There is no shortage of advice for new mums – but most of it just does your head in. Your head (along with your body and your confidence) is pretty much already ‘done in’ anyway as you wonder what the hell am I doing? Can I really do this without having a total Mummy meltdown –or messing up my child for life?
Relax and please be as gentle to yourself as you are to your little one.
You are doing a great job (that’s the most important piece of advice)!
Instead of bombarding you with more confusing advice, we asked mums on Pinky’s facebook page, ‘what one piece of advice would you tell your new mother self?’ These are the gems they shared:
It’s ok to cry, its ok to be scared. It’s ok to ask for help. And to smile, laugh, love and BREATHE!
It’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you.
Listen to yourself, understand what people are saying and take out of it what you need. You know your baby best.
Ignore all the stories, ignore all the books, you are you and your baby is unique so trust your instincts and ask for help.
Don’t stress so much about the sleeping thing … Just go with whatever works best for you and your baby … And read Pinky’s books first.
Bub is only little for so long. Spend every second enjoying them, not worrying about what you’re doing and what they’re not doing.
They are only babies for such a short period of time. The sleepless nights pass, the cries stop… Before you know it your babies will be having babies of their own. Kiss them lots, cuddle them plenty and tend to their every need… This, topped with endless love, is all our beautiful babies need to flourish!
Listen to your instincts and try not to worry too much about how other people parent differently from you, be confident and strong in your differences and choices.
Your best is good enough!
Enjoy it… All of it… It goes by in the blink of an eye .
The days are long but the years are short. Stop stressing the small stuff.
There are no ‘shoulds’: they ‘should’ be sleeping through the night by now, they ‘should’ self settle, they ‘should’ not fall asleep on the boob. Every baby is different.
Don’t be sad that this stage/age is passing, the next one is just as exciting.
You will sleep again .
Looking for gentle, respectful ways to help your baby (and you) sleep without compromising breastfeeding or the beautiful bond between you and your little one? See my book Sleeping Like a Baby (it’s available on Audible too, if you don’t have time to read). You can download the first chapter FREE HERE.
Do what comes naturally, follow your instincts. It’s amazing how when you shut out everyone else’s opinion and follow your heart and your baby’s lead you know exactly what to do .
Do what you need to do, to get through… (Rock to sleep, feed to sleep, co-sleep etc) Every day is a blessing…..breathe in every moment, enjoy every little thing, treasure your babies everyday, and follow your heart, always.
The answer is about connection, it doesn’t matter what the question is: Trouble getting to bed? Connect before bedtime. Trouble at meals? Connect closely and you’ll spot the problem. Tantrums? Connect more, tantrum less. Discipline? Connect more shout less. When to feed / play / change? Connection allows you to spot the subtle cues. One day, almost in tears with fighting for a “scheduled nap”, I read about baby led schedules and creating connections, and a light bulb went on in my parenting head. I’ve never looked back. Oh, and lower your expectations. It’s amazing how much of your sanity you can preserve by just expecting less…less of housework, complicated gourmet meals, toddler behaviour, partner behaviour
Breathe..relax..enjoy.. Don’t be so hard on yourself – they love you even when you make mistakes. Treat your child as you would love to be treated yourself.
Just love on them. Love all over them. Love everything about them. Love all the little tiny things. Unapologetically love them. But don’t forget to love yourself a little too.
You did the best you knew at the time, and when you knew better you did better.
Be present physically, mentally and emotionally.
Don’t get too upset that you are not able to breast feed, therefore ‘bond’. You have your whole lives together to bond.
You are the expert about your baby, the only mum they have and only you have the instincts and love to get you through those long nights. Lead with love, because comfort and security can get you both through any challenges that come your way.
Let go of the ‘shoulds’- my baby should be doing this or that, as a parent I should be doing this…. Approach each day as a fresh day with minimal expectations and enjoy your baby as they are TODAY!
You have the right to say no and you will make the right decisions when you listen to that .
Stop taking everything so seriously and relax and enjoy.
