Nothing rocks you to your core like a newborn baby. The love is overwhelming.
But so are the sleepless nights, endless learnings, nappies and visitors.
Here’s our tips to help you survive the first 12 weeks. Practical, honest and trusted words of wisdom to make adjusting to motherhood far less daunting.
Here’s what every new mumma needs to know…
1. Speak Honestly, Sleep Often
Seems obvious, sure. But it’s seriously important for new mums’ physical and emotional health to get as much sleep as possible. Sleep deprivation is torture, literally. That’s why it’s wise to take the chance to sleep when baby sleeps. Of course, the dishes might not be done but in those early, sleep-deprived weeks survival should be the only thing on your mind. If the day comes when you feel like you’re not coping it’s time to speak up. This could mean simply telling someone who wants to visit that ‘it doesn’t suit today’ or realising you’re really not feeling good in yourself. Self-care and honest talk is imperative. Speak to a trusted friend, health professional or your early childhood nurse.
2. Your Baby Needs You, Not Superwoman
New mums feel the pressure to wear ‘all the hats’ and create the impression of a seamless transition. Trust us, its only on Instagram or TV that new mums have perfect homes, all-white outfits and sleeping babies. Let go of the stereotypes and, for the short term, surrender yourself to what’s important… your baby. Falling in love with a little person who’s just blown-your-whole-world-upside-down is a massive adjustment. The vacuuming can wait.
3. Your Baby Will Cry and It's OK
When you’re first faced with a distressed baby it can be overwhelming. You’ll frantically run through the mental checklist trying to make her stop. Sometimes you can solve this problem easily. Sometimes you can’t. Baby’s cry for so many reasons. They can be hungry (try a boob or bottle). Windy (lay them over your knees). Nappy rash (Use a barrier cream to ease the rash, Covitol is the perfect choice). Cold (Sleeping bags are awesome). Tired (Straight to bed). Over tired (Try the carrier for extra comfort). The list goes on. And on. Sometimes, just like adults, babies have bad days. Newborn babies scream blue murder. It’s okay. Reality is your baby will not just be blissfully sleeping all the time. This is not a reflection on your abilities as a mum.
4. Follow Your Instincts but Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions
From friends to family, health care professionals to the checkout operator at the local shops the minute you’ve a baby, you’re bombarded with information. Mostly contradictory, of course. The smart answer to all well-meaning advice is, ‘thanks, I’ll think about that’ followed with a swift topic change. The even smarter approach is to trust yourself. Following your instincts and being confident in what advice you will (and won’t take) is necessary for your sanity! In short, if you don’t know the answer – ask questions! If you don’t want the advice – ignore it.
5. Never Turn Down Help
One of the most important rules of new parenting is accept all offers of help. We repeat, accept all offers. Now is not the time to be proud. People offer you help because they genuinely want to – shock – help you. Whether its bringing meals, nursing the baby while you shower, grabbing your groceries or hanging out a load of washing, graciously and willingly accept any and all!
6. Build Your Village
As a new mum being surrounded by your chosen peeps makes for a happier, more supportive beginning to motherhood. As soon as you’re ready join a mothers group. Find a fabulous GP. Visit the early childhood centre. Try playgroup. Whoever you choose, build a trusted inner circle. These people will be your mummy-go-to’s, they’ll recommend products, tell you the truth, love your babe, be your cheerleader and pass tissues when you’re sad. Sharing the journey is invaluable.
7. Accept You Are the Best Mum For This Baby
I don’t know any new mum that hasn’t looked at a tiny baby in her arms and had a fleeting moment of absolute-freaking-panic. Wondering if you’re doing a good job is part of the enormity of your caring. It’s strange logic but it’s a reflection that you care so very much. Of course, the answer is, you’re doing awesome. Stop worrying and try to live in the moment. Before you realise it that little bundle of joy will be slamming their bedroom door and arguing about a very reasonably imposed curfew. Trust us, you are the best mum for this baby. He may not have come with a manual but you’re doing a stellar job of figuring it out.
8. Know This, Too Shall Pass
Being a new mum is a very intense period in your life. Hormones. Changes. Responsibility. Tiredness. Buckets of love. And buckets of washing. It’s a challenging time and an incredibly steep learning curve. When you’re knee deep in the trenches it can feel as though this period many never end. The truth however is that someday around the three-month mark your baby will sleep a little longer, laugh a little louder and you’ll have managed a hot, uninterrupted shower for at least 6 minutes. And you’ll realise the fog has lifted and this motherhood gig? It’s the best job in the world.