Are you ready for parenthood? New mums share what they wish they’d known
by Arvossa Admin | 19-03-2018
Becoming a parent can turn your life upside down but, until it happens, it’s hard to envisage just how hard the landing can be. Everyone’s experience of pregnancy, birth and parenthood is different, and there is a wealth of advice about what – and what not – to do.
Becoming a new mum or dad often sits in a realm that words can’t satisfactorily describe. You understand sayings casually offered by other parents (‘Say goodnight to a good night’s sleep’ or ‘There’s nothing quite like the love you’ll feel’), but you won’t be able to truly understand all the ramifications in their lightly thrown words. We think the key is to remain open-minded, relaxed and confident in your approach to parenthood and the choices you make.
We’ve asked some new mums to offer some helpful tips about things they wish they’d known before their lives were changed forever by their new baby. We hope our summary of what they told us might help soften the landing into parenthood for all you mums- and dads-to-be!
Jumping in at the deep end
However you give birth, it will most likely be an exhausting business. Physically, mentally and emotionally, it will be absolutely draining.
But giving birth is just the beginning. Some of the mums we spoke to said that throughout their pregnancy, giving birth was the goal, the end result. They weren’t prepared for being thrown in at the deep end with their baby straight away, and for the lack of recovery time after labour. You’re tired, sore and emotionally sensitive, but you have a baby to look after and you just have to get on with it.
Of course, having that new little person in your life can also make you feel overwhelmed with happiness, and most new parents want to be involved with their new ones, however exhausted they feel. So try to take a moment every now and again to pause and reflect on the amazingness of being a mum or dad.
Breastfeeding can be hard
We’ve all heard by now that breast is best but many mums we spoke to found that they weren’t prepared for how much they would struggle with breastfeeding, how pressured they felt to keep going despite the challenges, and how little information there was available for those who chose – for whatever reason – to use a bottle.
Every mum wants to do what’s best for their child and to be made to feel as if you’re not doing so is crushing. So persevering with breastfeeding when it’s clear it’s not working out can bring forward all sorts of feelings of failure and guilt.
Above all, do what feels right for you and your baby, and don’t beat yourself up about the choice you make. We think there should be a no-pressure attitude to breastfeeding – sure, we’re aware of the benefits but the bottle is completely fine too, and new mums don’t need to be placed under even more strain than they feel already.
Many mums told us that they wish they’d known to have some formula ready in the house, just in case breastfeeding didn’t work out. Some mums we spoke to struggled breastfeeding their first baby, but found it a doddle with their second, so another tip is to not pre-empt how you might feel.
Oh, and look between the lines of offered advice. If you’re told that the baby will feed every 2-3 hours, what you may not realise is it might take an hour to feed, so don’t be surprised if baby needs feeding again an hour or two after they last stopped.
Everything will pass
One mum told us that she finds it reassuring to know that every phase of her baby’s development is just that - a moment in time (albeit one that could last days, weeks or months) which will come to an end and be replaced by another one.
When times are tough, knowing that it won’t last forever can help you get through. The tiredness, the soreness, the breastfeeding, the teething, the crying (from parents as well as baby) – these will pass.
Of course, when you’re enjoying a particular phase of your baby’s development, you can feel sad to think that it will one day come to an end.
But we think being aware that everything will pass helps new parents savour the good times and get through the bad ones.
Even simple tasks take ages
When your new baby arrives, prepare to enter another time dimension. One where getting dressed can take hours (or sometimes not happen at all), leaving the house is such a laborious process that the event / meeting / coffee date you went out for is over by the time you get there, and days can just whizz by without you having any knowledge of what you’ve been doing.
It seems ludicrously simple, but many mums said they wish they could tell their old selves to appreciate just being able to hop in the car and go to wherever they were going without it being a heavily organised operation.
Trust your instincts
Whether it’s how and where you want to give birth, whether you’re going to breastfeed, or what you think about nighttime routines, trust your instincts; they’re stronger than you give credit for.
And ask your partner for their thoughts. Or find out how your friends dealt with becoming a new parent, or what advice your own parents would give. Build up a comfort blanket of helpful tips and reassurances, which you can combine with your instinct to help you make up your own mind about parenthood and how you will approach it.
Remember, when it comes to baby or you being unwell, instinct is a good starting point. But it’s always a good idea to check your instincts are correct with health professionals. If in doubt, trust your midwife or health visitor, don’t be shy about phoning 111 or go to your GP (in that order).
You’ll find out what it means to be tired
We nearly didn’t include sleep in this list because everyone knows that a new baby equals no sleep.
But, as we said earlier, before baby arrives, it’s hard to really understand the true meaning behind casual words about getting a good night’s sleep. You know that sleep assumes a massive importance after having a new baby and, however much you get some shut-eye beforehand, it’s not actually very helpful that you slept so well at the 6-month stage of pregnancy when your newborn has kept you awake for days on end.
Our advice from the new mums we talked to? Go with the flow. Sleep when your baby does. Don’t worry about it. Don’t care about not getting dressed for a month. Or, if you’re that way inclined, fight the fatigue and go out if fresh air, a change of scene or a coffee with friends makes you feel better. Deal with a lack of sleep in whatever way suits you.
Our brilliant gift bundles are packed with great products which can help new parents settle into life with a new baby.
Included are Spritz for Bits soothing spray to help relieve those sore areas after childbirth, the award-winning BShirt breastfeeding top, ‘The Blissful Baby Expert’ book of tips, and the Munchkin Sleep Machine.
And don’t forget the Arvossa Baby Box for peace of mind during your little one’s sleep times.