Words of advice for new mums

And your first piece of advice is - feel free to ignore this advice.  As a new mum you are likely to get a lot of advice in the next few weeks, most of it unasked for and much of it unwanted.  The biggest thing you can do is take courage, forge your own path and not worry what anyone else thinks.  If there was only one way of doing things then there would be only one parenting book...

The right way to parent

Having said that, here's some things that helped my mums - many of the same things came up with everyone so hopefully it will be of some use to you as well:
  1.  Breastfeeding - oh this may well be a blog post in itself...  It is not necessarily easy and doesn't always come naturally and it's not always for everyone.  Like learning to dance, both partners need to know what they're doing and sometimes baby just doesn't get it!  Seek help early on - don't wait until you're struggling.  There is a telephone service at Stepping Hill, clinics at local children's centres, national breastfeeding helpline, local breastfeeding groups.   I had an amazing midwife who helped me postnatally - I think without her I would have given up and that would've sent me over the edge. We tried loads of different positions - for me lying down helped the most until we got it.  But I also felt the difference between my two babies - they fed so differently at first, so it's definitely a two-way thing!  Just know that it does stop hurting and becomes a lovely experience.  And in the meantime, there is always Lanisoh cream!
  2. Let go of the guilt!  There are many ways to raise a happy baby so be confident in your choices, do what works for you and don't compare yourself to others.  Things often don't go the way you plan, from your birth experience, through to your feeding and sleeping choices.  It's all ok - whatever gets you through.
  3. It's hard! I spent a lot of the early days in tears - lack of sleep, pain, struggling to feed, not knowing what I was doing, hormones, railing against the change in myself.  It wasn't all loveliness by any means and that's fine - no-one enjoys the feeling that they have no idea what they are doing.  It's a new job and you wouldn't expect to know everything on your first day.   I eventually accepted my new role, worked on the feeding and began to gain confidence.  I would say though I probably should have talked to someone - if you feel sad more often than you feel happy then it would be worth mentioning this to your doctor/midwife.
  4. Sleep deprivation is torture.  Do everything you can to sleep when you can.
  5. You have no life in the early days - you're just a feeding machine. My baby didn't feed well and seemed to stay latched on for an hour but also wanted to feed every hour. So I was rooted to the spot. Make sure you have plenty to amuse you and plenty of food/drink - use the time to relax and recover rather than feeling like its stopping you from doing what you want/need to.  Ask for help when needed - all those visitors need to earn their cuddles.  Farm out the washing, cooking and shopping to others.
  6. Everything changes! It's such a steep learning curve in the early days and just when you think you've got it cracked along comes some new event in your babies life. But for every new challenge there is also new joy in your baby.  It's hard being a mummy and knowing you're responsible for how your kid turns out.  But I can honestly say it's still the best thing you'll do - so stay strong and trust yourself.  This too will pass.  So many difficult stages feel like they've lasted forever when it's only been a few days and will last only a few more
  7. Get out of the house every day - it will make you feel better and it's good for the baby.  Start with short walks and simple tasks - get milk, a treat etc. (chocolate was mentioned...)
  8. Always fill the change bag as soon as you get home, so it's one less thing to worry about or delay you when you are trying to leave the house
  9. Don't feel you need to entertain your baby all the time - sometimes they just need to sleep
  10. Try batch cooking so there are meals to hand when you have no energy.  I wish I had done this - we ate a lot of sandwiches in the early days...  Even better - get someone else to batch cook for you!
And my final bit of advice came from Lucy...

"After your 6 week check, get out to Mums, Tums & Buggies/Pilates with Sarah ;)"

I'll see you then!


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