There’s a stat in the paper today claiming that new mums take an average of four months and 23 days to get the hang of looking after their baby. Apparently we are reassured once we get a routine.
I totally agree with that. I don’t think anything prepares you for motherhood until you actually have a baby. You can read all the books and have all the ideas in your mind but until you hold that newborn in your arms everything is hearsay.
I often say to the girls I teach the early days are a bit like a smack in the mouth (in the nicest possible way) because whatever you’ve anticipated it won’t be that – it won’t necessarily be worse, just different.
Here are a few snippets from my book from other mums…
“Know that your life will change forever and that there are no prizes for doing everything yourself. It is much kinder to you and your child and indeed everyone else to share!! Share responsibility, concerns, decisions and more. When your baby is born and sleeps (which they do loads but only for a matter of weeks) YOU sleep. Don’t clean the house for unnecessary visitors, iron your baby grows or try to keep up the work you were doing before. None of that matters but your health does. SLEEP or rest and do very little so your body can recover because within weeks your baby will be awake far more and you may also be breastfeeding which takes a lot of energy as well. It is all too easy to realise too late that you have squandered your precious recovery time and that now you are simply shattered every day and there is no need for this. So, take heed! Listen to advice from everyone; other mums, your mum, your partner’s mum etc. People just love to give it and often your realise you are not alone and in fact everything is perfectly normal and this gives you reassurance and strength. My lovely friend, Beryl said to me: “The good times don’t last, and the bad times don’t last. So enjoy the good times and don’t get hung up on the bad times as with babies/children, things change constantly.” This is true.” Karen
“You can love your children and still not be ‘fulfilled’ by only being a mother and it’s okay not to enjoy the ‘perfect mother role’ – but find the things you all enjoy together.” Amber
“Sleep as much as possible before your bundle of joy arrives – because you sure won’t be getting any after!” Jo
“You will only go out for dinner or to the cinema with your husband five times in the next five years so make the most your time together as a couple before your baby arrives. Motherhood is the best thing in the world and however hard it may seem in the first few weeks it only gets better and better.” Marika
“I wish I had known more about looking after a newborn. I didn’t put my little girl down to sleep often enough and ended up with a lot of screaming from over-tiredness! I would tell anyone just to go with the flow during labour – and that you can do it without pain relief – oh and to leave the cord once the baby is born so they get maximum blood. Have it cut once it’s stopped pulsing (not a long time).” Gemma
“Forget about planning the birth, nature has its own plan. Keep calm and carry on. Don’t compare yourself to other mothers. There are few people who tell it how it really is. The rest are just kidding themselves or pretending to be perfect. Know you’re doing a good job – because nobody else is going to tell you that you are. Really try to enjoy it because it will be over in a flash. Basically it’s the best and the worst job you will ever do.” Sue
“It’s your baby, do what you feel is right for you; whether you choose to breastfeed your baby, give them a dummy or wean them early – or not, there’s no right and wrong and I don’t understand why some mums look down on others for making different choices to their own.” Abi
“Routine is the way forward – and that until three months a baby shouldn’t be awake for more than about an hour and a half at a time so as not to get over tired. But the big one for me is to trust your instincts. If you think something is wrong keep pestering the doctors and don’t them fob you off saying all babies cry a lot. You know your own baby. Result for me was that my youngest had a milk allergy – change of milk = happy baby.” Rachel
But it’s wonderful and very, very quickly – in a mere four months apparently – we know what we’re doing. I wouldn’t have changed those crazy early days for anything. That precious time when you get to know your new little person is simply wonderful – and the beginning of a lifetime together.