You want to do what’s best for baby, and want to read all the books to be the best parent you can. I know you won’t listen to me when I say don’t worry about reading all the books. They will confuse you and conflict with each other. Find a parent who’s parenting style you like and ask her what books she recommends. I lean to Attachment, while receiving lots of support. – Pinky McKay has awesome resources and books. You might like someone else. That’s ok.
When you read a book about schedules and patting to sleep in a cot to create a routine and a life for you, that makes perfect sense in a book, and is a great choice for many parents. If you want to co-sleep with your baby, breastfeed on demand and throw out the schedule, that’s ok too.
Before you have kids you used to go to gigs, walk out the door in 5 minutes, and do pretty much whatever you wanted to. Your life is going to change dramatically, at the moment this seems like a loss, but it’s not. It’s the completion of one cycle of life and the start of another, you will be so filled with love and exhaustion that the thought of going out will not appeal at all.
The anxiety of bringing a new baby home and putting the baby capsule in your house for the first time is a scary moment. Remember that it will be ok. If you make your decisions with love, and thoughtfulness all will be well. Relax. Stressing and worrying doesn’t help at all.
It’s perfectly OK not to love parenting every second. Large parts of parenting are frustrating, exhausting and boring. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your child, it’s just hard some days, and there’s no getting away from it. Often we are presented with glowing images of perfect mothers and children, especially in social media, and can compare ourselves and feel like we’re failing or someone else is doing it better. They’re not. Some days, we all struggle. Take a breath, put your kids somewhere safe and take 5 minutes to yourself to gather your calm as soon as you can.
Get as much help from midwives or lactation consultants on your first day of breastfeeding, birth day. I know you are tired and loved up and think it doesn’t matter that much. It does. Make the effort to get their help so you and your baby learn correct technique. It REALLY matters. Your first week of breastfeeding may be excruciatingly difficult without correct technique. But even if it is agony, it will soon be ecstasy, and become a very convenient and love-fuelled moment with your baby. If, for whatever reason you can’t or choose not to breastfeed, it’s ok too, don’t beat yourself up, you’re doing the best you can. We all are. x
Pro-biotics can help little newborn tummies. Make a tiny paste on your clean finger with a high-quality (refrigerated) pro-biotic powder, and let them suck it off. You need them too. Remember you’ve been giving many of your nutrients to building your baby, so invest in some high quality super-greens and vitamins to help replenish depleted stores. A naturopath can help with specifics.
People will give it to you, but even when they do, you don’t really need it.
After trying lots, I love the Ergo baby. (no affiliate connection, just a great product) It doesn’t hurt your back, and you can breastfeed while walking around town, or doing work with it! And if your baby falls asleep in it and you want to roll him/her off, you can just unclip it and roll them onto the (safe) bed without waking them up. Bonus!
Lots of people will offer to help. Say yes, then give them specific instructions. Do not be vague, or say it’s all “ok” and “I’m fine”. Tell them to bring a casserole.
If you are an attachment-ish mother, like I am, remember that it’s ok for your baby to attach to lots of different care-givers. You, Daddy, Grandparents, Teachers, Nannies, Creche Carers, etc. Allow and support your child to attach to others too, it will save your sanity. This means that it helps if your baby can take a bottle as well as breastfeeding.
Being a parent brings a level of frustration and emotional triggering like no other, in those times when you want to cry and run away. Keep breathing. Breathe out the frustration and open your heart to love.
Post-natal Depression is real and there is absolutely no shame in letting people know that you’re struggling and need help. Talk to your GP, or contact PANDA to read the stories of other women who have struggled with PND, and get the help and support you need. Some signs to look out for are consistent worry or anxiety, mood swings, and consistently feeling sad, low or crying for no obvious reason. Becoming a parent is a huge change and 1 in 10 women need some extra help to cope with Depression through that change. It will absolutely get better, please ask for help if you need it.
Having a baby is a whole new level of tiredness. It’s ok. You have a new fuel too… Love.
