First things first, I am by no means an expert, I’m not trying to preach to anyone or tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do. Every baby, every mum is different, I’m just sharing what worked for me. Disclaimer over.
Listen to advice, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow it.
There’s always going to be a queue of well meaning but often unsolicited advice out there, and everybody is going to have different opinions on what you should do, shouldn’t do, and how you should do it. They are just that, opinions. Ultimately, I am a firm believer that you know your own child better than anyone. End of.
Don’t be afraid to tell family how YOU want things done with your baby.
Here’s an example; if you want your baby to have a dummy but they ‘never did that for any of their kids’ well, good for them, but that’s not you. And you should tell them that, gently. At the end of the day your child isn’t theirs, and every child is different. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for others. And while we’re on the topic of one child does things one way or another, let’s talk about feeding. Obviously, at times a slightly controversial topic, even though I think it really, really shouldn’t be. I breastfed Millie, because that worked for us, I was always aware that that might not always be the case, things could change at any point. I hate the fact that mum’s are made to feel guilty for their choice of how they feed their child. The fact remains that not all mum’s are able to breastfeed, not all babies take to the boob and honestly, not all mums want to breastfeed, and that is completely their right and their choice. Why should we feel guilty for that? There’s enough pressure on new mums without making them feel bad about what works for them. There are multiple pros and cons for both breastfeeding and formula feeding. If you ask me, as long as baby is fed, loved, and happy, what difference does it make how they get their grub?
Start a good bedtime routine early, even if it doesn’t seem to be working at first.
With Amelia, from really early on, even just a few months old, I started making a distinct difference between nap time and bed time. Nap time was kept in normal daytime conditions, curtains open/lights on, nobody was made to keep quiet or anything and while she was still small her naps were in the front room with us. Then at night time she’d be bathed, boobed and a story read, the lights would be dimmed or turned off and she’d be in her moses basket in the bedroom or later her cot. This routine really worked for us and she has been great at bedtimes ever since, even now at 3 and a half.
Don’t beat yourself up.
I’ve touched on this slightly in my other points, but don’t beat yourself up for your choices. Your baby cries, doesn’t mean you’re a bad mum. You can’t breastfeed, not a bad mum. Haven’t totally worked out why your baby is crying, not a bad mum. Need 5 minutes piece, not a bad mum. We have this thing in our heads that constantly causes us to second guess ourselves and we are innately terrible for comparing ourselves to others.
Take time for yourself.
This is so, so important. I was so guilty in the beginning with Millie of not doing this. I was so terrified as a new, first time mum that when I put Millie down at night, that was the end of my day, I would stay in the room with her, reading by a little book light, my relationship did suffer because of this. There was time for me and Phil to be a couple, because I was so focused on being a mum. Thankfully our relationship is pretty strong and we’ve weathered a lot of storms and with time I realised it was ok to leave her alone at night, she was safe, she was content and after all I was only a room away. Once I realised that it was ok to take time for yourself, it was bliss to participate in things I used to do prior to Millie. Watching a movie with my man, reading with a hot cup of tea, taking a bath etc etc. Enjoy your time, you won’t get much!
Sleep when you can and as often as you can.
I was told this a lot! You are constantly be on the go, mentally and physically, babies are hard work! So make the most of catching naps with your little one, sleep as much as you can.
It’s good to have a great mom friend.
I was really lucky when I had Millie, I had a couple of friends who had kiddos a few months either side of me, both of whom had older kids too. It was great to have friends to both share my experiences with and ask advice from. And I’m still really close with these lovely ladies, and still rely on them deeply at times.
Enjoy every single second.
This is self explanatory, but babies aren’t babies for long, enjoy every single second of that time.