Advice For Mums To Be and New Mums

advice for new mums

As a mum with 5 kids, one of the most frequent questions I get when I meet mums to be or new mums is “what is your best advice?”. To be honest I never really know what to say to this question – it is just so big!

Giving advice to mums can also be fraught with danger. It can be easy to for a new mum to take away from the advice that they are not doing a “good job” if they aren’t already doing what you have advised or it causes then internal confusion if they don’t like your advice.

So before I give advice, I tend to say something along the lines of this:

I am like a bower bird, I collect all different pieces of advice and take them home. I try it out and if it fits its stays, if it doesn’t fit it goes.

Now with that disclaimer, here is my advice to mums to be or new mums:

1.There is never a "right" time to have a baby. Sometimes you have to just have a go and see what happens.
2.Take a photo of your breasts before you get pregnant. They will NEVER look like that again. (Regardless of whether you breast feed or not. Pregnancy changes them for ever.) And you will not remember what they used to look like.
3.Do appropriate exercise through out pregnancy. Being fit can really help your stamina through labour.
4. If possible have at least four weeks off before baby is born. Going into labour well rested and having things prepared at home can help make the birth and transition to motherhood less stressful.
5.As my lovely obstetrician told me "Labour is one 24 hour period of you life (I know if could be longer, but you get the idea!). When the baby is born, you are committed for life. Start thinking about how your life will change once baby is born.
6.Have as many visitors as you can cope with at the hospital. It is much easier to have them there, then at home during the first few weeks of bubs life.
7.Make the bed and get dressed each day as soon as you can. It was a psychological thing for me. I felt like I had at least made a start on the day, regardless of what happened next (which you never really know what it will be!).
8.Try and leave the house once a day. Even if it is a 15 minute walk around the block. Fresh air, change of scenery, social interaction all helped keep me sane!
9.Try and take a nana nap each afternoon. I used to have nana nap for the first 12 months of my bubs life. It really helped me cope better when bubs would become unsettled and not want to be put down at around 5pm.
10.Spend time just gazing at and adoring your baby. The new born stage is so bloody quick and so bloody gorgeous. Adjust your standards on the house cleaning, ironing etc so you can treasure the beautiful little person you have brought into the world.

Over to you! I know you experienced mums will have fab advice to add. What is your best advice to mums to be and new mums?

Comments

  1. says

    I like the bower bird analogy. And the encourage visits at hospital – especially as those times are regulated! Beware the home visit of a friend or family member who’s never had a baby. They will arrive at 5pm or your nap time and stay for hours!

    My advice: you know your baby better than anyone else. Trust your gut instinct when finding out what works for you both.

  2. says

    Wonderful advice. The best advice I received was that sometimes babies will cry no matter what you do, and it’s better to just accept and work around it than beat yourself up with worry.

    • says

      I love this. Babies do cry and do have “bad” days just like we do. On those days I just used to throw all plans out the window and just give bubs as much attention as I could.

  3. says

    Love the bower bird analogy!

    My advice-watch your baby, not the clock. Let them feed when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired & be held when they feel the need to. Babies don’t manipulate & they don’t read books about what routines babies are supposed to follow.

    And enjoy it! Time flies by so very quickly.

  4. says

    Great post Nic.
    My best 2 new mother guidelines came from my Mum and were along similar lines.
    1) (In most families) When Mum falls in a heap, the family falls in a heap….so it’s essential not to neglect your own needs.
    2) Sometimes Mum is turned out perfectly and baby isn’t or vice versa. Be satisfied with somewhere in the middle for both! (Hard for us perfectionists but good to keep in mind!)
    x

  5. Jules says

    Don’t read too many books, trust your gut instinct. Spend time with your new born. Sensory communication is wonderful and responses are immediate.
    Leave the answering machine on. Don’t feel the need to “keep up appearances” as my Mother in Law told me. In my culture it is custom for the Mother to not perform household duties or attend social engagements for 40 days (6 weeks) to encourage Mother – Baby bonding and to ensure Mum gets all the rest she needs. I know this can be difficult and not practical for some however as The Planning Queen mentions, use the 4 weeks prior to baby’s arrival to perhaps farm out some chores and book a few favours with family and friends.
    xx

  6. Shirley says

    my only advice is to accept any help offered. It is hard to ask for help but if someone offers a frozen meal or a hand cleaning or even a hour babysitting so you can sleep say yes.

    You DO NOT need to be superwoman to be a great Mum. Just be yourself

    Thanks for these I have forwarded it on to three first timers I know.

  7. Jacquie says

    Love all this advice – especially the bower bird analogy. I always say to people that every baby is different and every mother and family is different so what works for one doesn’t work for another and just don’t be too hard on yourself. I always made sure I was dressed each morning – even in hospital – it made such a difference to how I felt for the day. The best bit of advice I was given was that this too shall pass – so both the good things and the hard things won’t last forever, so make the most of all the beautiful moments of having a little baby and don’t worry – you will get sleep again one day! (With my first I was sure that I was going to be stuck on the couch holding and feeding him for the rest of my life – I couldn’t see that it would ever end – he’s now 8 and I laugh now that I ever thought that!)

