1. It doesn’t last for long
One minute your baby is snuffling into your elbow like a little tiny hedgehog or chipolata (or whatever pet name you so choose). You agonise over every molecule that passes their lips. At this point in their lives it is one of the only decisions that you have to make.
The next minute they’re helping themselves to kitkats and dried pasta from the cupboard whilst you’re in the shower musing over whether it’s OK to have ‘goujons’ twice in one week and how to fit in the ballet, tap, three birthday parties and facetime with the grandparents on Saturday. Then it’ll be their fourth birthday and they ask for chicken nuggets (the frozen kind) and oven chips for their birthday tea. All that kale, all of those times.
Record when times were simple (er).
2. We have to big each other up
In this crazy parenting world we’re all rookies. If we can share our journey and our insecurities with a bit of sensitivity it can both bring us support and, even better, give some other parents who feel even more in the dark that little bit of hope.
Remember though, sensitivity is key. Don’t pretend that all it’ll take is an artfully filtered selfie and there’ll be light in the world, and I will also say that if you’re on social media, put your pic in the comments. Remember that time you had raging mastitis and your hormones were wilder than Heathcliff, then you cried to the postman because, well, anyone would do [insert your own story here]. We aren’t all in the same place with our feeding fearlessness.
3. Your kid will love to see pictures when they’re older
One of my children is completely baby mad. In fact, nursery school had never seen a more accurate nativity scene after her and her little pal, whose mum is a midwife, went for anatomical accuracy in the house corner. She is also desperate to see pictures of herself as a baby and she wants to know every detail. I’m so pleased that I learnt from my eldest (who thankfully hasn’t yet asked as I only have one feeding photo) and made sure that I took lots, all the time.
4. Your baby is fed and well
Being a parent is about finding the way to keep them growing and well and happy. It starts small but scary because, well they’re so small and scary. It then gets more complicated, but at that point they understand STOP CLIMBING UP THAT WARDROBE AND THE DOG ISN’T GOING TO THANK YOU FOR TRYING TO RIDE IT. Some days they’ll eat organic kale chips (read jam sandwiches) other days things might be more limited, but as long as they’re thriving and well, you’re winning.
5. You won’t be here to talk about it forever
One of my most treasured photographs is this one:
The baby is my husband and that is his mother who died when he was eleven. When we were having our babies and struggling to find a way that worked for us, this photo meant the world to me, and him.
Go cuddle your babies by the way, because love’s what we got.