There are loads and loads of tips out there for new mums, but when I look back on the early months, here are just a few that I can think of that helped me out.
1 – Sure Start – Get out to your local Sure Start centre as soon as you can. They have loads of free classes that start from new born. You will meet so many mothers there who are all in the same boat. Sometimes they are followed with tea and biccies so you can have a good old natter. And almost every week one mother ends up in tears because she’s having a bad week, but its a safe environment and everyone is there for support. I luckily had a new baby friend who basically dragged me there every week and I’m very grateful that she did.
2 – Plan – After I’d got over the initial shock of being a mother (prob about the three month mark) I tried to make sure I had one thing planned every day so that I would either get out of the house or have a play date at mine. You need to see other people as it massively lifts your mood and also the more you get out, the easier it becomes – and we all know its like planning a military operation to get out the house with a new born!
3 – Classes – I started swimming classes when he was four months old, which I still do today. Every week is different, sometimes its amazing and the best time EVER, and other times I’m ready to throw him in the pool and leave him there. Babies have moods just like us but I like having something active planned every week that we do together. He.Will.Be.A.Water.Baby.
4 – Alone time – Make sure you have time for yourself. Whatever your vice is make sure that you can make time for it. Mine is wakeboarding and I’m lucky enough to have a very understanding husband who will actually push me out the door and send me to the lake if I’m being a pain in the ass. If you’re on your own, use the nap time (if they do nap) or after they have gone to bed just sit and do nothing, have a bath, or have a glass of wine, a DIY mani/pedi, watch TV or whatever. Just enjoy doing nothing, no house cleaning, no washing, no sterilising…
5 – Heath Visitors – if things are really getting on top of you, you will have a local heath visitor that you can call upon who will come to your house and talk through things. They don’t judge, they are there to help you learn your new role as a mother.
6 – Ignore Facebook – To an extent. Every new mum wants to show off their new baby and how beautiful and amazing it is. BUT don’t be fooled – these photos are just a snapshot in the day/week, its just that no one wants to put a photo up of their baby screaming, or of projectile vomit or of a poo explosion; or of themselves without their touché éclat.
7 – Advice Screen – We all love to give our two cents worth, friends, family, blogs, chatrooms, midwives etc…. listen to all the advice but screen what you actually need otherwise you can find yourself with ten different ways of doing one thing. You’ll work out which is the easiest and most efficient for you, and be confident to say no to others who are trying to pursued you otherwise. You’re the mother and so your gut feeling is usually the right one.
8 – Get moving – You know me, the more active you are the more motivated you are and therefore the happier you are! 🙂 So for a while you can’t do anything after the birth but you can walk. I would power walk with or without friends for an hour, three or four times a week just to get my body moving. Its amazing how tired you are, and all you’re doing is laying in bed or sitting on the sofa, but looking after a newbie is so draining – so try to get moving to get the endorphins going. (I waited until my 6 week check up to start living room yoga, wakeboarding and working with a PT).
9 – Date night – if you have friends and family around who can give you and your lobster just two hours one evening every couple of months, do it. Its so refreshing to go out for a meal and talk to your beau without the baby. Of course the first time you do this you end up just looking at photos of them on your phone anyway.
10 – Push your comfort zone – So when Ethan was five months we went to the coast for a week. We stayed in a hotel with absolutely no room to move around once the travel cot was up. We took the pushchair, sterilising gear, toys, beach gear, surfboards… our wagon was packed with EVERYTHING you could think of for a small baby. Being away for a week in an unfamiliar environment made us think differently. Also staying in a hotel means you have to eat out every meal with a baby – not relaxing! So once we returned home, everything that normally felt difficult suddenly became a lot easier.
I’m sure there are loads more helpful and handy tips that I’ve missed or not discovered… What helped you through the early months??