Commit every part of his tiny body to memory. His chubby wrists, the bow of his lips that part as he sleeps, the way his tiny toes curl when you strip him off for a bath. Drink every part of him in when he nestles into your arm to feed or falls asleep on your chest. You might see these things all day, every day (and often all night, every night too)- but one day soon, he will sit on your lap and you will realise he doesn’t fit so easily anymore – and you will feel your heart break a little bit.
Leave the house. It might seem an overwhelming task right now, but you will have a toddler in what seems like the blink of an eye and you will wish you had made the most of the time when he was too small to try and escape you. Take him out for dinner, stroll down the high street or through the malls, push his buggy into coffee shops while he is sleeping, While he is portable, take him everywhere. Only time will teach you what a luxury this is.
Never leave the house without baby wipes. This is important.
Take photographs. You can never have too many. You will look back frequently at these precious memories to recall when it all started. This time in your life will soon seem like a hazy dream and you will want to remind yourself just how small he really was. And as he gets older, he will love flicking through these photographs too, fascinated by the person he once was.
Stop feeling guilty for not being able to breastfeed him. He will grow into a healthy, happy, intelligent little boy – and you will realise those tears were a waste of energy. In a few years, you will have another baby and feeding will be easier – and only then you will realise that the cuddles with a bottle are just as precious as the cuddles on the breast. Oh and stop getting up at 3am to attach yourself to an expressing machine. You need your sleep.
The dirty dishes can wait. If he’s asleep in your arms, stay there.
Don’t take comments or criticism to heart. As the years tick by, you will realise that the whole world likes to share an opinion about motherhood – but you will also feel your skin getting thicker and confidence growing as fast as that little person grows in your arms. You will develop a poker face for when people offer advice, before heading home and carrying on just as you were before.
Slow down. A newborn doesn’t need to learn how to swim, to communicate with sign language, or to recognise the opening song of every baby class in the city. There is plenty of time for all that. What you won’t be able to get back are the lazy afternoons watching films together on the sofa, refusing to get out of your pyjamas until five minutes before a friend arrives for coffee. It might feel like you are a mess right now, but believe me; when you think back to this time in your life, those lazy days with a brand new little person will feel like heaven.
And honestly, don’t forget that advice about the baby wipes.