It’s all very well telling a new parent to “sleep when the baby sleeps” – but then are we supposed to do laundry when the baby does laundry?
When a baby is born, a new mother and father is born too. It’s an overwhelming moment for everyone, one that’s both emotional and very tiring, so we appreciate any sort of help we can get. Saying that, there are a few things that are less helpful and more harsh. So, if you don’t want to annoy a new parent in Malta, here is Island Bébé‘s guide to things you might want to avoid saying.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps”
There are two main reasons that this seemingly sensible piece of advice generally doesn’t work in reality.
Firstly, if you’ve ever tried sleeping when your baby sleeps, you’ll soon realise that this means that your entire awake time is spent with an awake baby. It won’t be long before, despite having these naps during the day, you still feel unrested. That’s because rest doesn’t always come in the form of sleep.
You need time to connect with your partner, watch your favourite show, catch up with family and friends over the phone, have a shower, make yourself a nice snack, or read a book. Time to remind yourself that you are more than a feeding machine, so that when your baby wakes up you can really enjoy those amazing moments that come with having a newborn.
Secondly, there’s shit to be done! There are bottles to be sterilised, baby laundry to do, dummies to wash, breasts to pump. Every baby nap requires a ton of prep, so sleeping every time your baby sleeps can actually cause more work and stress when you wake up and have to do everything one-handed with an impatient, crying baby.
We will sleep when the baby sleeps, but only when we feel comfortable doing so. Each parent is different, has different levels of help, different family sizes, we know what’s right for our bodies so we’re cool, promise!
No problem, if you could just cook it for me, bring it to me on the sofa, and maybe even feed it to me, that would be great!
Any new parent has little time to cook or do chores. They’re figuring out how to keep this new human happy and alive. Rather than telling them to take food, it’s better to actually take them food – ideally something that can be eaten there and then, is easily frozen or just a simple treat.
And forget about organised mealtimes. We’re grab-and-go right now, so chances are you won’t be invited to eat with us for a while!
“Did you get my message?”
If your friend has just had a baby and they don’t text you, reply to your WhatsApps or comment on your cute dog picture, don’t be offended. They want to! But there are so many reasons they aren’t communicating as readily. They may be struggling, or just taking time to figure out this new life. For me, after having my baby, I suddenly had the memory of a goldfish so when I didn’t reply to my friends, it was mostly because I genuinely forgot to.
Do send them a message to let them know you are thinking of them anyway though. It’s nice to know that we haven’t been forgotten about even if we have gone a bit quiet!
“You look tired, miskina.”
Do I? How funny, I mean I have been getting a full 90 minutes of sleep every night for the past month, so not sure why that could be. Let me know when you solve this mystery.
We know we look like shit. We’re supposed to look like shit. We know we’re supposed to look like shit. Still, getting it confirmed from a fresh-faced, well-slept visitor is of no use to us. I did a victory lap around my bedroom this morning because I successfully managed to have a 2-minute shower. I may not look good, but my god I smell fabulous, and that’s good enough for me.
“So, when’s the baptism?”
Well, at the moment I’m slightly more concerned about my newborn gaining weight than I am about his current paganism, so it’s not something that’s currently at the top of my to-do list.
The last thing new parents need is to feel pressured into organising an actual event. It’s up to the parents when, and even if, they want to organise a baptism and sometimes these aren’t straight forward decisions. But, we promise that when the plans are made you will be the first to know!
Bonus: Things you can do.
On a cheerier note, there are loads of things you can do to make this overwhelming time a little bit easier for the new parent in your life:
- Drop off surprises – Nothing fancy, just a token of thought to brighten their day.
- Offer to walk their dog – Our fur babies still need their playtime, and they may be getting less of it since the baby arrived.
- Entertain an older sibling – It can be a tough time for siblings of a newborn, so helping to keep them engaged with fun activities is a god-send.
- Bring food – We’ll take anything; frozen, fresh, snacks, meals, we’ve never been so ravenous.
- Send them funny memes – Laughter is the best medicine and one of the most effective stress-relievers. Make us lol!