Before we begin, I just want to say that all information read in the following post is advice from my own experiences. I am in no way a medical professional and in no way do I claim to be. If you need professional help I suggest that you seek care from a certified healthcare provider.
For the most part, one of the most joyous occasions in any woman’s life is the moment when, after months of trying, you glance at that little blue stick and see a little + sign. You are pregnant! Of course, a mix of thoughts and feelings goes through your head, amongst which are happiness, excitement, nervousness and fear. The thought of that little tiny baby can be a very daunting prospect.
All of a sudden you are responsible for another human being. Life will change but let me assure you it will change for the better. Take it from someone who knows, someone who has been there, had her life completely flipped, turned upside down, someone who right now sounds like she’s about to start quoting the fresh prince. Don’t worry I won’t but I am going to tell you some of my top tips for new mums and mums to be. From one mother winging it to another, here is what you need to know.
From the second you fall pregnant, that’s it, you have entered hormone city. One of my first tips for new mums is to prepare yourself to feel every emotion possible within the space of 5 minutes. One second I’ll be laughing my ass off, the next bawling like a baby. The most important tip I want to pass on is that it’s ok to cry. If you need to find a quiet space to have a full on breakdown, do it. Mine is the cupboard under the stairs. Afterwards, trust me, you will feel better for it.
One other thing I feel that it is important to say here is, if you don’t feel better, talk to someone. I experienced post-partum depression with Tink and it took me the better part of a year, maybe longer before I felt like myself again.
It’s strange thinking back to that time. I realise now I was walking about in a constant fog. Happiness was not an emotion I felt very often. I didn’t touch on this too much in the post on Motherhood, so I feel like, for all you new mums out there, I need to express what it was like, share my experience.
When Tink was born, I didn’t feel that attachment to him. There was nothing. I knew I loved him but my brain couldn’t accept how much my life changed. This steadily got worse. My friends were going out, going to work and I was stuck at home. I felt angry, I grudged them for living their life and I resented Tink for taking me away from my life. These are not normal emotions. This is when you realise you need to speak to someone. If you feel like this, get help. This is probably one of my most important tips for new mums. Don’t be afraid to get help.
DIY Daddy was working away at this point, so my help came from my mum. Tink and I moved in with my parents for 10 weeks. It was hard but, it was also during this time that I realised my problems were more than just physical. It was time to do something about it. As soon as I realised my truth, it seemed to make all the difference and I pulled myself out of that fog.
Over time, I have come to realise the gift I have been given in the form of my boys. They honestly make me so happy. I still have moments where I break down, where I cry in my cupboard, but it is not the same as those initial months. If you feel remotely like I did, then just know, there is a light at the end of that tunnel. Speak to your GP, Health Visitor or a family member. Get Help!
Ok so, I think we need to lighten this up a bit now. Let’s talk baby bodily functions.
Babies Poo A LOT 💩
This just has to be included in the discussion. We all know this of course but, when chatting with my family, I asked my mum and sister what their key tips for new mums would be. My brother-in-law automatically piped up, “babies 💩 A LOT”. That seems to be everybody’s first thought, so yes, it has made my top tips.
What advice can I offer though that will help you cope with the huge amount of crap babies produce? Well it can get messy, extremely messy. And of course it stinks. Babies stink! Prepare yourself to gag like you never have before. You may want to work on that gag reflex. Most of all: be quick! Don’t delay unless you really, REALLY have to. A dirty nappy can be considered a safe zone one minute but then, 10 minutes later, that poo has smooshed into their bottom and is now protruding up their torso. On these occasions, the only option is a good hose down with the shower head.
You will want to get that onesie off that baby as quick as possible. Oh and BTW, one thing I only learnt later: see the top of a baby’s vest, how it has that kind of overlap bit on the shoulders? That is so that you can stretch it down and over the baby’s body, pulling it down, instead of up over baby’s head. Genius! Wish I had known that during all the poo explosions. It only gets worse when they start eating solid food too.
So, now that we have discussed the rear end of a baby, let’s talk about our rear end…
Body, Mind & Soul
Giving birth is a bitch. It f*cks with your body, mind and soul. Heck you 💩 yourself, rip yourself a new one and let me tell you, sitting down afterwards, may not be the same experience as it once was. And let’s not forget about Piles.
My tips for new mums in coping with the aftermath, are to do your pelvic floor exercises, invest in a good butt cushion and don’t be scared to ask for help. Trust me; you may have to put cream on places you cannot see. You’ve already lost your dignity when you squeezed that wee baby out so you have nothing to lose. That’s what family/sisters are for. 😂
The one positive thing about all of this though, is that it is temporary, for the most part. I mean the worst part is over but as for your vajayjay, it will never look the same again. If it does you need to tell me you’re secret.
Between the physical aspects of having a child and the emotional toll it takes, it’s amazing why we ever go through it again, but we do. We forget the worst of it. It becomes a distant memory, a bit like the fear you get the morning after a boozy night out. You know it happened but you just can’t remember all the sordid details. That’s giving birth!
After experiencing birth, the one thing that makes it all better is holding that teeny, tiny baby. Now comes the time that you may be wondering, what do I do now? Oh man, what have I gotten myself into? One of my main top tips for new mums is that when it comes to your child, go with your instincts; follow that gut.
