Best Advice for New Mums
In the least mumsplaining way possible....
Let me tell you a little secret: When I was given this assignment title I did cringe a little. As a new mum, I really wanted help and advice when I asked for it, but I was inundated with unsolicited advice and opinions from EVERYONE and anyone that had a kid.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want to be showered with unwanted advice: get pregnant.
So I guess I’ll just go right off the bat and say:
1. MUMMY KNOWS BEST
It’s cliche, buts it’s so true. You can google as much as you like, you can ask everyone and their dog for help, but ultimately, YOU know your child best. Even if you’re unsure, even if you’ve never done the mum thing before: that baby is yours and your instinct and your gut will tell you what to do. Don’t listen to people that tell you ‘holding your baby will spoil them’ or that you ‘have to sleep train.’ MUMMY KNOWS BEST. Remember that and you’ll do just fine.
2. YOU REALLY DON’T NEED THAT…
You really don’t, whatever you’re looking at online or in Mothercare, you probably don’t need. Baby food maker? Use the same things you use to make your own food. A million plastic toys? Trust me, they won’t want ANY toys until they are at least 6 months; and even then they will prefer your spoon or the TV remote or the dogs collar over anything you buy them, so save your money until they learn how to ask for things… cause then you’ll really need it.
3. FED IS BEST
I exclusively breastfed my son. It worked for me, I was lucky enough to have an easy journey. However you feed your child is your choice and your business. Do not let ANYONE tell you it’s wrong. If your baby has a full belly, it’s right for you and your little family.
4. LEARN TO EMBRACE BODILY FUNCTIONS
Because you’re about to be covered in them for the next few years… Motherhood is no place for the squeamish, so get over it right now.
5. ENJOY EVERY MOMENT
The days and months will go by so fast and before you know it they will turning one, and you’ll find yourself thinking, 'How is this possible? I literally gave birth yesterday.' Milestones fly by and I have to stop myself saying, 'I can’t wait till he crawls/walks/talks,’ because then suddenly he does, and he’s a whole new child over night, and that special little stage has gone forever. The newborn bubble is over in a flash, so stay in bed, turn down visitors, and enjoy every tiny little moment.
6. IT'S OK NOT TO BE OKAY
Being a mama is HARD, it is probably the hardest thing you will ever do. Nothing will ever make us as happy, sad, proud and scared as motherhood. The blur of emotions, the terror of knowing you have this tiny life in your hands… Finding a new version of yourself after giving birth, finding your way as a mother whilst recovering from the huge task of pregnancy and birth, all of it can be exceedingly overwhelming. Give yourself time and space, don’t be afraid to sometimes put your needs first or say, ‘Hey, I need help, I need space, I need time.’ Which brings me to my next point…
7. FIND TIME FOR YOU
Once a day, once a week, whether it's a long bath, a yoga class, walking the dogs or going to a cafe for a coffee minus baby, once you feel ready, give baby to a grandparent or your partner just for an hour. Take some breathing space. Mama selfcare is important, because without mama being on form, baby won’t thrive how they should.
8. FIND TIME FOR YOUR PARTNER
If you have a partner, now is the time you will neglect your relationship. Without meaning to, your partner will go from being the most important person in your life to not even on your mind most of the time! It’s normal, it’s natural, you have to give all of you to this new little person. But don’t forget about your other half! They are just that ‘your other half,’ they need love too; they are there to help and support you. Once you escape the newborn bubble, it's easy to get caught up in 'baby baby baby' whilst perhaps they return to work, and suddenly you’re just two people that share a bed. I am very guilty of neglecting my relationship, Roman is one next month and I’ve only just started feeling like I have the energy to put back into myself and my fiancé. Find a little time for yourselves each week, my fiancé and I have just decided to get a babysitter one morning a week so we can go climbing together; we aren’t ‘going out to dinner’ types, and by the time the evening roles around, we are dead on our feet. Climbing is a chance for us to rediscover our relationship and get back in shape!
9. MAKE MUM FRIENDS
Join a group, get the Hoop app, and find instamums that are just like you! I didn’t think I needed them, but my god, I’m glad I have them. Also, once your baby starts crawling you’ll want another baby for them to throw things around with, and someone for you to bitch about how tired you are with….
10. BE MINDFUL AND ETHICAL
This is a personal one for me, but try to raise your child to be mindful, to be aware of world issues… climate change is a huge issue for me. I’m raising my son vegan, and I will teach him why: That it is better for the planet, that it is a lifestyle that promotes kindness to all beings. I also try to be as green and ethical in the products I buy; I try not to overload with too much STUFF! I buy secondhand, or handmade, or local and organic. Many children brands now have sustainable lines; there are a lot of plastic free options for everything from bottles to toys, so raise your child to be the best human being they can be.