You’ve probably heard the saying ‘babies don’t come with a manual!’. This isn’t entirely accurate. There are, in fact, countless books, articles and even videos on how to raise a child. But sometimes the best advice comes from one mum to another.
My babies are no longer babies, but I still remember so clearly when they were – and these are the things I wish someone had told me. I hope these tips help in your parenting journey. Why not share them with other mums who may need an encouraging reminder?
1. Babies cry – it’s not your fault
It’s their way of communicating. Sometimes they are hungry. Sometimes they are tired. And sometimes they just cry because they are babies and that’s what babies do. All you can do is be there, try to soothe them and remain patient. And, when it all gets too much, take a breather.
2. It doesn’t matter how you feed your baby
Bub certainly won’t remember whether you breastfed him or bottle fed him. But he will remember that you were the one looking down at him, holding his hand, and staring into his beautiful eyes while doing so. That’s all that matters (regardless of how many people tell you otherwise).
3. It doesn’t matter how you choose to put your baby to sleep
As long as it’s safe and comfortable for everyone, then it’s fine. If it means co-sleeping, then co-sleep. If it means rocking your baby for hours or letting her suck on a dummy, or feeding from a bottle, then do it.
4. It will get easier
Routines take time. But eventually, you will get on a schedule that the whole family can adjust to.
5. People are only trying to help
Your friends, family and partner may be overwhelming you with unwanted advice but it’s usually because they love and care for you (and that new little one in your arms). Try to take the advice in stride and accept help from the people who are there for you, even if they are driving you nuts.
6. You are doing everything right
There is no one ‘right’ way to parent. The right way to parent your child is to love her. If you’re doing this, then you’re doing it right. Give yourself a break.
7. As prepared as you are, nothing will prepare you for the overwhelming love
You could have every baby book, every bouncer and every carrier on the market, but nothing, and I mean, nothing, can prepare you for the love you will feel for your new baby. It may not happen right away (and don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t) but it will come in time.
It’s an indescribable love that we mums are so lucky to feel every time we look at (or even think about) our babies. Best of all, it never fades, even as they grow older. As a mum with a six-year-old and a three-year-old, I can promise you this is true.
8. Your baby loves you too
You are the world to your baby. You are her safe haven, her nurturer, her feeder and protector. You may be sleep deprived, smelly and swollen. Your baby doesn’t mind. Cherish these moments of perfect imperfections. Because soon enough your baby will be walking and talking (and not afraid to tell you that you look like you haven’t slept in days) – just ask any mum with a pre-schooler!
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