  8. Meegan says

    My tip is not very spiritual but quite practical. For a surprisingly minimal fee you can get your groceries delivered to you home. It saves me allot of stress, especially on those days my breastfeeding baby is super hungry and feeding often, and I feel good that I’ve provided the family with good healthy food if nothing else.
    May the ‘Gods’ shine on all of us Mums.

  9. says

    Oh, where do I start? One of the best pieces of advice given to me is a bit like your bower bird analogy – Listen to advice, smile, nod, say thank you, and then go away and do what works for you.
    My ABA counsellor also suggested to leave the vacuum at the front door for those unexpected visitors – get them to do the vacuuming! lol
    Another thing that I wish I had done – don’t be afraid to ask someone else to hold the baby so you can do something (like hang the washing). I got tired of holding my baby (especially #1, he had silent reflux & screamed), visitors would offer to hang the washing rather than hold the baby!

    • says

      Love the vacuum cleaner at the door!

      Great tip on having a break from holding a baby that needs lots of holding, as it can get very exhausting, both physically and emotionally.

  10. Jane says

    Love “take a photo of your breasts prior”! Even if you embrace the breastfeeding fullness – (in my case represembled the jugs of JORDON) – what goes up, must come down!

    If possible, buy some new fresh (loose fitting) clothes for post birth – look good, feel good (shopping for yourself might be off radar for a while).
    Stock up bag/cupboard with fibre snacks!!!
    Firm undies!
    Remember the sisterhood is always there when you need to tap in……

  11. Raeleen says

    The sound of a vacuum cleaner was great to send my colicky bub off to sleep (or any white noise – washing machine, hair dryer, etc) Also – I couldn’t have lived without my electric fisher price swing – and a dummy.

  12. says

    Love the bower bird analogy!

    And I completely agree about taking time out to adore the little bundle even if the house is a bit of a mess. I spend a good part of every day kissing squishy cheeks, singing to her or making her laugh because it’s just way too quick.

    Advice is tricky. Mostly I try not to give advice because I think that more often than not I’ll terrify the new parent! But if I do give advice it’s just to not spend too much time worrying about how long they sleep, how many naps they have, when they eat, when they will sleep through the night. Soon enough they’ll be doing all of that stuff and you will have wasted all that precious time being stressed out.

  13. says

    My best advice is along the same lines as previous posts.
    Don’t compare yourself to other mothers. It’s easy to think that you are the only person who is having a problem, or think because someone else can do something you should too.
    Do what is right for you and your baby without worrying about how other people do things (easier said than done I know).
    We used to take our baby (when we had only 1) to church in the evening. It worked well for us so we did it. Another lady in the church was struggling to get there in the evening, but kept trying. Apparently she said, that if I could do it so could she. I felt awful because I would never want someone to feel pressure to do something which didn’t suit them! I had a good sleeper – she didn’t. I talked to her and encouraged her to do what worked for her rather than what worked for me!

  14. Sam Elbers says

    Expect the unexpected because some days just don’t go to plan for whatever the reason. Sleep when the baby is sleeping, housework and chores can always be done later and remember to take the phone off the hook and remind your partner that you are having some time out so they don’t worry. And something that I was told never to do, never wake a sleeping baby but they are small and precious for only a small time and give them a cuddle if you want too and don’t feel guiltly!

  15. says

    Great advice, Nic. I made a big point of taking time to shower and dress every day, even on the worst days when A was little. It made a real difference. And taking time to just sit and chat with her and watch her was, and still is, one of the highlights of my life as a mum.

  16. says

    Great post Nic!
    2 things really helped with my mindset.
    1) give yourself something small to look forward to every single day (for me that was going out for a cup of coffee).
    2)Even if I could not be bothered dressing up, I would wear my favourite earrings and spray my favourite perfume because they made me feel good about myself.

  17. says

    I think the shower and dressed is the best advice I could give too. I think no matter how tired, if you can get up before your baby and do this, you will feel better all day. I still do this and my kids are now 6, 4 and 3.

  18. Joanne says

    The best advice I got regarding newborns was about sleep. A bit more sleep can make the world of difference. After the first few crazy weeks a baby can only probably stay awake for about an hour and half. As soon as they get tired (rubbing eyes, averting their gaze) put them to bed. They can and will settle themselves. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but after making loads of mistakes with number one it made all the difference to me!
    One other small piece of advice was about the baby tiredness thing – often when babies start getting irritable mothers will start automatically rocking, singing and cooing to babies, maybe looking at them. When babies are tired they need less stimulation, not more. Just rocking is Ok. They probably don’t want to look you in the eye either, this is very tiring for them.
    Wishing you happy times and sanity providing sleep.
    Jo

  19. says

    On newborns:
    If they’re not feeding, they should be sleeping.

    On breastfeeding:
    Don’t give up to soon, it’s hard to get going / know when to give up, it’s hard to stop.

    On crying:
    You’re not ‘making’ them cry.

    On dummies:
    Yes.

    On schedules:
    Follow a routine, any routine as long as it’s consistent and predictable.

    On bathing:
    Get them clean, don’t drown them

    Oh, so much more to say! x

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