Having a baby means being flooded with unwanted advice. Mum Central’s Sacha Burkett is here to tell you what to abide, what to ignore and who to well and truly tell to ‘get lost!’
If you’ve a baby on the way or a brand new arrival at home you’ve likely been inundated with advice from everyone. From the accounts girls at work to your best friend’s mum and all those in between, everyone has an opinion – and you’re a little (or a lot) overwhelmed!
What to take on board and what to point-blank ignore? Most so-called pearls of wisdom will have been offered up with the best of intentions, we get that. But some can be less than helpful, so here’s our suggestions on what to let slide…
Forget the housework, it can wait
Yep, sometimes it can. But sometimes, when you’ve no clean knickers, a stack of puke-stained baby vests, a sink full of dirty mugs and visitors knocking at your door, this is a bit easier said than done. What to do? The bare minimum is more than enough. And offers of help are there to be accepted. Or buy more knickers. This is time for survival and sanity.
Love every moment
What? Even you’re stitched to the nines downstairs, your boobs are sprouting leaks, your back is killing you, you think the baby will never sleep again, yesterday and today have just rolled into one, and your eyes are actually burning you’re so freaking tired? Really? Yes, of course you adore this little person and it is the best thing you have ever done. But please don’t feel the need to love every single moment of it. I think what people mean with this doozy is to cherish the time when they’re little, because it sure does fly. But you’re not a bad person if you don’t love every second of every day. You’re just a very normal mum.
Don’t cuddle baby all that time, that’s spoiling them
I’m sorry, but is making baby feel loved, safe, secure in their parent’s arms a negative thing? Not last time I checked. Pick up and cuddle away, folks. You’ve waited 9 months for this, so enjoy.
Sleep when baby sleeps
Oh, wow this is so great in theory, damn tricky in practice. You might grab forty winks when they nap here and there in the early days, but in reality newborns naps can be all over the shop. And sometimes it’s the only chance to grab a shower! It’s sweet advice – to help you re-charge those knackered batteries – but most new mums know it’s not always realistic. Ho hum.
Breast is the only way!
New mums everywhere are bombarded with messages that breast is best. Yet despite the very best intentions, breastfeeding isn’t always sustainable or easy for all new mummies. Sadly, not everyone gets this. Yes, feeding your child and watching them thrive is amazing and beautiful – but this should be the case whether it’s through breast or bottle. Remember that.
Get Into a routine right now
Get into a solid routine when you and your baby are ready, and not before. If you find you’re falling into one at 6 weeks, good for you. If it’s at 3 months, great. If it’s 6 months, you know what? That’s absolutely fine too. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
You must read the Gina Ford/Baby Whisperer/Super Nanny book
There are tons of baby gurus out there flogging their books to help you reach parenting zen. Sure if you want to dip into to one or two, do so, they might be your bag. But feel under no obligation to adopt all their practices from the off. Babies are all different little beings, so what works for one mama may not work for another. And as is often said, your baby hasn’t read the book (even if you have!)
The advice I like…. Be kind to yourself. And remember every bloody hard moment will pass. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Accept all offers of help but trust in yourself to do what’s best for you and your family. Because, at the end of the day, we all parent in our own unique way.
Your baby thinks you’re doing an awesome job. And frankly they’re the only opinion that truly counts.