10 things every new mum should know
Tips and advice for new mums
There’s no manual. There’s no training course. There’s no proven method that definitely works. And that’s pretty scary, right? Well, to try to ease your fear and calm those nerves we’ve put together 10 things we wish we had known when we were new mums. We hope you find these useful.
Researchers at the University of Warwick found that mothers who attended massage classes with their baby had significantly less depression and felt closer to their baby than the women who attended support groups. Massage can be an important part of a baby routine, so if you can, try to attend a baby massage class when you’re feeling up to it. No rush though, you’re a busy woman.
No place for perfection
Becoming a new mum is hard. Full stop. Not only are you functioning on minimal sleep, you’ve been thrust into a completely new world and quite frankly, it’s a little bewildering. This is why you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes. Learn to live with the fact that becoming a new mum is a learning curve and that perfection does not exist in motherhood.
According to the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, your breasts can become swollen during the first week as your milk changes into mature milk. A process referred to as colostrum. If you are in pain the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers suggest you ease this tension by feeding or expressing the milk. This should help to decrease the pressure and pain you felt in your breasts.
It’s a rollercoaster
It is perfectly normal to experience lots of different emotions after having a baby. If you’re feeling a little low try to eat some mood-boosting foods. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which according to the University of Maryland Medical Center helps to release serotonin (the happy hormone) in the brain and stabilise the mood. Other foods that contain tryptophan include milk, fish and sesame seeds. If you’re feeling a little up and down try snacking on some seeds.
If you’re ready to start exercising again, begin gently and ease your body in – after all, your body has been through a lot. You can target your abs though, but not by doing your regular routine. The NHS advises that your lower back and core abdominal muscles are weaker than they used to be so your old abs routine will need to be updated. Instead, do pelvic tilts, the bridge and a front lying abdominal raise. These exercises should be fine to do in the first six weeks after you’ve given birth.
Motherhood is tough, but it can also be great fun. Experiment with new activities to discover what you enjoy doing best with your baby. Trips to the zoo, swimming, coffee mornings, walks on the beach, trips to the local art gallery or mother-baby fitness classes are some options you could try. Experiment to find what works best for you and your baby and try to avoid conforming to those activities you think you should be doing, instead do those things you and your baby love to do.
It took nine months
Once you’ve given birth you might want to get your pre-baby body back. Before you start your healthy eating and exercise regime though, remember that it took nine months for your body to change and adapt. Bearing that in mind helps you to remember how much change your body went through and will help you feel more positive about any progress made. Change won’t happen quickly.
For some mums accepting help and letting other people get involved with looking after your baby is tricky. Yet accepting other people’s help makes those early years a lot easier. Plus, letting your partner or your mum take care of the baby helps your child to bond and to develop close relationships with other important family members too; win win.
It’s okay not to enjoy it
It’s okay to admit that you’re not particularly enjoying being a parent. A lot of women who feel like they’re not enjoying motherhood can feel really guilty, but they shouldn’t. At some stage everyone who has ever been a parent has felt this way, even if it is just for a day. Shed the guilt and discuss your feelings with a friend, your parents or your partner (who probably feels the same way sometimes). You’ll feel much better.
Lots of people will try to offer you advice, which is great, but at the end of the day your rules are the most important and just because something worked wonders for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you or your family. This is your baby and you can bring it up with your partner in your own way.