15 Pieces Of Actually Helpful Advice For New Mums
Having a new baby is amazing, but it can also be tough. Even if it's not your first, it's going to be tough.
So as a dad who watched an amazing mum get through the baby circus twice, here's some things I picked up which might help ease the stress.
1. You Can't Predict Your Labour
Make your birth plan as detailed as you can. What music you may want, who your birth partner is, what pain relief you want to take, how you would like to be monitored, do you want to be active during labour even if you want a foot massage.
Write absolutely everything you want to happen down, then tear it up into a million pieces and let that sucker fly away into the wind because the only person who has any say in how labour and birth are happening is your baby.
So listen to your body and what it is telling you and if something doesn’t feel right voice it very loudly until you are checked. There has never been in the history of womankind a “textbook” labour and birth.
2. Fed Is Best
If you plan on breastfeeding, do not let yourself feel like a horrible mother because the baby doesn't latch on right away. And be prepared for swollen milk ducts. If you plan on bottle feeding, do not let yourself feel like you're a horrible mother because you decided to go that route. Regardless of which you choose, all that matters is the baby is being fed. End of story.
3. Be Prepared To Do Laundry Every Day
You'll get through more daily changes of baby clothes than you could imagine in the early days. So double the amount of rompers you think you'll need and be prepared to do a load of baby laundry every day to keep on top of it.
4. Sleep When The Baby Sleeps
Forget about cleaning when the baby is napping. Take that time for yourself. Sleep or rest when the baby sleeps. As long as your home is not unsanitary, you're good. It doesn't matter if baby (or your) clothes are all over the house, or if dishes are everywhere. You can wear your baby while doing chores while he/she is awake. Self care is SO important.
5. Check Your Baby's Temperature
Here's a specific one: If your baby won't stop crying and you can't figure out what's wrong, see if they may be too hot or too cold. It might not be obvious from touching them. It's an easy fix but one that is often overlooked.
6. Trust Your Instincts
Trust your instincts. We read all the books and went to the classes but in the end, we somehow just knew what our baby needed. So relax! Your world has changed - give yourself time to adjust and do not expect to be perfect immediately. Or ever...
And ignore all the horror stories from some mothers and all the boasting stories from others. Congratulations! Welcome to a world where you're all in the same boat with different paddles.
7. Take Pictures
Take all the pictures! As the years go by, you'll be happy you took all of those sleeping baby pics.
8. You Will Have Bad Days - And That's OK
Don't try to be superhuman. There's going to be days when your house looks like a tornado's torn through it because you're too exhausted to handle it. There's going to be times when the baby's crying and no matter what you do, they still cry and you can't work out why. It doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong - sometimes it's just the way it is.
9. The "Rush Of Love" Isn't Always Instant
If you don't feel bonded to your baby, don't worry. It can take days, weeks months and sometimes a year. It can even take longer than that. You're still getting to know this little human, and not every person gets that rush of love when they give birth.
10. Take Care Of Yourself First
Adopt the airline safety rule: Put your oxygen mask on before you help others. Your main job as a parent is to make sure your baby is safe. Your baby is not safe while in the care of an exhausted, starved, and depressed person, so TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. Make sure you eat, not only feed, that you take shower, not only give baths. And that you sleep, not just rock to sleep. Then you'll be fine, all of you.
11. Be Careful When Changing Baby Boys
If it’s a boy, be sure to point the little willy down when changing him. Otherwise everything will be covered in pee. His clothes, your clothes, his bed, crib, bassinet, bouncer, your hair and even face. That first week was rough.
12. This Too Shall Pass
Everything is temporary. People tell you how quickly time goes when they’re babies and that you’ll miss the baby stage - that’s true. But this also goes for when you’re struggling with colic, teething, sleepless nights etc. It doesn’t last forever, so deal the best way you can in that moment and remember, it’s temporary.
13. Every Baby Is Different
Remember that every baby is different. Just because something worked for one mum and her baby doesn’t mean it’ll work for you and yours. Everything is trial and error, so if you have to try different things before something works for your baby, that is OK.
14. People Lie
All the other parents are lying about how well their babies are sleeping.
15. You're Doing Great
From a dad after watching my amazing wife with our two wonderful kids: You're doing just great. You just brought a child into this world and that makes you amazing, no less than a superhero! No one gets it perfect but you're doing brilliant – that's why the baby smiles when they see Mummy. Just one more time, YOU ARE AMAZING!
For the dads, she's going to be tired, maybe a little cranky, but that's OK because she's amazing (yes, there's a theme here). Give her some time off, do the changes, the nap times, the feeding at least once in a while and let Mummy have some peace. Maybe enough time to catch up on some sleep, because god knows she probably needs it.
Hey mums, you're the best. Keep on being awesome.