Hormones, emotions, anxiety, actual physical pain – these are all swirling around during the first days and weeks, and it’s no wonder you might feel overwhelmed and impatient with other people, no matter how well-meaning they might be.
On the one hand, you’re soooooo grateful for advice, any advice from those who have done it before. On the other, you just want to get on with it and be left alone to get to know your little man in peace.
People will start to ask you questions as if you have suddenly become a world authority on infant care:
“Can he go out in the sun?”
“How much water should be in his bath?”
“Why is he crying?” (Top tip, NEVER ask that one!)
I tried really hard to hold back the desired response of “I have no f@#*$*g idea!!!” for truly impossible or inane questions. Mostly people are just ascertaining that you are ok with what they are doing, or planning to do, with your little one, and possibly even asking permission to help in a very indirect manner. But it can make it feel like all the pressure is suddenly on you to give all manner of childcare instruction.
It’s perfectly ok to say that you just need to check, and either ask someone else, consult a book you trust, or just old fashioned Google it. (Google will become your best friend and the thought of not having your phone to hand at all times will fill you with abject horror.)
Possibly more annoying are the random statements or throwaway remarks that perfect strangers seem to feel entitled to share. “He’s only three weeks old – that’s brave! In my day we didn’t take them out until they were at least three months…” Really? Why, how very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing! Bit late now that it appears we’ve actually made it out of the house, but what can you do?
Just take a deep breath…