Follow Your Instincts
You will probably hear and read a lot of information about what you should do, why you should do it but, the best thing you can do for your baby is to follow your own instincts. Don’t listen to peer pressure. This had to make my list of top tips for new mums as when entering motherhood, you feel so much doubt, well I know I did. It’s ok to listen to advice but do what you feel is best.
Over the past 8 years with my boys, advice from health professionals has changed. It is constantly changing. When little Love Bug was born, I would give my sister advice like, “let her cry, babies cry, it’s ok, you can get her in 5 mins, have your tea.” She knew this though so it wasn’t like I was telling her what to do, Bug is her 2nd child. However, she told me that they now recommend that you don’t let a baby cry. Advice changes all the time and it is hard to keep up with. My point is, do what is right for both you and your baby.
Other people, family, friends will try to put their 2 cents in too. Just don’t feel like you need to listen. If your mum or mother-in-law becomes a know-it-all, tell them nicely to back off. 😀💗 Sorry guys!!
The same applies to breast feeding. I might get a few negative comments here but breast feeding is not the be all and end all. This is another stage where you need to listen to your instincts.
Breast will always be best. That goes without saying. However, it isn’t always the best option when it comes to the mental health of mother and child. I say this from my own experiences.
I breast fed Tink, unsuccessfully, for 8 weeks after his birth. My milk was 1 week late so from that point on, I just couldn’t keep up with him. At the time, there was so much pressure put on new mums to breast feed. I even tried a support group but it did not help. In the end, it only exasperated the post-partum depression. Now, the decision will always be up to you, whether to use formula or breast. No healthcare professional can tell you not to breast feed as it is, and always will be, what they have to advise.
It was only after I made the decision to stop, that the Health Visitor said to me, if she could have told me to stop, she would have. In her eyes, the only thing that matters is that both mum and baby are happy, but the decision has to come from you. So my next tip is, don’t be scared to make those hard decisions.
Tops Tips when Breastfeeding
Now, if you decide to breast feed, get a good nipple cream and make sure you are comfortable; i.e. choose which side and use pillows to prop your arm up if need be. I always found that if I fed on the left side, I’d sit on the left side of the sofa, and vice versa for the right.
If you decide to stop, cabbage leaves are your new best friend. You might read this and be like WHAT??? Yes honestly, they stop your milk production. I didn’t believe it at first either; thought they were having a giraffe. A tip is be prepared for the smell so, choose to stop at a time when you can spend a weekend in the house.
Lastly, the support groups do work, I’ve seen the proof and, they also act as a way to meet other mums, which is important too.
Meet Other Mums
One of the best tips for new mums that really helped me is, don’t be shy; meet other mums. Go along to those parent and toddler groups, even with a new born. It took me a while to work up the courage to go to groups where I didn’t know anyone. You are out with your comfort zone but, once that first week is by with, it is a lot easier. There will be mums there with a whole wealth of knowledge and advice. It is worth opening that door. You need other mums to talk to who understand the problems you are facing, even if it’s just moaning about those sleepless nights.
Sleep? What’s that?
I think this goes without saying but where tips for new mums are concerned, be prepared for the sleepless nights. This does get easier, I promise you, but, until that child leaves home, you will never truly sleep properly again.😂
So how do I cope with those sleepless nights? I feel a bullet list is needed here.
- Coffee or Tea, some form of caffeine, though best not over-do it.
- Bananas, yogurt for energy
- Lavender Pillow Spray for yourself to help relaxation
- Housework can wait
- Have night time nappy supplies easy to hand
- Remember, if you have a partner and breast feed, express. There is no reason why he can’t help out some of the time.
- Stagger feeds/split the night in half
- If you can’t do this, ask for help if you can and nap through the day
The one tip people said to me all the time was “while baby sleeps, you sleep”. I don’t know about you but this was NOT me. I cannot sleep through the day. My main tip would be to establish a good night time routine; having that at bed time means that the child will eventually get used to it. Mine was always Book, Bottle, Bed! The 3 B’s! Both mine now sleep through the night but just because they sleep, doesn’t mean I always do.
I still check their breathing every night, when they fall asleep, when I go to bed and then again whenever I wake up through the night. They would probably get a fright if they woke up at that point and find Mummy staring at them in their sleep but, we do what we do, don’t we?
Let’s Sum It Up
Becoming a mother is a blessing. It is a wonderful experience but it is hard and filled with highs and lows. So let’s recap those tips for new mums. Be prepared for all those emotions and remember, it’s ok to cry. Let it all out girl and don’t be scared to get help.
You’re body has gone through so much too so, one thing I would say is, make sure you do your pelvic floor exercises. It’s even worse after your second child, trust me on this. I regret not doing mine as it takes its toll on your bladder control. My bladder control was questionable enough before childbirth, let alone after.
Also, follow your instincts and don’t be scared to make decisions that are right for you and your child, no matter what anyone else says. Especially, don’t be shy to meet other mums. You have more in common that you realise.
Lastly, be prepared for those sleepless nights by establishing a good night time routine. Routine is very important in all aspects of raising a child. I’ll cover more on this in my next post, Raising Boys but, for now, I’ll sign off. Thank you for reading and remember: love your children; love yourself. 💗