Wednesday, 27 May 2015

More Unsolicited Advice For New Mamas

I am no baby whisperer, super Mom or well, anything special really.
Just a scientist with a five month old.

But, I got these pearls of wisdom gradually, and often in hindsight, and wish I had read them all in one spot in the beginning. Some of these are tips from others (thank you friends and lovely ladies from my mothers group) and some are me reflecting on her newborn stage. Anyway, I hope they help at least one new Mama out there xo

No two days, nights or weeks will ever be the same. Something might work one day and babe will hate it the next day. But that's okay. Things don't have to be the same. The sooner you accept that anything goes, the easier the process will be.

Let your body recover. You just made a human. That is astounding.

Babies don't cry to annoy you or keep you up. They cry to communicate or because, well, they are babies. Don't take it personally. Remember they just came from a pretty primo warm hot tub in your belly and well, now they are learning that sometimes life sucks. So yeah, its totally fair enough that they might bawl sometimes.

Burp babe as much as possible. I didn't realise how important this was for ages. I don't interrupt feeds to burp her, but if she comes off the boob, she's getting burped.

Time is relative. Those long nights can be lonely. And they can feel like they drag on. But the only thing which is guaranteed is the passing of time. Take it in small amounts. Before you know it a week, a month, a few months will have passed. Remember - this too shall pass.

Do you know anyone else having a baby around the same time as you? Having someone to message at 3 am or to bounce "is he doing this...?" Questions off is super important. I had two friends who I chatted to daily and still message as new challenges or happy moments come up.

I personally wish I hadn't even thought about schedules and sleep training till she was 3 months old. I stressed so much that we should be doing it when I should have just been enjoying her sleeping on me.

My health nurse told me that babes have a period of digestion settling between 2-10 weeks. Week 6 is the peak of the adjustment, and babe can go to half feeds or be grizzly and farty. I literally didn't read that anywhere else and if I hadn't known that I would have been stressing out trying to understand what was wrong.

If you ever feel like you can't do it. Guess again. You are doing it right now. And you are doing a better job than you know.

I used to worry that she was feeding for too long. And then I worried she was feeding for a really short time. Bottom line is she was putting on weight and generally happy. So I should have calmed my arse down. 

When you are getting ready to transition from bassinet to cot, put babe in the cot for day naps and keep them in the bassinet at night for another wee while (for us it was a month). Then when it's time to sleep in the nursery at night they are familiar with their surroundings. 

They can't stay awake forever. In theory.

It's okay to cry. 

There is such a thing as the "witching hour" (I had never heard of this, and thought I was doing something wrong). Babies (in general) will lose their shit from late afternoon in to the evening. Just take a deep breath and know that being there is comforting. And if you need to put babe down and walk away for a few minutes - there is nothing wrong with that.

Be kind to your partner. They are learning things too. Just because you think things should be done a certain way, doesn't mean its universal.

Everyone is different. And everyone has an opinion. Just do what feels right for you. Conflicting opinions will come from everywhere. "So and so" doing something one way doesn't mean you have to as well (for example, crying it out or not, co sleeping or not, cloth nappies or not, etc. etc.).

A glass of wine and some fresh air can move mountains (although nothing really replaces sleep, so nap when you can and chip away at that deficit).

If you or your partner can take time to prepare snacks or one handed meals, do it. Often eating intervals are few and far between. I found frozen smoothie packs SUPER handy. And the veges and fruit are so good at making you feel better.

Take any help you can get. Frozen meals are the most helpful kind of help I think. In fact, if you have the option for baby shower gifts, maybe you could ask for a frozen meal? If someone offers to help. Take it. You would do the same for them.

Breastfeeding is not necessarily the easy and straight forward process one might think. But that is a whole post in itself.  

Baby stuff is expensive. And all babies are different. So some will like a swing and others will detest it. If friends offer to loan you things. Take them and try them.

Find a mothers group. There is nothing like hearing you aren't the only one getting no sleep to make you feel less insane.

Oh!! And, I nearly forgot this one. We were trying to get Soph to take a bottle of expressed milk at about 6 weeks and she hated it. Persevering with it was stressing us out and we nearly stopped. But a friend and my Mum kept pressing us to try so I could get a break from feeds sometimes. My friends advice - sometimes babies hate things Sarah. Simple as that. So, keep trying. They need to learn new things.

Last of all, spend as long as you want staring at that beautiful baby. There is nothing like a newborn cuddle. Kiss them. Squeeze them. Take photos. Love them. They are precious.And when you look back on it, the time flies.

Phew - that was a lot of things!
Do you have any tips for new mamas?
What would your biggest piece of advice be?


  1. "Be kind to your partner. They are learning things too. Just because you think things should be done a certain way, doesn't mean its universal."
    Great advice!

    Being on baby #2 I am doing things a little differently than I did with #1. Live and learn right?

    1. It can be so easy to snap at your partner when you are so tired! But yeah, it is so much easier if you stay on the same page! Yes, there are always lessons to be learned!

  2. This is quite the list and I couldn't agree more! I pushed and pushed Letty trying to get her on a schedule and I didn't enjoy her being a newborn like I should have. And guess what? It didn't work she still hates schedules lol!

    1. Lol I know it got a bit long. I started and couldn't stop! But yeah - schedules are a pain in the arse :P


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