Being a new mum is an exciting, overwhelming and, at times, frightening experience. There is so much to learn, so much to be unsure of and a ridiculous amount of unsolicited advice to wade through. With the recent arrival of my third baby, I still don’t know it all, but have managed to gather a few good tips along the way for new mums.
I did it my way
Do what works for you. The arrival of your first baby heralds the arrival of more advice than you know what to with. And sometimes it will be conflicting. Then there are parenting books and blogs pulling you this way and that to the next parenting fad or advice for every possible scenario. You need to do what works for you. When offered advice, smile and nod – offer thanks even. But trust your instincts and do it your way.
Supermum status is built over time
You will, once you get the hang of this gig, be an amazing multi-tasking super-duper mum. Three weeks after the birth of your first baby is not the time to be calling it. Becoming a new mum is a huge change in lifestyle so take help when it’s offered, and don’t be shy to ask for what you need. Have visitors bring milk on the way or help with the washing while they are here, it’s a small price to pay to visit a cute little baby.
A mother always knows best
Don’t under estimate the power of your own motherly instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Don’t allow doctors, family members, or friends to persuade you from something you want to try or push you into something you don’t want to do. If you know something is wrong, get to the bottom of it, no matter what.
The sun will come out tomorrow
Babies are so good when they first come home. Just eating and sleeping and pooping. But then they wake up. Or have wind. Or a dirty nappy. Or they are hungry. Or their clothes are wet. Then they start growing and teething! There are going to be some long hard days. They may even all come at once. But the sun will come out tomorrow and to best cope, do less of everything else and take a break when you need it. They will go back to normal in no time at all and the less stressed you are, the less stressed your baby is.
Fall in love with routines
Maybe it’s because I’m a control freak, but I love a good routine. Everyone knows what to expect and everyone is happy. Babies love this business. When everything is falling apart, I find solace in falling back on the routine. Baby won’t stop screaming? Check the vitals: nappy, wind, tired, hungry? Still crying? Maybe a nice bath routine. It will keep you busy, and something will eventually work!
But don’t be regimented
In the beginning, don’t have a rigid, fixed schedule. Or a rigid, fixed approach to anything for that matter. Baby will let you know when they are hungry, tired or uncomfortable. Respond to a baby’s needs as needed, and as they grow they will establish their own schedule.
Make informed choices
As you would have realised before baby arrived, there are a lot of controversial topics about parenting. And opinions. So many opinions. Do your research and make informed choices, and if your parenting style is questioned you will already have your answer ready to back up your choices.
Take short cuts
Do less. Care about housework less. Cook in bulk before baby arrives and freeze it all. Consider paper plates for the first week or two. Buy cleaning wipes. Discover the cleaning power of baby wipes. Stock up on essentials so you don’t have to go out much to start with. The early weeks will fly past so try to enjoy every minute with your baby.
Bonding is more important than clean dishes
Hold your baby as much as you can, and let others help out with housework or just let it wait. Rock your baby and enjoy having a rest when baby does. You are still healing from your birth and lack of sleep will be starting to get on top of you. Rest!
No one is always right
Yikes. Sometimes you’re going to make the wrong call. Or regret the way you did that. Don’t panic. Just forgive yourself and move on! You’re doing a great job!
Always remember that you are doing the best you can. Love your baby and enjoy these first special weeks together. What is your best tip for a first time mum?