Once you have your beautiful bundle in your arms, you’ll no doubt be inundated with well meaning, but often conflicting advice. Essentially, there’s just a handful of things you really need to remember – the rest is just noise. So turn down the volume and tune in to your own instincts, because this is all you need to know when you become a mum.
1. Accept a helping hand
There’s a tendency to feel like everything should come naturally once you’ve had your baby. And when things get a little tough, sometimes we let our pride and high expectations get the better of us. But remember, there’s no need to become a martyr just because you’re a mother. If friends turn up with hot meals – say thank you and enjoy a night off cooking. If your mum offers to hang out the washing and do the ironing, accept with gusto! You’re recovering from birth, and learning how to feed and soothe your baby. Let that be your focus, and accept any offer of help that will allow you to do that.
2. Sleep when you can
If you’re getting very little sleep at night, it can feel like everything is piling on top of you very quickly. Exhaustion can have a profound effect on your health, both mental and physical. Newborns may take a little while to get into the swing of long stretches of sleep – so the old advice to sleep when they do really is apt. Even if it’s just a 15 minute power nap, you’ll feel somewhat recharged.
If it’s possible, allow someone else to watch your baby so you can nap. This may be your partner, mother-in-law or trusted friend. It’s ok to be exhausted and need a break – don’t be afraid to ask for help.
3. Trust your mother’s intuition
If those first moments of motherhood taught you anything – it’s that you and the little being you just birthed are in tune. He is part of you, and you of him, and that’s why you need to trust your gut when it comes to your newborn. Don’t assume that just because you’re a new mum, you need to break some magical ‘mum-code’ to be able to decipher what your baby wants and needs.
If you feel that something isn’t quite right, it probably isn’t. If you think your baby isn’t feeding properly, sleeping right, or producing enough wet nappies – seek some advice. And if you get brushed off, get a second opinion. Nobody in this world knows your baby as well as you do. Trust and believe in your own intuition.
4. Stick to a routine
Babies love knowing what’s coming next. They thrive on routine, and in the very early days this is nothing more than feed, play, sleep. In the case of newborns, there’s really no play – maybe just a lullaby or two before those little eyelids are heavy again.
This is also important to remember at bedtime. A routine of bath, feed, bed is proven to relax babies, and they will (hopefully) eventually begin to recognise that this routine ought to come before a long stretch of sleep at night. Do whatever works for your family, but ensure you’re consistent.
5. Care for yourself, as well as your baby
A happy mum means a happy bub. It takes time to get the hang of feeding, burping, changing, sleep routines – let along fitting in everything else you used to do before your baby came along. Try and carve out a little time for yourself each day. Perhaps it’s a cuppa and a bath while someone else listens out for the baby. Even just having the time to wash your hair, and get out of your pyjamas can give you the boost you need to face the day.
This, of course, links back to allowing others to help you. Don’t be too proud to say you need some down time. Life has just become so much busier – sometimes you need to press pause and remember who you are and what makes you happy.
And remember, you will always be you – even though you are now a mum too. Try not to lose yourself as you discover motherhood, because you are now someone’s entire world.
(This is a sponsored post for Oricom)