After giving birth, there are some things you’d wish someone had told you. You learn something new everyday when having a baby that the list of advice can become endless. But here is my top 10 pieces of advice I wish someone had told me.
10. Attend that breastfeeding workshop. You may have read everything out there about breastfeeding but you can never be over prepared. No one tells you in advance not to panic the first few days you try breastfeeding. Remember that you and baby are learning something new together. Don’t feel wrong if baby doesn’t latch on correctly the first few times. It takes practice for you both. If you plan on bottle feeding, don’t feel guilty to take that route either. It’s your choice and you will know what is right for you and your baby. Be confident in your decision. And do not feel like a loser when it doesn’t go as smoothly as you thought it would. Bonus tip:Have a breast pump ready before giving birth. By day three after birth, I was in desperate need of a pump because of the engorgement.
9. Laundry laundry laundry. It’s bad enough washing your own clothes, but once baby is here you’ll find yourself doing laundry for baby everyday. Don’t try to avoid this by buying loads of clothes for baby. They’ll grow so fast you won’t get round to them wearing all the clothes enough. With all the spit up the first few months, your washing machine will be working overtime. Bonus tip: I found covering the sofa with a throw a lot easier to clean than to keep washing the sofa covers and cushions. You do not want that spit up to seep through to your sofa cushions either. Nightmare!
8. That uncontrollable passing of wind will end… eventually. If you’re planning on having a natural birth, it’s never too early to start doing your pelvic floor exercises. It really does make a difference. You’ll discover that with almost every movement you make after birth, you’re suddenly let one go by accident. No matter how hard you think you can control it, unfortunately it’s uncontrollable. Your muscles down below will have been through so much trauma after birth that it takes a while for you to be able to gain that strength and control back. It’s natural, embarrassing, but natural and it will eventually go back to “normal”.
7. Don’t play the “who’s more tired” game, there’s never a winner. There will be loads of moments when you feel completely overwhelmed and emotional. It’s absolutely normal. But make sure you talk to your partner or whoever you have helping you. Don’t forget that they’re new to it too. No one will know how you feel unless you tell them, no matter how silly you may think it is, get it off your chest before it takes over you. If you have any friends who have children of their own, or a local mum group, it’s always worth talking to them and 9/10 times, they’ve felt or are feeling the same as you too. Talking to someone who can relate really helps because you will get a constructive response from someone with experience.
6. You’ll never use the loo alone again. Well, not for the first few months anyway. If you’ve decided to take maternity leave or are a full time mum with no nanny, good luck trying to do your business on the bog in peace during the day when you’re home alone with baby. Get a bouncy chair that you can put baby in while you sort yourself out. Sounds completely strange but trust me, you’ll have no other choice.
5. Don’t feel let down when guest visits start to decrease. Everyone has priorities and yours is baby so don’t take it personally when friends visit you less. Take photos of baby and send it to your friends so they get to see how you and baby are doing. Just because they stop visiting doesn’t mean they aren’t interested still.
4. Take photos and videos everyday. Baby will grow and change every day and you don’t want to miss any chance to have a memory snapped to look back on. When you get to 6 months, you’ll look back at the photos/videos and reminisce about those sleepless nights or the non stop crying and realise what a great job you’ve done. You’ll miss the days that baby was so small so it’ll be nice to be able to look back.
3. Smile and be polite when people offer advice. Some people may think that offering advice before you’ve asked for it is helpful. Not in all cases. Sometimes you may feel annoyed or second guess your choices. Remember that you are your baby’s mother and you know your baby best. Take all the advice into consideration but don’t take their word for it. Every baby is different and your maternal instinct will usually be correct. Just be polite when the 10th person gives you the same advice that you already know/learnt.
2. Don’t panic about milestones. Nowadays you can find so much information about baby milestones everywhere. From books to magazines to the internet. When you read into it too much, you may find yourself panicking if baby hasn’t developed as they say he/she should have. Baby will let you know when he/she is ready. He/she will develop in their own time, so just enjoy everything as it comes.
1. Always make an effort and stay calm. Part of your role as a mother is to be there for your baby and to teach them. Be present, make a conscious effort to play with them and teach them new things. Don’t let sleep deprivation rob you of your special time with them. Put your devices down, turn off the TV and read them a book, sing a song or just pull funny faces. When baby cries and you’re at your wits end, stay calm. Distract them with toys or a song, anything to help them forget why they’re crying. Cuddles always work.