So, since A was born, apart from not sleeping a lot, I’ve spent a lot of time Googling and reading about baby stuff. I read lots before he was born and we talked about how we’d (try to) do things but lots of our best laid plans went out of the window so I thought I would share my top tips for any new Mums/Mums-to-be who have stumbled upon my ramblings!
- Enjoy every day! That’s a lot harder than it sounds when you’re physically and mentally exhausted but these 6 months have already utterly flown by and A has changed sooooo much and I’m already reminiscing about how tiny he was. Your baby will probably help you out with this one a lot and it will probably be on a day when you’re absolutely shattered that they just look at you in a certain way that makes your heart melt (bleurgh, so soppy, but it’s true) or do something for the first time that makes you think they’re the best thing ever ever (which they are to you of course).
- Trust your instincts! You may be a first time Mum but you know your baby best so go with your instinct and do what works for you. You’ll probably be given lots of advice from other people, whether you asked for it or not, but times change, advice changes and no baby is the same so go with your gut!
- If you’ve followed number 2, then you may be reading on and ignoring my advice – good stuff! In which case, here are some super helpful resources:
- Wonder Weeks
- Kelly Mom; there’s so much useful stuff here that whenever I Google anything breastfeeding related I also add ‘Kellymom’ into the search but I’ve found these articles very helpful: Newborn breastfeeding, Growth spurts, Nursing to sleep and Fast let down
- Timeline of a breastfed baby
- Timeline of baby and toddler sleep
- And some less helpful but interesting/funny things:
- The Truth About Maternity Leave
- Friendship Manifesto (a few swearwords here; you’ve been warned!)
- Be flexible! As much as I am a humongous planner and like to have a structured life (erm…understatement), I’ve
quicklylearnt that sometimes you just have to go with the flow and accept that you’re not going to make it to meet someone or be able to go to a baby group or more often than not, even make it to places/people on time. No big deal. Even the day when A went through 3,4 or 5 outfits (I don’t remember) and I didn’t get dressed until nearly lunch time and then got drenched in so much vomit that I ended up sat in only my knickers in the living room (with the blinds closed!) at 3pm one Friday afternoon. Needless to say we didn’t make it out of the house that day! Similarly, I didn’t think we’d give A any food until much nearer 6 months but after numerous food grabbing incidents we just went with his signals and it’s been very stress free so far and I guess he started to play with food from about 5 months.
- Be realistic! Before A was born I thought I’d be able to put him down for a nice long 2 hour afternoon nap and get on with some housework, or do something crafty or cook tea. Ha ha ha ha ha. Whilst I’m sure that some babies are much better nappers than A, the point I’m trying to make is that I was unrealistic. I expected the sleepless nights and I think that made it easier to deal with them but it’s taken me a lot longer to accept that daytime naps aren’t straightforward and that I just have to lie/sit/feed/push/walk or whatever it takes to help A sleep and that I won’t have any hands free time for myself. No big deal.
- Find like-minded Mums to be around (aka your Mama Tribe) whether that be in person or virtually. For me, this has been Sheffield Slings, most especially their Facebook group(s). Although Mr.J refers to this as ‘the sling cult’, I found it incredibly invaluable to read lots of questions and comments from other like minded people who were going through the same things as me or things I would be going through soon. And whilst I have well and truly slid down the slippery slope of slings (and would totally encourage someone to try them out) using a sling is a personal decision, just like every other parenting thing so I’ll leave it up to you to see if you want to find your local sling library!
- Don’t buy so much stuff! Wait until baby is here to work out what you need and also see if you can borrow things or buy second hand. Yes I’m a tight a*** and I justified buying (often from eBay) stuff before A was here because I was worried that I’d be induced on 23rd December and we wouldn’t be able to buy anything we needed, but there are a few bits and pieces which we’ve not really used at all or which I’d choose something different if I were buying now. Again, no big deal but if I were doing it again I’d appreciate that advice or being rational enough to listen to the more sensible part of my brain which was telling me that at the time.
I’m sure there are loads of other things I’d tell myself if I had a time turner, tardis, Delorean or other time travelling device but those are the ones my sleep-deprived, chocolate (yummm!) fuelled brain can think of and write about. I hope they help!!