Having only been a Mummy for nearly five weeks I am most definitely not an expert I have however learnt a lot! I thought I would just take a few minutes to share 10 useful (hopefully) tips that got me through my pregnancy and the first few weeks of motherhood.
WARNING: this post turned into a big mamma.
1. Accept help - I am very lucky to have such a supportive family and fiancé who are willing to help me in any way that they can. In the last few months of my pregnancy it became so hard to do so many things like bending down and walking around shops, this wasn't helped by sciatica pain.
I remember getting so frustrated because I couldn't even put on my own shoes or socks, I would try and do this myself but would just end up making things worse. So as hard as it may seem at the time or as frustrating as it can be it is better most of the time to just say yes and accept the help.
2. Feeding your baby how you feel comfortable - this is a bit of a taboo subject but hey ho. The big breastfeeding debate has been going on for years and everyone has their own opinion on what is best. I felt so pressured by some specialists to breastfeed, I remember coming away from one meeting with a spinning head thinking that formula feeding was not even an option.
I did eventually decide to breastfeed because of my birth circumstances and breast feeding difficulties in hospital I ended up formula feeding whilst we were there. Then once we came home I expressed breast milk and topped up with formula if we needed to. I found that this worked really well for me. I am now feeding fully with formula and things are running smoothly.
So in a nutshell; everyone is different, everyone has their own opinion and you need to do what is right for you and your baby.
3. Have a back up plan - This links to above as I said I had decided to breastfeed but a week before Edward was born I was reading up on techniques etc and I realized that it does not always work for everyone.
I decided to buy just one box of formula just in case and thank god I did. So even if you are planning on breastfeeding I would really consider getting a box in even if you don't use it.
4. Clothes rotation - Oh my goodness, I can't believe how quickly you go through vests and baby grows. Edward has already outgrown some of his. At least once a week I have tried to rotate his little outfits so that he wears everything he has, putting the smaller outfits at the top of the piles so that he gets a few more wears out of them before they are boxed away.
5. Ready Meals - Again I have been lucky as we are living with my family there are more than enough people to cook tea. On the rare occasion that I have been at home alone I have been so grateful for a stock of tinned soup and cuppa soups (even if they do go cold because I've been distracted).
6. To Do Lists - Keep them short, sweet and simple.
I like to give myself a short mental list of things to do in a day, usually of about 3 things. Just to keep on top of things, I usually get these done whilst Edward is asleep.
7. Don't be hard on yourself - This is something that I have to keep reminding myself. I'm new to this, there's no guidebook on how to be a perfect mum, I'm still learning.
So if I don't get all of my list done in that day, I do go for a nap whilst someone watches Edward or I don't manage to get dressed until late afternoon. IT DOESN'T MATTER! IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!
8. More than enough - Make sure you have more than enough of the essentials e.g. bottles. I originally had only 6 bottles after washing them and filling up the sterilizer one day it occurred to me that if Edward needed feeding in the time that the machine was on I had no bottles so I bought a couple more just in case.
9. Pick and Choose - Advice, whilst your pregnant and after everyone has an opinion and advice on what is best for you and your baby.
Just like this list, this is just what I have found helpful it is my opinion and everyone is entitled to their own.
From the advice and opinions that people gave me I picked what I wanted to take on board. It is hard though especially when a stranger is giving you advice and you just want to tell them to go away. I found myself just nodding and agreeing (even if in my head I was waiting for Carl Pilkington to fly in and shout "bulls**t.")
10. Take a step back - This is something that I didn't think I would struggle with but I found it so hard, especially when we came home.
I found myself wanting to jump in anytime that Edward was fussing or crying, even when he was with his Daddy. I had to take a step back and remind myself that it is not just me that is learning and that bringing up a baby is a joint effort.
A big virtual high five if you made it to the end of this one, it's a biggy. Let me know what you're top tips would be for a first time mum in the comments.