huge lie to say that they have not affected our lifestyle in this regard.

As far as money it's all very dependant upon how much you have to begin with, how much you will earn along the way and how much money you want to spend on them. Again, the key is not to think babies but further down the road - do you need to pay for childcare, do you want public/private school, do you want your kids to be able to do extracurricular activities and if so would these be costly as some are cheap some are dear. I know one family who earn a fortune who have one child but claim they cant afford another which is correct for their situation as they live in a VERY expensive area, spend a LOT of money on a top private school, lots of very expensive extracurricular activities and envisage a situation where there will be lots of overseas excursions and costs etc when their child goes into high school. I know another family who has several children, earns one average wage, happy for their kids to go to public school, happy to buy second hand uniforms/clothes etc, very few if any extracurricular activities and they never go on holidays as wayyyy too expensive with that number of kids even for something basic. I know families inbetween these two extremes with differing amounts of money and kids and there is no magic formula people can give you as to whether you can afford to have kids or not - it just depends on how much you have and what your priorities and expectations are and whether this snaps or not.

#21 Elf Ianthe

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:15 PM

Parenting is incredibly difficult. It isn't just whether you have a kid that sleeps or not. It is having a tantruming 3yo. It's having a child that is excluded from friendships and doesn't want to go to school. It's an 11yo glaring at you and calling you stupid. It's an eye rolling 15yo that thinks you know nothing.

I always wanted kids. It was never a decision I had to make. But it is a long, hard slog. And that is with me wanting this more than anything.

It's a long road, with the newborn/baby stage being gone in what feels like a second. It doesn't feel like that going through it but it does.

#22 Mummy Em

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:17 PM

QUOTE (RealityBites @ 12/11/2012, 09:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sheer hell  tongue.gif

Seriously, I think you should only have a baby if you really, really want one, to get you over all the crappy bits. It's a decision that has to come from the gut, not the head.

Yes, I agree with all this. The thing about having children is not that every day is necessarily hard, but it's a long haul comittment. It's not like a job where you can say this really sucks, this is not what I thought it would be like and change direction. There has been a few years where it is hard to go out at night, because dd1 didn't sleep well as a bub (slept through the night from bedtime til daylight for the first time at 2.5 years old) and dd2 has seperation anxiety and doesn't even really like to be held by anyone other than myself or dh and is mega cranky and cries a lot from about 6.30pm. I am the first of my siblings to have kids, so when my extended families have birthdays etc and organise to get together for dinner I am having to explain and re-explain that we will have to eat early and run or we can't come. Socialising changes a lot when you have kids (easier if others in you social circle have kids) and I also think you change a lot as a person once you have kids.

In saying that, I love being a mum and for me the experience is worth every rough night, sore nipple, and the major loss of 'me' time. I think you have to really want to be a mum and want to see another person through to adulthood, putting their needs ahead of you own much of the time.

#23 Madnesscraves

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:19 PM

it's easy, it's hard, it's wonderful, it's hell. it's exciting, it's boring as batsh*t. it's basically everything.

my DD was the easiest baby ever for the first 4 months. I was so bored! it wasn't until she turned 6 months she became more of a person you could interact with.

Sure, I am bored as hell at home minding a DD but I wouldn't change it for the world. I love watching my DD grow up into this energetic little person. I take her out to playgroups, gymbaroo, parks etc I meet other mums, I form new friendships.

Right now as I am on EB, my DD (11months) is currently studying the child lock on the safety gate trying to open it. I am watching in great amusement.

loss of income is hard, not travelling as much is hard, not going out to bars, restaurants is hard to. but there is more to life than this stuff and nothing saying you can't take kids on holidays with you either. you adapt.

What you need to ask is, do you WANT children?

#24 No girls here

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:19 PM

Speaking from the experience of someone who had an extremely difficult baby, it's not something I would do unless I was sure.  You may end up with a baby like your friends, but you may not and it's hard enough having a difficult one when you really desperately wanted a baby.

DS1 never slept longer than 40-45 minutes at a time until he was nearly one.  He was an extremely frustrated and whingey baby so it was difficult taking him out also.  I actually went back to work when he was 3 months to get a break from him.  Hands down, the most difficult period of my life.

DS3 had a bad start but has now become far and away my best sleeper and I am astounded at how much easier one child can be compared with another.

#25 Mumsyto2

Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:22 PM

QUOTE (farmgal @ 12/11/2012, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you are lucky you could have a baby that sleeps all day and is easy. Or you could have a baby like me that requires lots of medical intervention at the start and has a feeding tube for nine months and is lots of hard work.

Actually that's an excellent point. You should consider several scenarios pertaining to potential disabilities/illnesses before deciding to have kids and see how that would factor in. You will generally find that kids with medical issues prove to be more costly in a physical sense (& god knows emotionally). We did this and it paid off for us but you may want to keep that to yourself on EB as whilst I think its common sense for anyone considering having kids to factor in as a possibility up front in order to decide if they are ready for kids (as you can get anything really, luck of the draw) the majority of people didn't think so & thought you were a tosser if you did factor it in up front rather than waiting until after the fact and then throwing your hands up and wondering what the hell you were meant to do in regards to cost, support etc.

Edited by Mumsyto2, 12 November 2012 - 12:24 PM.

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