People will tell you all manner of things you’re doing as a parent are ‘wrong’ but the only time you’re doing wrong in parenting is when you’re not listening to your baby/child and/or your own instincts.
Imagine there are no books, internet, well meaning family or friends telling you what to do and do what feels right for you and your baby. Trust yourself.
Don’t freak out about the small stuff and gather as many mum friends around as you can…having that support and outlet for mum stuff is so important.
The only ‘habit’ you need worry about building is the one that lets your little bundle of joy know you are there for them and love them unconditionally.
Watch the baby not the clock! Follow your baby’s lead with feeding sleeping and play times .
Don’t let pride get in the way. If someone offers to vacuum or do your washing up because your house is a mess, let them do it.
Motherhood is a dance. Follow your baby’s lead. Trust your instincts. Enjoy every moment. Sway to life’s music. Dance to your own beat, together, as one. Before long, the song will be over, and you’ll wish you were dancing all over again.
Join the ABA (Australian Breastfeeding Association) before baby arrives.Call them for Breastfeeding advice before seeing the uneducated medical professionals! I REALLY wish I had known this.
Remember that grandparents had their turn to name, teach and raise their own kids… while their advice may be helpful and welcomed at times, remember to tell them it’s YOUR turn now, when they don’t agree with your methods.
You won’t love or enjoy every moment and there will be many hard days where you will want to just give up on the whole parenting thing. Sleepless nights will wear you down as will comparing your baby to other bubs or religiously trying to follow a certain style of parenting- and that is ok!! It is ok to feel like this, you will find your way out of the dark times. It is ok to ask for help! You will begin to see that there are amazing moments that may only last a minute or two each day, these are what makes all the crap worthwhile, hold onto these and know that it will get easier!
Everyday is a fresh start. Forget the negative. Move forward with the positive!
Buy the carrier!
I’m going to be a hypocrite. I’m going to be ok with it. Everyday you’ll learn something new, your eyes will become open to a new world and everyday you are going to smile even if you cry.
You will be blown away by the love you feel for this unique individual and by the protective mumma bear instinct that has appeared .
Throw the books away that say your baby should start their day at 7am. Listen to your baby feed them when they are hungry, put them into bed when they are tired and cuddle them always.
Savour every moment – the days are long but the years are short. Listen to everyone’s advice but take it selectively.
Trust your instincts. Your baby is an individual so go with the flow of YOUR baby and don’t worry so much about all the rules saying what you and your baby ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing.
Remember the mantra “this too shall pass.”
Don’t worry so much about what your baby ‘should ‘ be doing. Just enjoy them and give plenty of cuddles Your baby will grow fast. Sleep more, worry less and let the house be messy.
Hold that baby as much as you and they want you to. You will never get this time again and you can’t spoil them .
If advice you get doesn’t feel right to you, go with what does. You can’t screw up loving your kid.
Look after yourself as much as you look after your baby. Happy mummy = happy baby.
Trust your instincts and believe in yourself . Quit reading parenting books and googling for answers.
Be present and parent your way, there’s no right or wrong, just smother them with love .
Back yourself. You’re the mum, what you say, goes.
Stress less . Listen to all the advice that everyone gives you and then listen to your baby and go with that .
Often, there is no wrong way and no right way. We’re all just doing the best we can.
Love them your way, they are only little for such a short time.
Literally nothing can prepare you for who they are. Just go with it. Go with them. You will feel over whelmed and it will frighten the hell out you. But soak it up and believe you are a great mum. Do what feels right to you. They are your child, not anyone else’s. You will always know what’s the best for them, even if you’re not sure of it at the time.
The housework can wait. You can never love too much, kiss and cuddle too much, be too kind or spoil them.
Best solution for a crying baby is CIO: cuddle it out.
Cocoon myself even more and not compare! And somehow find and call on my amazing IBCLC (Lactation Consultant) earlier than I did.
Don’t follow any baby books as gospel! Listen to your baby and if she’s not tired, don’t walk the hallways for an hour until she falls asleep.Go with your instincts, NOT by the clock.
