1. You don’t believe that parents are more tired than everyone else? You’re wrong.
2. Your bag will always contain a few surprises (which you’ll pull out at inappropriate moments)… a few squashed raisins, a pair of pants, a squeaky toy.
3. Complete strangers will give you unsolicited advice. A woman I didn’t know called her sister to ask for advice because my baby had hiccups.
4. Kids aren’t cheap. You think nappies are expensive just wait until they do three clubs and a birthday party every weekend.
5. Don’t buy too much. Babies need surprisingly little to survive and you don’t really know what you’ll need until he or she has arrived. You’ll also be given a lot of gifts.
6. Don’t compare your child with others. Babies crawl, talk, get teeth when they’re ready.
7. You will sleep again but probably not much for the first year.
8. You’ll get used to baby poo but when changing nappies makes you gag it’s time to think about potty training.
9. Just when you think you’ve got a nap routine nailed it changes.
10. Other people’s kids sleep through the night from three months. So they say. Take what other parents say with a pinch of salt.
11. 7pm bedtime is the holy grail.
12. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work out. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Your baby will be fine and so will you.
13. Even if they haven’t actually got a cut, giving your kid a plaster always makes them feel better.
14. Always check the back of your top for sick stains before you go out.
15. Baby wipes have many uses – including wiping muck from your own clothes and your son’s wee off the floor – as well as cleaning your baby’s bottom.
16. Always insist your child does a wee before setting off or they’ll need to go within five minutes.
17. Your kid might eat broccoli, anchovies and Camembert. Or they might be a normal kid and go through a picky phase. Usually it’s just that, a phase. See my blog Sneaky Veg for recipe ideas.
18. Some things, like cleaning under the highchair, are tedious.
19. Your kid gets attached to a cuddly rabbit or bit of blanket and can’t sleep without it? BUY A SPARE. No, buy two spares.
20. Don’t think once the terrible twos are over it’s plain sailing. Every age comes with its own challenges.
21. It’s not OK to open the wine before they’re in bed.
22. Your child will get loads of random illnesses, some of which sound like they’re from the Victorian era. Croup anyone?
23. You’ll need support. Accept all offers of help. Hopefully you have a strong relationship with your partner. If you’re going it alone, then get help from your mum, sister, cousin or friends.
24. Nothing beats newborn cuddles.