Becoming a new mum can seem scary, and you’re probably soaking up as much parenting advice as you can. Having a baby is a tremendous joy, but it can be a tremendous amount of work too. Take on this new, exciting chapter in your life with my best tips for new mums.
Trust Your Instincts
One of the most important things I learned from being a new mum is trusting my gut. Stressing over every little thing, wondering if I was doing it “right” took some of the joy out of being a new mum. Listen to the advice medical professionals give, listen to other moms. Others’ experiences can always be valuable.
But when it comes down to it, no one will know your baby better than you. Once I learned to trust myself to know what was best for my baby, things got so much easier.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is essential as a new mum. Letting yourself become depressed, anxious, sleep-deprived, or starved because all your energy is directed at your little one is not good for your little one! Your baby’s care will suffer if your care suffers.
Whenever I started to feel overwhelmed, I would let my partner take baby for a few minutes so I could calm down. I would also consciously remind myself to take a shower and eat regular meals whenever I bathed or fed my little one.
Each Baby Is Different
Connecting with other new mums is a great way to exchange advice and stay social when you first have your little one. I made some of my closest friends from these new mum support groups. But I also got into the bad habit of comparing my baby with my friends’.
Each baby develops at a different rate, so measuring your kid’s growth against your friends’ kids only leads to unnecessary stress. The baby stage doesn’t last forever, so embrace it instead of competing with other mums.
Establish a Routine
Making a routine for yourself and baby will benefit you both. I tried to put my baby down for a nap at the same time every day, then I’d catch up on sleep myself! We were both on the same rhythm, which made my job easier.
I also kept track of when baby ate and wet and made a dirty nappy. Doing this lets you tap into your baby’s natural routine, so you can try to arrange feeding and nap times around this.
And don’t forget, your routine is just as important as your little one’s. In the same vein of self-care, try to go out at least once a day. I made a routine of taking a 20-minute walk every morning as a new mum. The fresh air and exercise quickly became one of the most important parts of my day.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
You’re only human, and no one expects you to take this on alone. Friends and family often want to help out but aren’t sure how. If you need extra support, reach out.
Sometimes when I was feeling particularly stressed, I would ask my parents to watch baby for an afternoon so I could have time for myself. I would either relax and take a hot bath or try to get more chores done around the house.
I also relied on my own mum quite a bit for parenting advice and she would frequently come over to my house in those first weeks to help me. Her support wasn’t always just advice on changing a dirty nappy, she also helped boost my confidence in myself as a capable new mum. Support from family and friends like this is invaluable.
Use Skin-to-Skin Contact for an Unsettled Baby
If something’s awry with your little one, try skin-to-skin contact. This helps calm baby down and is even a great bonding moment for both of you. It can foster the nursing relationship between you, too.
When it comes down to it, remember that you’re not superhuman. You don’t have to be perfect and you’re allowed to make mistakes. Take your errors in stride and keep going. Your kid won’t remember the mistakes you made, but they will remember the love and affection you heaped on them. After all, that’s the best part of being a new mum.