As a stay-at-home mum to my 1-year-old boy, I can attest how becoming a parent can be a happy, gratifying and scary experience. Honestly, I was quite overwhelmed after giving birth, with parenting tips pouring in from everywhere and so many things to learn all at once.
But, if others were able to get past parenthood jitters, then so can we! Before you hop into the roller coaster for first-time mums though, here are a few tips to help build your confidence and make the ride less stressful and extra rewarding.
Parenting Tips First-Time Mums Should Know
1. Every baby is unique.
During my baby’s first few months, I can’t help but worry when he’s not progressing like the other babies. How come some babies can crawl or sit in just a few months? Why are some mums not having trouble putting their babies to sleep?
Eventually, I realised that our babies are like adults – they have different characteristics and behaviour. Some may learn skills early on, while others may take longer. But, in the end, babies shall get to their mini goals in time. So, rather than compare and worry, mums should revel at their little ones’ achievements, big and small.
2. Give yourself time to learn and room to improve.
No baby book can teach you everything you need to know how to care for your baby. Also, no one expects you to be the perfect mum overnight. So, try not to worry over small things and take one day at a time. Missteps are bound to happen. But what’s important is that you stay open-minded and know how to adjust your parenting goals.
Being a new mum is a life-changing event that gives you all sorts of new emotions. In my case, family and friends became my support group. They reassured me that everything is going to be okay and I’m doing a great job. As a first-time mum, be patient, enjoy learning something new about your baby every day and let experience be your teacher.
3. Love not only your baby but also yourself.
Our babies need us to care for them, so we need to stay healthy always. Make sure to eat well and get enough rest. Having 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a luxury once you have a baby. So, I suggest that while your baby is sleeping, take it as your opportunity to get some shut-eye. The laundry and house organising can wait.
Being in tip-top condition shall keep you attentive to your baby’s needs. Good health and a sound mind also prevent you from being clumsy, indecisive, forgetful and irritated. I recommend picking at least a day every week to do something for yourself. It can be something as simple as dining out with friends or as indulgent as spending an afternoon at your favourite spa.
4. Seek experts’ help or advice.
I believe family support is key to every new mum’s adjustment. But it is also common for first-time mums to feel helpless or depressed. In this case, it is best to talk to a health professional or your maternal health nurse and doctor. The Australian Government’s Department of Health also has dedicated organisations and helplines to assist various parent concerns.
Joining a group of mums outside your family can also be helpful. When you’re ready, build a trusted circle of friends who can share reliable advice, tips for baby products, funny stories of their little ones and more. Your journey as a first-time mum shall be less worrying when you have a go-to mummy group to learn from and laugh with.
5. Treasure every moment.
It’s funny how much I wanted to slow down time the moment my son turned 1. Taking care of babies for the first time can be intense, but it’s also something that does not last. Before you know it, your little one will be playing with other toddlers, doing homework or playing his favourite sport. And so, enjoy every cry, every burp and every nappy change. Instead of seeing it as a challenge, treat your first-time mum experience as a blessing.
Enjoy the Best Job in the World
The truth is you don’t have to follow every advice you receive to help you handle your firstborn. While each may be helpful, not everything applies to you. One useful tip I got from other mums though is to trust yourself.
No one knows your baby more than you do, and your motherly instincts shall help you handle things with confidence. My baby was born without any manual included, but I believe love alone allowed me to figure him out. Other mums have their ways of raising their little bundles of joy. Enjoy finding yours as much as I enjoyed mine!