An old school friend of mine recently announced that she is pregnant with her first child. I met up with her and passed on a pregnancy guide that I found useful when I was expecting my daughter. Whilst flicking through the pregnancy guide, I began to recall how excited and overwhelmed I felt about becoming a mother and started to think about what advice I would give to new mums. I think it’s important for new parents to follow their instincts and naturally settle into their own routine but there are three pieces of advice that I would offer.
Enjoy being a parent
This sounds blatantly obvious but many mums find that part of being a parent means having to juggle many different tasks and responsibilities, which causes stress. When I had my daughter (whose nickname is Little Duck), I decided to leave my 9 to 5 job and set up my hypnotherapy practice. In theory it meant that I would spend lots of time with my baby as I would be working from home. In reality I spent a lot of time trying to promote my business so I put a lot to effort into blogging and updating social media. The time I was spending with Little Duck wasn’t really quality time as I was either on my smart phone or writing my latest blog post.
I struggled to find the right balance and found that I wasn’t enjoying parenting as much as I should have been as I was stressing about the business and worried about earning enough money. It was a difficult decision but I stopped actively promoting my hypnotherapy practice as I was struggling with the amount of work involved. I still get clients but they come to me through word of mouth. I found work with a care company as a bank support worker, which means I can pick up shifts if my business is particularly quiet. It takes the financial pressure of me and it means that Little Duck doesn’t have to push my smart phone out of my hand or close my laptop to get my attention.
Carefully consider any advice you are given before you accept or reject it.
I was sometimes too quick to dismiss any advice from my mother-in-law because I thought she worried too much. She was always expressing concern about potential allergies and illnesses that my daughter may develop and it felt as though she just wanted to wrap her granddaughter up in cotton wool. It was tempting to ignore her advice, but I had to remind myself that as a mum and a nurse, she often knew what she was talking about.
New mums will find that they are given a list of things they should or should not be doing in accordance with set guidelines. At Little Duck’s nine month check, the health visitor told me I was breastfeeding her too much and I should start putting her in her own room to sleep. The fact that she slept in bed with me and I still breastfed her through the night to settle her to sleep was apparently a big no no. I really started to worry and desperately tried to get her to sleep in her cot but this proved stressful for both of us as she just wasn’t ready. Co-sleeping may not have been on the approved guidelines but it worked for us and it was the only way we could both get a good night’s sleep.
Take each day as it comes.
There will be difficult days when your baby won’t settle or sleep and you feel exhausted but those days won’t last forever. On the flip side there’ll be perfect days when your baby will take all their feeds and sleep through the night. Just enjoy those days and don’t spend too long trying to figure out the secret formula for having a good day. I would spend ages trying to figure out whether putting Little Duck to bed an hour later or giving her a little extra milk was the reason why she had a good night’s sleep. There will be obvious issues such as teething or colic that cause a baby to be upset but sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for good and bad days. Babies can have good and bad moods just like the rest of us!
What advice would you give to fellow mums and mums-to-be?