To be honest, this list could have been WAY longer. Looking back on those early days there are many things I wish I had done differently. Things I know now that I wish I had known then.
To be even more honest – I was probably told a lot of those things but I ignored them or brushed them aside.
It’s hard to really understand the importance of some of the advice before your baby is your arms and even harder afterwards when you’re drifting around the house in a sleep-deprived fog!
But life with a new baby might have been a lot easier if I’d only known (or listened to advice) about these 5 things!
5 things I wish I’d known before I had a baby
It’s OK to put my needs first sometimes
Actually it is essential you do. I really struggled with this one, as I am sure that many new parents do. You really need to look after yourself. Really. You need to make sure you’re healthy, happy, well rested and supported. If you feel guilty putting your needs first, then remember that your baby NEEDS you to be at your best. So listen up! Sleep when the baby sleeps!! Really. At least some of the time. Forget the dishes or the folding – the house can be a bit messy for a little while.
Seek support when you need it and accept help from others – they want to be part of this special time, they know what it is like to be home with a new baby and they want to support you. Let them. And if you don’t want people over – tell them. That’s OK too!
I could have pressed pause on my mortgage
Moving from two wages to one was a big hit for us financially. We made sure we had a tight budget, we cut back on expenses and we investigated our eligibility for any government assistance, such as Parental Leave Pay and Family Tax Benefits. What we didn’t do was approach our bank to see if there was anything else we could do to save money in those early months. It would have been super handy to be able to press pause on our mortgage repayments for a few months after our baby was born.
Babies don’t need much stuff (but kids do!)
I bought too much stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on nursery furniture and designer baby clothes but I still bought a lot of unnecessary things. Babies really don’t need much and there are only a few essential items you need to have before the baby arrives – the rest you can buy afterwards. You don’t need to spend a lot of money either. Sure, if you have a lot of money, go ahead but your baby won’t care if the cot was $200 or $2000.
If I had my time again I would cut back on clothes (babies grow way too fast) and toys (they’d rather play with boxes and plastic containers!) and I wouldn’t have bought a pram (I mostly used a baby carrier when they were small and a cheaper stroller when they were older). Save your money for when they’re school-aged, that’s when it gets costly!
A baby bank account is a very good idea
I opened a bank account for my children when my eldest was five years old. And two years later they all have a healthy growing bank balance. My regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I don’t deposit much but I do it regularly. It is quite incredible how quickly a little bit can add up. If you deposit just $15 a fortnight out of your pay you’ll have almost $400 in your baby’s bank account by their 1st birthday. And that is not counting any interest they will accrue. Youth savings accounts usually have generous interest rates, free online transaction and no monthly fees.
Babies grow so fast
When you’re at home with a new baby, it can sometimes feel like you’re stuck in an endless cycle of sleep, feed, poop, repeat. It is helpful to remind yourself that nothing is forever, especially the newborn stage! Babies truly do grow up so fast (another reason to not buy too many clothes!) and it is a wonderful – but short – time in their lives.Before you know it you’ll be chasing your little one around the house, buying ‘big kid’ undies, and then waving them goodbye at the school gates.
The mantra ‘this too shall pass’ will help you focus on the present and cope with it’s demands, knowing that soon these days will be a fond but distant memory. Enjoy.
This blog post is sponsored by CUA – Credit Union Australia
You’ll find everything you need and more to help make your life stage, life rich at cua.com.au/life-stages/having-a-baby/expecting