I have seen a few posts about advice for new mums recently so I have been wracking my brain trying to think of all the good advice I would have liked to have received or even did receive as a new mum. I’m sure there was loads of good advice I got but in those early sleep deprived days I’m not entirely sure how much I actually took in.
I think the most common piece of advice that anyone and everyone seems to give new mums is “sleep when the baby sleeps”… Whilst it is good advice and absolutely if you feel you can then sleep. My adapted advice is RELAX whilst the baby sleeps… Do whatever it is that makes you feel good. Chill and have a cuppa, paint your nails if you want or just watch a few episodes of your favorite show. Whatever it is, put your feet up and chill for a while.
That leads on to my next piece of advice, remember you are a person in your own right, not just a mother. You need to take care of yourself. I know life may seem hectic but find time to do something for you. Anything. If you want to get up and showered and dressed and put on some makeup, then do that. If you want to hang out in your pjs all day then do that. I do suggest that you change your clothes at least once a day though. Even if it’s just to fresh Pjs. It will make you feel better honestly.
Don’t rush. Don’t feel like you need to get up and about the minute the baby is out. Don’t feel like you HAVE to accept visitors. Don’t feel like you need to get back to “normal”. Nothing will ever be pre baby normal again but you will find a new normal, honest. Don’t feel like you need to get back to your pre baby weight, but once you have passed all appropriate post natal checks if you want to go and exercise then go for it. Don’t feel guilty about whatever you decide.
If you have support then don’t be afraid to take it. Letting a loved one look after baby for an hour or even more will not make baby love you any less, it will however allow them to love other people more. It’s a scary thing to leave your baby with someone else, I know that. I’ve only left Leo with a very small select group of people because I trust them whole heartedly that they would do the best thing possible in any situation. So if you have one or two of those people in your lives then it’s okay to let them watch baby whilst you go and grab a quite shower or scratch some things off your to do list or even just for 5 minutes to regroup.
Be firm, polite but firm. People will give you advice whether you want it or not when you have a baby (and that will probably happen forever). That doesn’t mean you have to take it. If someones advice goes against what you want for your child, then just thank them very much and then just ignore it. If it gets to the point where they are trying to take the baby off you, to show you a particular burping technique for instance, then stay firm and tell them no.
It is okay to put the baby down when they are crying. I PROMISE. If you are getting wound up, flustered and upset then baby will feel that too and it’s not good for either of you. Sometimes when baby is crying you can’t fix it, although we all wish we could magically make them better all the time, sometimes it’s just not possible. If you have tried everything you can possibly think of and you need to step away, then that is okay. Have a minute to re gather your thoughts then go back.
Routine, if that works for you. I like routine. It helps me to know what’s going on when and where and how. With babies, routine will probably never go 100% to plan but, so long as there is an idea of routine then personally I think that’s great and you’re in for a win. For example, Leo has always had a bath, bottle, bed routine. We bathed him every other night when he was very small and on nights that he didn’t have a bath we would take him up to his room so he would get an idea that bedtime was coming. Also we were, and still are, very strict on the idea that once he is in his room then that is him for the night. He stays in his room from around 8pm until 7am. Unless absolute emergency means that he must be moved.
Another good piece of advice we were given is to get baby used to their cot early on. Pop them in their cots for just a few minutes when they are small, have a little play with them in there or just give them a minute in the cot whilst you put their washing away or do a quick job. Make the cot a pleasant space for them so that when it’s time they won’t be afraid of this big scary space. I was a bit worried that Leo would think cot = playtime if I made it too fun but for us this worked out well.
Document as much as you can, Photos, Baby books, even get a notebook to write in little quirks baby has and the certain ways they say or do things. I wrote a blog starting this last week but I really wish I had of done this from the very beginning of Leo’s life.
You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You don’t owe anyone anything. So long as you are doing your best and baby is fed and clean that is good enough but please don’t ever be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling with anything. Ask a family member, a close friend or even another parent you may know. Honestly, even the mums who really seem to have there ish together are winging it too. We all feel mum guilt and wonder if we are good enough or are we trying hard enough or doing enough. I promise you, you are.
Finally, take each day as it comes. Parenting is hard. Whether your a first time mum or a tenth time mum (I’d assume, I only have Leo). Each day is its own day. Some will be good and some will be bad. Some days you will be that mum who has her sh*t together and done everything you wanted to do in a day and other days it’ll be lucky if you’ve managed to get out of your pjs and the baby has a fresh baby grow on. Both of those situations are okay. So long as no one is getting hurt then don’t stress. Easier said than done I know. Take social media with a pinch of salt and remember you are only seeing the snippets of other people’s days that they want you to see.