The times you will feel the most frustration and anger are when you are fighting against surrender. Don’t. Just surrender to the present moment and be with your family. It is beautiful.
Children are magical in how they can go from wailing-tantrum to angel in a split-second. As much as you are able to, stay present now. Now. Being frustrated and angry that your child had a tantrum 5 minutes ago, only spoils this moment when they are being playful. Let go of the anger quickly and return to love. Imagine literally opening your heart up to your child, and holding them in an energy hug of love, to melt the frustration or anger.
Dummy or no dummy. Cot or co-sleeping. Cuddles or patting to sleep. There’s as many different ways to raise a child as there are beings on the earth. Find your way. Listen to your instincts. The times you will regret are the times when you listened to someone else’s advice or a book over the call of your own heart. Do what feels right for you and you baby.
The truth of life is that we live in a world of duality; both pleasure and pain, support and challenge are present in every moment, for you and your baby. There is no way that you can protect them 100% from pain and challenge, and that is not good for them either. Challenge creates strength, when balanced with love.
When you have your baby, doing what is best for her and him will be your primary focus. And that’s perfect for a tiny newborn, and there comes a time when you need to shift the priority to include your own needs, your husband and your other children. Sometimes you need to make decisions based on what is best for the family as a whole. And sometimes that means that child does not get the world to bend around them completely. If that means teaching the baby to sleep in a cot after co-sleeping so you have time and space to cuddle your husband again, so be it. If that means putting your kids in a creche so you can go the the gym and have some time for yourself, so be it. If that means taking them to daycare so you can grow your business, so be it. Everyone needs to make concessions for the family as a whole to flourish. And the children will grow knowing that making the family as a whole a priority is important, not by your words but by your deeds.
Your children will follow your deeds not your words. If you want them to be healthy, eat well and exercise, in front of them. If you want them to stop yelling, you must speak softly, especially when you’re mad. If you want them to jump punctually when you call, you must too. Anytime you are annoyed at your child, look to yourself and see where YOU have modelled that exact behaviour.
You will look at other parents that do things differently and judge. It’s ok, it’s only human. Just remember that until you’ve walked in their shoes, you don’t know what’s driven their decisions. hold the judgement and imagine sending them love instead.
Make your recovery from pregnancy and birth a priority, you will feel better and have more energy. This does not mean burpees and crazy dieting or exercise programs. This means seeing a post-natal physio to check your pelvic floor, following their advice, and going to walks in the fresh air until your pelvic floor and abdominals have healed, then introducing more exercise as you are able to. Be gentle with yourself.
You can put zucchini in almost any food. Blending vegetables to hide in things will become a new creative pastime. Enjoy.
I’m sharing these, in the hope of giving a glimpse into my real life; mostly with my hair in a messy bun, in my yoga pants, with a baby sleeping on my lap, while I’m writing an article on my phone or laptop!
Sushi is much better on the floor…
eating dinner on the floor, while watching the kids in the bath…
I pretty much bake & steam everything, because it’s fast and doesn’t require much attention.
she took my duckie!
the only place he’ll stay asleep…
Get out of the bin Ollie!
It’s the best when they play together…
Seriously this ergo carrier is the best.
Playtime on the bed.
It’s much easier when you just go with it and relax…
and again… this time i’m at my desk with my breast-pad half hanging out of my top. Classy!
Selfies (with dribble)
just woke up…
Get really friendly with your gym-creche carers! (Thanks Ettie!)
just lazing around.
At my sister’s wedding in Bali. I had this fancy dress altered so I could still breastfeed.
everyone wants to be on top of Mumma.
At the circus. Random day out!
Reward chart. Best ever!
Best birthday card ever.
Ollie, get out of the bin!
Oh no! they’re coming to get us!
Often I listen to podcasts on my bluetooth headset while at the park.
I’m very lucky to have an awesome extended family to travel with.
Share your best tips, experiences and advice for those new mamas who are embarking on this journey? AND please if you have older children and have wisdom for us all, please share too! Thank you.
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