Tips for new mums

The Birth & Baby Network

new baby survival

Adjusting to being a mum

So, you have become a mum, you have this new baby – a new bundle of joy, who you will love and protect like a lioness but, oh my god WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??? That was how I felt when I became a mum for the first time – there was a beautiful, tiny vulnerable little creature in my arms and all I could think was I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR HER, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND LET ME HAVE A BABY???

It’s fair to say that the first few weeks were mixed – love and pride combined with sheer terror and tiredness. I felt like I lurched from one issue to another and I gave myself a really hard time over feeding, sleeping, getting dressed and getting out the house.

But eventually things started to click into place – I could feed my baby, I let her snuggle in bed next to me at night, I cuddled her, I kissed her, I fell completely in love with her, I gave myself a break and muddling through each day became normal.

Getting through those first weeks and months is probably a rite of passage, something we all have to live through to find our feet and our confidence. But I wish I had known or believed that it would get better, that I would adjust and that it would all be ok in the end. Becoming a mum was the steepest learning curve for me and the day I realised that everyone else was just muddling through and making it up just like me, the world seemed a better place! The pressure I was putting on myself to be the perfect mum like everyone else eased and I started to appreciate the joy of all those cuddles with my baby, of being beached on the sofa with my baby fast asleep on my lap and I cared a little less about the state of the house, about opening the door to the postman with my breast hanging out (it happened just the once, honest!) and about what I ‘should’ be doing and achieving. The tiredness continued, as did the feeling of not knowing what I was doing but I stopped comparing my baby to other babies, I got to know my baby, I started to trust my instincts more, I chilled out and the husband breathed a sigh of relief!

I asked other mums for some tips for new parents…

  • Hide your clocks and watches and just be on baby time

  • Watch the baby not the clock (or calendar when it comes to other skills and development)

  • Don’t be forced into doing things you’re not ready for – guests, going out, etc – do what feels right for you and your family

  • Be kind to yourself and talk to people who are kind. Try to filter out the negative, judgemental or smug comments. Take reassurance and help when you need it, but on your terms. Be kind to yourself.

  • There are lots of different ways to do things and it all pans out in the end.

  • Laugh lots, be nice to each and if anyone tells you to enjoy every minute – poke them in the eye 😉

  • Sit and enjoy your baby for as long as you can, especially in the first few weeks – you need to get to know each other and this will help you figure out what they need.

  • Other mums may look perfect but they are not – have faith in yourself!

  • Take advice with a pinch of salt

  • People lie about how well they are coping so don’t compare yourself to someone else’s false ideal

  • Don’t set your expectations too high – there really is no such thing as super mum!

  • Look for information and support rather than advice

  • Try to trust yourself and your instincts and you’ll be fine. Don’t think you are the only one sitting and wondering if you are getting it right because we all do it! Take your time to get to know your child and allow yourself a hot bath every now and again!

  • Build yourself a community – in the past we had extended family to help ease the load. I’ve built my own ‘family’/community of people I trust and whose parenting I respect – through forum, antenatal classes, La Leche League, etc. It’s invaluable!

  • Ignore anyone who says things like “you should”, “you ought”, “you must” or even “If I were you…”

  • Take the time to rest and adjust in the first 40 days of new babe and motherhood

  • Listen to your instincts because they are probably right. Also, mummy friends are a god send because they make you realise who are not alone

  • Make decisions based on information from various sources and apply what suits your family and lifestyle best

  • Throw our all the books and don’t second guess your instincts. Also, don’t compare your baby to others because all babies are different

me-at-centre

Written by Janine Rudin
a specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting | birthandbabycompany.com

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About Janine 583 Articles
I am an antenatal teacher, doula, baby massage instructor, postnatal educator, life coach, writer, mum, wife, friend and, sometimes, just me. As an experienced and qualified practitioner, I specialise in pregnancy, birth and early parenting - my aim is to listen, inform, support and reassure when needed. I have worked with parents since 2002 and I set up Birth, Baby & Family in 2011 to provide good information, a different perspective and links to the best products and services for families. I set up the Birth, Baby & Family Centre in 2014 to provide a welcoming, friendly and supportive space for parents across Tyneside.

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