Parenthood. When you’re a first time mum to be, it’s the unknown. When you’re in labour, it’s panic and pain and joy. When you’re in the hazy newborn stage, it’s tiredness and overwhelm and love. Though, don’t despair, there are little things that can help you along the way.
We put it out to our panel of been-there-done-that mums to see what the top tips are to help new mums survive the first 10 weeks of parenthood.
Here are the top 10 tips for new mums in the first 10 weeks:
1. Patience is a virtue, and now is the time to implement your skills
Go easy on yourself. Your baby isn’t the only one learning right now, you are too. You’re learning how to be a parent and how to care for your baby. You might not believe it but you aren’t screwing this up. Little things happen, sometimes they are in our control, sometimes they are out of our control, with each of these we learn. Remember that it’s your baby, your way.
As Corrinne says, “Have patience always, be persistent for the long haul, praise yourself for just being a new mum, speak only positive thoughts to yourself, and find a little bit of peace in each day.”
2. Take it one day at a time
Yesterday is the past, today is right now and tomorrow is a new day. Remember this. With each passing day you’ll feel more confident.
Kim says “Never doubt yourself. Take one day at a time & each day is a new day & bub is another day older. The first 3 months are the hardest & then things change & you get that first smile that just melts your heart & you have forgotten all the hard things you may have gone through. Keep being positive!”
3. Say YES to offers of help
So many new mums want to do it all – baby, washing, feeding, cleaning, changing and cooking whilst recovering from birth and then try to cram in a few extra tasks like superwoman. Quick fact check. You can’t do it all. You just can’t and pushing yourself to do so will only cause you pain. Lean on others, when someone offers to pick something up on their way over say YES, when they want to put a load of washing on say YES, when they want to watch the baby so you can take a shower or have a nap … SAY YES.
Mel says “Learn to say ‘yes please’ when offered help. It doesn’t mean you’re failing, it means you know how to juggle life.”
4. Arm yourself with necessities
When you’re preparing for your baby’s arrival, stock up on things you will need. Here are a few of the necessities to have in the cupboard before you welcome your bub:
- Maternity pads
- Breast pads
- If pain or fever reduction is required, consider Children’s paracetamol
- A thermometer
- Baby nail clippers
- Nappy Rash Cream
- Nappy Bags
Ask mums who’ve been there what their ‘must haves’ are and add them to your list.
Kate says “When my little one was in pain or had a fever, I always ensured I kept over-the-counter paracetamol or ibuprofen on hand. “
5. Put the housework on hold
Washing piling up? Who cares! Dishes in the sink – people are not coming to see your house, they are coming to see you and meet your little bundle. Let it go for a little while so you can spend more time with your baby and more time recovering from giving birth to that little piece of joy. You’ll need sleep now more than ever. The housework can wait!
Coralie says “People should come to visit you not your house, if your dishes haven’t been done for a week, too bad! If it bothers them that much, tell them to wash them.”
6. Trust yourself
Have you heard a mum say this before? Believe it. Whilst there may be people similar, they aren’t you and they don’t have your baby. Believe that what you are doing is what is right for you and your family. Don’t let other people’s opinions get in the way; as soon as you fall pregnant everyone seems to have an opinion on what you should be doing. You only need to do what you think is best. Don’t feel like you’ve got experience to know what is best for you and your baby? I’ve been there. The funny thing is that you don’t need experience to know, you’ll just know. If it didn’t work and you feel your judgement is off, there is always another way. Believe in yourself that you will work out just what exactly that is. You are doing a brilliant job, I promise.
Lea says “There is no right way. Just the way that works for you and your baby.”
Jo says “Don’t listen to all the ‘advice’ givers, trust your judgement: if you and baby are feed, warm and rested (as well as possible) at the end of the day, you’re doing a great job! I spent the first few months of my baby’s life so concerned with what she should be doing and caring about what others thought and said that I made the whole thing more stressful and distressing than it needed to be. Oh and cuddle the hell out of them while you can!”
7. Remember that “this too shall pass”
Feel like you’ll never sleep again? You will and your baby will too. Your pregnancy has finished, this phase will too and you’ll be trying to work out where the time went. Try not to compare you and your baby with others, that won’t do you any good – especially if you come across a mum who has a ‘good sleeper’. Remember that what one person believes is a good sleeper is very different to another’s opinion on it, so the only thing that matters is your opinion and you will get through this.
Kelly says “This too shall pass… In a year’s time it will all be a distant memory…. Enjoy snuggling with your baby and cherish their smell… It disappears too soon.”
8. Stock up on meals
If you go through a nesting phase before bub arrives, use it to your advantage and get cooking. OR if you don’t feel up to it, get friends and family to cook for you and freeze everything. You’ll be grateful for the extra time once baby has arrived.
Court says “Freezer meals for sure! I cooked enough before our second baby arrived that I was still eating meals 3 months later! It saved my sanity! I don’t know what I would have done otherwise – soups, lasagna, sausage rolls, meat pie filling, apple pie filling, anything really!”
9. Look after yourself first
You may have had someone tell you already, happy mum = happy family. If you don’t put yourself first then you may not be able to give your family your all. Don’t be afraid to refer to number 3 above and take some time out to look after you. Try to take the guilt out of it, there is no point in worrying about what you think you should be doing or that you’re putting someone out. If you’re really that worried, you can return the favour later, but for now you just need to accept it.
Tegan says “Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Healthy & happy mummy = healthy & happy baby.”
10. Accept your ‘new normal’
This is one thing that as soon as someone said it to me, I thought “ahhhhh” and honestly it’s like something in my brain clicked. This is my new normal. Tired? Normal. Overwhelmed? That’s normal. Heaps of dirty dishes in the sink? Normal. Baby has colic? Normal. Baby won’t sleep all night? Normal. This is how life is and if you’re willing to look at this as your ‘new normal’, you’ll be all the happier for it.
Would you like to add more tips to this list? SHARE WITH US in the comments below.