Raising an individual is tough work, and as first-time parents, you're going to make some rookie mistakes along the way. It's easy to blame yourself for the mistakes being made, but it happens, and that needs to be OK. It's the good motive that counts!
While no parenting is perfect, there's some tips to minimize the fall-out of our own imperfect mothering!
If you want to curtail some of the typical new-mum ‘mistakes’, take a look at some of these very common ones and save on some need for damage-control.
1. My baby is a socialite and needs less sleep than other babies
Newborn babies need a crazy amount of sleep, 16-17 hours across a day, to be precise, so there’s plenty of reason for tucking that little newbie in for her next slumber.
Babies that have a roaring social-life typically don’t sleep well. Give her opportunity to nap, she might initially resist, but will become increasingly fond of it.
2. She wakes lots because she’s hungry
If your baby is requiring a feed less than every two hours, she's either not fed well at the last feed, or she's trying to tell you something else. Chances are, a breastfeed might satisfy her noises, but it may not be what she actually needs.
She might need; a nappy change, a cuddle, to be warmer, cooler, some sleep… or indeed another feed, but if she’s breastfed, check your timing on this one first.
Tune in to hear what it is your baby is telling you. Fussing and crying will sound quite different according to what it is she needs from you. Your radar will become more finely tuned to her as you grow together.
3. You don’t care if you never leave home again
There’s nothing better than taking it easy on your body and snuggling down with that newborn. But unless you want to go coocoo for Coco Pops, you will need to venture out eventually.
Sheer exhaustion, fear of pollution or germs.. there are plenty of reasons to give yourself that staycation, however, the truth is that the outdoors are good for her (and you)!
You don’t have to be a socialite to benefit from it. Give your sanity a boost and take her for a walk, get to that cafe, to the library or just enjoy wandering the streets chatting together. She’ll be happiest and you’ll thank yourself.
4. Pure Panic
Try not to PANIC about everything. Nap time fussing, sicking up and crying typically doesn’t equate to a food allergy or a twisted bowel.
Of course, use your common sense and seek professional help, when needed, but you can probably afford to relax a little. Panic can lead to; relationship issues, loss of appetite and poor sleep (although you’ll be used to this one!)
Oh, and if you’re panicked, baby will sniff-the-blood-in-the-water, and match you!
5. Neglecting yourself
Accept help when offered! It’s a little slice of (albeit short-lived) heaven. Unfortunately, no one will be bringing you lasagna or doing your ironing when she’s ten.
And if you don’t have a family to rely upon, ask a faithful friend or find a reliable babysitter. And don’t fill this precious space with errands! Get your hair done or enjoy a massage, or simply put your feet up and switch ON Netflix.
6. Listening to TOO MUCH advice
Listening to friends and loading up on books and ‘instruction manuals’ can be a real un-doer for a new mom. Get the know-how you need from reputable sources, but take it a bit easy. There are so many unreliable ones out there and chit-chat from other moms can be unhelpful and can feel guilt and shame.
No one knows your baby like you do, weigh up all advice and use your common sense!
7. You cry when your baby cries
Baby reads her cues from you, so if you fly off the handle, she will in all likelihood too.
A baby senses your sadness, anxiety and frustration through your body. Grab a cup of tea and slow down a bit. Call a friend if you need to. When you’re with baby, take some deep breaths, move slower, lower your voice, pat her back gently to soothe her. You are her gage and she will follow suit.
8. Ignoring your partner
Baby’s are so all-consuming, aren’t they. But, don’t forget the other love of your life.
Becoming a parent, for some couples, can be the first time where their relationship experiences real strain. Remember that you’re both on the same team :)
Make sure to include your partner in baby’s day-to-day life, so he has a chance to bond and grow in his love for his baby (and his admiration for you)!
Plan things to do as a couple, where possible. Make the most of the hours that baby is tucked up in bed and do relax things together. Remember to have fun! and relish that you’re on a remarkable pilgrimage together.
My husband and I often found it very therapeutic just to laugh at ourselves, at how strange our life had become. This season doesn’t last forever and it is possible to reach its conclusion, not mistake-free (by any stretch), but strong :)
Hugs into the ether...
Mom of six fabulous kids and foster-mom to numerous others. Event manager, doula, childbirth educator, lactation counselor, owner of Sydney Birth Support, Mamaway Advocate and an encourager of all moms out there giving it their best crack!