You’re not a bad mother if you don’t feel you have “mother’s instincts” to begin with – they’ll grow with time.
Love them and win their love and shower on them all the treasures of your heart. Fill up their days with happiness and share with them their mirth and innocent delights. Ere you are aware it will be gone with all its gifts forever.
Try to see things from the baby’s perspective. Babies are not foreign creatures, they’re human beings! Thinking about how the baby feels will make you less frustrated, more empathetic and strengthen your bond with them.
You’re not expected to know it all. It’s mostly on the job training.
Slow down and enjoy the new baby smell and all the little things. Don’t be in such a rush to get to the next step.
Throw the books out, go with your gut & enjoy your baby. This little person will change your mind in so many different ways .
Follow your baby and your heart, not a clock! Don’t count the hours of sleep you’re missing – be grateful for any amount of sleep.
Accept help when offered. Ask for help when needed. This doesn’t make you a failure. EVERY mother and child thrives from a strong support network. No one expects you to do it alone.
Accept that you can’t do everything yourself anymore. Learn to let go on certain things and accept help wherever you can. The household and other duties can wait.
Stop the self-doubt and second-guessing yourself. Remember you’re doing your very best as a mother. You will survive all those sleep-deprived challenges. Keep on keeping on.
Take time for yourself, because if you don’t care for you, you can’t take care of your family.
It may seem bleak and overwhelming at times but you’re not alone and it’s only temporary. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, so don’t beat yourself up trying to follow someone else’s rules. What works for you and your baby is best.
The most important things to do to prepare for childbirth are 1; Deal with the hurt from your own childhood, and 2. Get control of your anger.
Babies can’t be rushed! You now operate on “baby-time”, go with the flow and trust your gut.
Everything always feels hundreds of times worse in the dark of night. Hang in there – it will be daylight soon and everything won’t seem quite as bad.
Never blame yourself when things don’t go as planned. Actually nothing will go as planned! It’s going to be difficult but it’ll get easier. Smile and ask for help when you need it.You can be a great mother without doing it all yourself.
No….you don’t get over childbirth, but it’s totally worth it!
Remember the mantra, “This too shall pass” and never compare your parenting skills with others, Do what you feel is right for you & your family.
Learn to trust yourself more than google!
Take time to appreciate the wonder in your baby’s natural development and learning every day. Listen, observe and trust your instincts.
My mantras are: you’re doing a great job, the most important job in the world. Trust your gut. Choose your battles, and make hay while the sun shines.
You will never be on your death bed wishing you had held your baby less. If your baby is crying, pick it up and love it.
Relax…. You do have a natural instinct and it will kick in! Sleep will come.
You can’t spoil a baby, take the time to snuggle & stare at each other & treasure the smiles that are reserved just for you.
Being a mum can be scary but just because someone is doing something different to you doesn’t mean what you are doing is wrong, you have to do what works for you and your baby.
The first twelve weeks are the fourth trimester.
Go with your gut feeling every time, you know your baby best and you cannot “spoil” your baby with your love .
Don’t watch the clock – feed baby when hungry not when it’s ‘time’.
Trust your instincts!
I felt overwhelmed by information and advice at first and the pressure I put on myself to do the very best I could. Your instincts are always right, relax, have fun and love every moment it goes so fast!
The best 2 things you could ever give your kids are your love & your time!
No matter which ‘road’ you choose, be it AP (Attachment Parenting), EP (Evolutionary Parenting), Dr Spock or a mish mash of whatever feels right for you (that’s my personal fave!) there will ALWAYS be someone somewhere who disagrees with the way you do something. I don’t care if they’re a friend, colleague, in-law or a random in the supermarket – the only person you EVER need to justify yourself to is your child. Ultimately, they’re the one whose life will be impacted so smile, nod and keep doing what you’re doing because you’re doing it well.
Pinky McKay is Australia’s most recognised and respected breastfeeding and gentle baby care expert. She’s a mum of five, Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), best-selling author and Tedx speaker. For gentle, practical information to support you from birth, through your baby’s first year, check out Parenting by Heart by Pinky McKay.