Everything you need to know as a first-time mum
Being a first-time mum is akin to starting a new job that you have only heard about, have no experience in but have to report to work. You will find yourself trashing all that you thought you knew. You will also realize that you can only learn on the job. No amount of preparation is enough to make you breeze through motherhood. But a few tips will make the journey a little smoother. Here is everything you need to know as a first-time mum:
You won’t always enjoy it, and that is okay
As a new mum, you may expect to cherish and adore your cute little bunny all the time. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are days when you will have breakdowns because things do not seem to be going as you want them. It could make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. You may find yourself wishing for your old life where you did not have a whole tiny human being depending on you for their entire existence.
It is okay to dislike the experience sometimes. That does not make you a bad parent that does not care for their child. It is okay to complain sometimes when you get overwhelmed. No one will think you do not love your baby. Talk to someone when you feel overwhelmed. It is normal. I mean, you are the victim of a lovely dictator, and it is bound to be exhausting. You will soon discover that even in the mothering ditches, you still love your little ones. You may not like them at that moment, but you know deep down that you would not hesitate to give up your life for them.
Sometimes you will feel unqualified and dumb
No matter how many books you have read about babies or how much time you have spent around babies, you will never be ready for everything that will come your way. Remember, babies tend to be different, and what works for another baby might not work for your baby.
You will soon realize that you are seriously underqualified. As we said, you can only learn on the job. You will have to work it all out on your own. You may feel so far out of your depth but do not fret because you are not alone. Most first-time mums feel like they know nothing about being a mum. Laugh off your mistakes and learn from them.
Reach out and connect with other mums
Find a mothers’ group that you can join. It will help you feel like you are not alone in your new journey. Identify awesomely honest women who are in the same phase as you are. Sharing similar experiences will help you gain some sanity in knowing that you are in this together. See, no one can fully understand you as much as other mothers at the same stage as you.
Be open in sharing your experiences, and do not judge them when they tell you their experiences. Remember, it is no competition. Try to resist the urge to make it a contest of who is doing better than the other.
Be completely truthful and allow yourself to be vulnerable when you are struggling. If you feel like the mothers in the group are too competitive or a little braggy, it is okay to find other mum groups with mothers that you can feel comfortable around.
Take plenty of pictures but do not sweat it
You will enjoy looking back at the pictures of your baby and marvel at how far they have come. Have photos and videos of their milestones to remember those moments when they were very tiny. That said, it is okay if you do not have pictures of every single thing they do. Do not beat yourself up if you do not have photos or videos of all of their milestones. Let some stuff go.
Your baby will soon catch up
Admittedly, it feels nice when your baby reaches certain milestones in their young lives. However, do not rush them. Don’t stress over them failing to reach their milestones as quickly as the other kids. When they are older, it won’t matter how early they started to walk or if they were the first to crawl. If you feel like it is a cause for alarm, you can consult with experienced health professionals to guide you. No two babies are the same, and it is okay if your baby does not do things like other babies.
The expectation is not always the reality
Before giving birth, you may picture a perfect well-organized life where your baby is on all kinds of schedules. You may have envisioned a life where you are in control and on your toes with sleep training and meal plans. You will soon realize that you can never plan for the kind of mum you will be. It is okay to let go of the steering wheel and let your little boss guide you.
Google can sometimes be contradicting
Honestly, it is hard to not look things up on Google. You may find yourself spending more than half of your day asking Google for assistance. However, there may be hundreds of contradicting opinions on various subjects. Trust your gut in selecting the thing that will work for you or follow the lead of your paediatrician.
Babies have phases
One day your baby will finish all their milk, sleep like an angel and be playful with all visitors. The next day, they might forsake all their good habits and go wild. They may even cry throughout the night. Remember, it is only a phase. And that too shall pass. Don’t despair when the baby goes through these phases. It may be a growth spurt or anything else causing the disruption, but the good news is that it won’t last forever.
Breastfeeding may not come naturally
As natural as breastfeeding may seem, it does not always come naturally. It can be the most emotionally draining experience for you. If you are hell-bent on breastfeeding your baby, try to learn the different techniques and positioning that will work for you. If you decide to bottle feed your baby, you should not feel guilty about your decision. Fed is best!
There are days when you will marvel at your little miracle, but there will be other days when you feel like you are in the trenches of motherhood. Just remember to treasure every moment. Soon you will be looking at those days with the rosy glasses of hindsight and think of how wonderful it was when your baby was tiny.