Advice for a New Mum
So you’ve got your baby in the back of the car and you’re on your way home…a crazy feeling I know…you’re in discomfort and all you want is your own house and probably your own bed, and maybe even a wine! So…what’s next? Welcome to a new chapter in your life…
To call having kids life changing really is an understatement, and I don’t mean that in any sort of condescending way…they really are a total shocker to the system in so many ways (good and bad and physically and emotionally - let’s be honest here). They will disarm you in ways you didn’t think possible and make most days great but make other days serious hard work. Obviously I love my boys, feel like I need to get that in for the avoidance of any doubt - well most of the time anyway - and they enhance our life in certain ways I didn’t expect but there are some days I wish they would just do one for a few hours whilst I get it together and manage to get through more than one thing on the to do list. There is no greater relief than when they are both asleep at the end of the day, and that’s the truth – anyone who begs to differ is lying! I am also that parent that goes into their rooms just to look at them whilst ‘semi’ missing them…but that’s as far as it goes…I’m fuming if they wake up!
So…let’s get down to it…a rather extensive but not exclusive list of things you need to know/will experience/eye openers for your first few weeks as a New Mum. This is based solely on my experience and there is no right or wrong way, it’s just your way:
- Firstly, no one knows what they’re doing, let’s get that out there - we’re all just working it out and that now includes you so welcome to the club!
- The first two weeks are boring – just saying!
- What time was his/her last bottle or feed? Most asked question EVER in the first few weeks! You can remember what Holly Willoughby wore that morning but what time you last fed your baby…don’t have a clue! You also become obsessed with how much and how frequently your baby has fed.
- People want to come and visit you – make sure this is on your terms and at your times…and make sure they come to you, never the other way round. If they bring snacks even better! Pregnant with your second or third child…no one is that bothered, they’ll just casually decide to see you and your new born a few months in…true story.
- On a similar note don’t feel the need to feed anyone more than a biscuit and a brew - you don’t want anyone overstaying their welcome. But by all means if you fancy baking a cake, go for it.
- Put any overbearing parents or in laws in their place asap…mine were amazing but this isn’t always the case…heard some horror stories over the years…be firm.
- It’s hard to go the toilet for the first time after giving birth…it’s true…I paced the bathroom like a dog for days! But the relief when it’s over…phew! Getting cold sweats just thinking about it.
- Make noise around your baby…you don’t have to whisper when he/she is asleep, get him/her used to noise – I used to hoover around Tommy napping in the kitchen and he was totally used to it. Disclaimer – doesn’t work quite as well as they get older!
- Get out the house EVERY day even for a walk round the block…fresh air does great things for the mind, body and soul (obviously when you’re fully recovered and feel good enough to).
- There are some real Debbie Downers out there, both online and in playgroups etc or just nosy crows you’ll meet on the street – take not a blind bit of notice of them…they all have their little snippets of advice for new Mums that are as much use and as much needed as the sticker on a bag of ‘sharer’ sweets – no one EVER needs these! And if you do, we wouldn’t get on.
- Playgroups/classes – Oh how these can be the best thing and also the worst thing ever. Give them a go and if you don’t like them don’t worry about it, you don’t have to enjoy singing nursery rhymes whilst some stranger taps a tambourine…and your 2 month old baby hasn’t got the foggiest, so don’t feel guilty. Find your own tribe of likeminded Mums and do what makes you happy (your baby is just coming along for the ride, these groups are for the new Mums really).
- If you only feel comfortable leaving the house with your make up on and hair done – don’t feel guilty about this…you go for it. Do what makes you feel good. Having my game face on would always make me feel stronger - don’t know why but it worked for me. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad Mum because you’ve made time for 15 minutes in front of the mirror.
- There are some real and hilarious people you can follow on Instagram – get finding them – they tell it how it is and you’ll realise you’re not on your own.
- Becoming a Mum can be a lonely time. You’re out of your usual working routine and you’re paving a new one for yourself. It can be daunting and scary… try to embrace it…do whatever you want to do not what you think you should do, life doesn’t end when you have kids, you just have to find your new flow. My life is much more enhanced now and I’ve never been happier, but it takes time.
- Having a baby is hard on your relationship (even the strongest and toughest ones) – there is a new priority now and a rather demanding one at that. And with this change, needs to come understanding and hard work from both of you.
- Make time for you and your husband/partner to be alone and away from your baby – do this when you feel the time is right and you feel ok about being away or even just going out for the evening…but this is super important…you need time to be just you (even if it’s a really knackered version of you) and you need time to be a couple…your relationship is just as important and kids can really drag it down (if you let them).
- Don’t sweat the small things – easier said than done I know but lack of sleep often means tensions are fraught and you can find yourself snapping at your partner for a trivial reason – try to remain a team and work together.
- Don’t be afraid to let your baby cry for a bit. So many Mums become a bag of nerves and super jumpy every time the baby cries, especially in public! Believe me it can wait 5 minutes and no one else is bothered only you! They’re babies and that’s what they do, don’t let it upset you. I can write this having had 2 children, I could be like this when I had Tommy…but Rex was definitely left to it. If you’re reading this pregnant with your third child you’ll know exactly what I mean.
- If you don’t want to breastfeed don’t lose sleep over it, it can be really tough– your baby will be fine and can still go on to be Prime Minister. I fed Tommy for 10 days and Rex for 8 weeks – that was plenty for me, I had things to do and places to go, couldn’t sit all day feeding them…just being honest. If you can do it and it works for you go for it but if not forget it and don’t give it a second thought.
- Trust your instincts – Mum knows best
- Make time for yourself…like getting your hair done etc…if these things made you happy before then they’ll make you happy still now…it’s not selfish!
- Take full advantage of all willing babysitters
- You’re going to be one big ball of emotions and at times you might feel like you’ve lost your mind…embrace them and try to power through…and if you feel you can’t then go and seek advice from a medical professional…things will be fine in the end.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps they say…and if you can and want to then definitely do this. However, I never did, because what made me happy was having a tidy and clean house so I would whizz round whilst Tommy slept getting everything done. Point being…Do what makes YOU happy!
- But most importantly, you will realise a new strength you didn’t know you had and when you look at your little bundle of joy you’ll be totally overwhelmed with love (when they’re peaceful and not screaming in your face that is)! The hard days are worth it and the good days are a joy! And nothing stays the same for long. It’s true…the best hood is Motherhood…you can’t beat it 🖤