We all know newborn babies just spend their days sleeping and waking at regular intervals to be fed and have their nappies changed, right?
If that is the case, this would means new parents must have loads of free time on their hands to get things done? Think again.
One mum-to-be has been shot down on Mumsnet after asking others what kept new parents so busy and knackered: “Apologies if this seems daft but I’m a first time mum and no idea what to expect from my newborn. I’ve seen the stories that I can’t have a hot cuppa for months, but why? If babies sleep 14-18 hours per day, what am I doing whilst baby is sleeping?”
She added that it wasn’t meant to a controversial comment, but she didn’t have the slightest idea what to expect. More than 100 people responded to the mum about what they do.
We also decided to ask parents on our social media what they would respond, and had several parents email in their suggestions. Here are some of the top answers.
“Getting out the house is a major achievement.”
You’re no longer just getting yourself ready anymore, oh no. Mum Hannah on Twitter said getting ready to go out while getting your newborn ready, as well as ensuring you have everything for them for the trip out can take a lot of time.
“Looking after the newborn.”
Hours seem to be wasted so easily as a new parent, as one Mumsnet user added: “There are the hours you spend feeding, winding, cleaning up sick if you get a puker, bathing, more cleaning. That’s all before you’ve done anything at all for yourself.”
Another mum added: “Washing and sterilising bottles was a chore for me because I used to have to put my son in the bouncer and he would cry about five minutes into putting him down.”
“Staring at them.”
“You will waste hours, I mean hours, staring at your newborn,” one mum said. Come on guys, you created this tiny human, isn’t that amazing?
“Nothing in the house gets done.”
One mum, Janet Tyler, told HuffPost UK Parents she is constantly attached to her baby so everything else that normally gets done in the house can’t be done - washing, cleaning, cooking. When the baby sleeps, she’ll try to do some housework, “But she’ll just wake up as soon as I’m trying to get it done, which means it is left.”
“They want to sleep on you.”
One Mumsnet user said even if the baby is sleeping well, some babies only want to sleep on their mum or dad. “This means you’re anchored to wherever you’re sitting,” she said. So not busy, but can’t get anything else done either.
“Usually their sleep is broken.”
Many parents who responded highlighted the fact that even though newborns sleep a lot, their sleep is broken. One mum wrote on Mumsnet: “As people said, 14 hours sleep per day does not meaning you get any nice long stretches. Expect two to three hour sleep/wake cycles. You might get more if you’re very lucky, and if you’re unlucky I remember a phase when my daughter woke up every 45 minutes.”
“Newborns have issues, too.”
Mum Pragya Agarwal said on Twitter her children were born premature and had other problems they had to deal with during those early days, which are common for newborns. “They had silent reflux and colic which was left undiagnosed and had milk allergies so they often cried for up to 12 hours and didn’t sleep,” she said.
“You just need a constant presence.”
Mum Katy Jacobs told HuffPost UK in among the breastfeeding, wet nappies and looking after a baby who is “getting used to being a human”, you need a constant presence around the baby, being at their beck and call - “they’re very unpredictable and that baby is now the centre of your life.”
So yeah, pretty busy then.