From the moment you announce it everyone seems to know what is best for you or has the best advice to offer. Although everyone means well, sometimes it can make you feel a mixture of emotions, either that you don’t know enough, or that you were going to get it all wrong, or that you wouldn’t know what to do in certain situations.
Through my network of Mum friends, I have made a top ten list of tips that seemed to be things people most wish they had known before becoming a mum for the first time.
1. Everything is just a stage
When you are sobbing your eyes out and feel close to thinking “why did I do this” over lack of sleep/cracked nipples/baby’s crying/baby sick, remember, babies grow and develop so quickly in their first few weeks and months and so do their habits – this is a stage and will pass quickly.
2. Muslins the bigger the better
Never leave the room or house without one. Muslins will literally become your new best friend. They are multi purpose as they wipe away sick, swaddle your baby and cover you when feeding.
3. Oil is great for banishing cradle cap
Cradle cap is something lots of little ones get. I personally used a Neil’s Yard baby oil on both my babies daily on all their skin and head and never had any cradle cap problems with either of them.
You will need lots of clothes changes for your newborn baby, no doubt you’ll receive lots of outfits as gifts but trust me they get through a lot of baby grows and sleep suits in the early months. Stock up and despite my bias zips are so much easier!
5. Nursing Chair
This is literally my lifesaver! Babies seem to love them due to the fact the bouncing mimics the rocking sensation from when they were in your womb. It also provided a time when we could just relax and snuggle together with no worries and in fact sometimes meant we could both be comfortable enough to get some shut eye to make up for lack of hours during the night.
6. Moses Basket
Don’t rush to buy one just because that seems to be the norm. I have met a lot of mums including myself that all bought one only for our babies to absolutely HATE them. Reflux and colic is very common amongst newborns and babies and if your one has this then they will hate to be flat on their back in a Moses Basket. I personally used the Cacoonababy for both mine which they loved and slept very peacefully on. It helps relieve colic symptoms and also cacoons them in the same shape they would have been in in the womb.
7. Download a baby tracker app
These apps help you keep track of your babies development. Not so that you are constantly checking to see if your baby is doing as it should be but more to help you understand where your baby is at in terms of development. So, when at 4 months old after having had a baby that slept perfectly through the night from 4 weeks you now have one that is waking every two hours you can see that it is probably going through a growth spurt and sleep regression stage. (again those stages!)
8. Breastfeed/Bottle feed
Pressure, pressure, pressure to breastfeed. Don’t feel pressurised to do anything and don’t feel guilty if for whatever reason you choose to bottle feed. I have met so many mums that felt endless guilt for not breastfeeding because they couldn’t do it and felt like a failure as well. Whatever you choose to do you are feeding your baby and helping it to grow that is all that matters.
9. Be honest with other mums
There is a huge amount of pressure nowadays for women to be ‘super-mums’ We are expected to breastfeed with ease, have our baby in a routine by 10 weeks, have a baby who ‘never cries’, have lost all our baby weight by 12 weeks and look glam and fantastic and maintain a perfectly clean and tidy household! The truth is – anyone telling you that that is the case is LYING. If you are finding motherhood hard then admit it to other mummies. You’ll be surprised that when you talk about the worries and issues you are having, other mothers will admit they are in the same boat. There is a huge amount of comfort in that and just talking about things can sometimes make you feel a whole lot better.
10. Arguments with your partner
These will happen. Everyone likes to play the new happy family with the baby being the best thing that ever happened – and true enough it really is just that. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that everything behind the closed doors is those picture perfect happy smiling faces all the time. Lack of sleep and sometimes frustration in not knowing what to do or what is wrong can lead to both sides of the party venting, snapping or shouting. The best way to deal with these is always make up and to know that it isn’t just you going through it.