There’s nothing quite like the experience of becoming a mother for the first time. From the moment that you first hold your newborn in your arms, you’ll get the sense that your days will be filled with both joy and trepidation. It won’t be long before you start feeling anxious about all the things you need to learn and the kind of person that you need to be for your baby.
First-time mums should know that it’s normal to be scared and out of depth in the midst of such a momentous experience. They should also remember that it’s all right to play things by ear, to learn things in the moment, and to ask other people for extra support. If you’re a first-time mum yourself, take comfort in the fact that others have lived through both the joyful and harrowing moments of motherhood—and that there’s wisdom that they’re happy to share with you.
To that end, here are five pieces of advice that should help you through your journey as a first-time mum. Keep these in mind as you walk your baby through their own “firsts.”
Don’t Be Ashamed to Make Life Easier and More Convenient for Yourself
What’s one thing that rings true across everyone’s experiences of first-time motherhood? It’s the fact that it will be a tough and tiring journey all throughout. Both your body and your brain will be working overtime to adjust to the labour of caring for a child. There will be many days when it will be hard to find the spoons to put extra effort into anything else.
Knowing that, there’s no shame in making life easier and more comfortable for yourself. For example, instead of expending a lot of energy on your wardrobe, you can fall back on typical clothing essentials for the mum life. These include an array of loose basic T-shirts, wraps, and leggings.
In the early days of motherhood, when your body is still recovering from the experience of childbirth, you should also reduce the labour you put into physically exhausting chores like cooking and laundry. Explore “mum hacks” like one-pot or prep meals, for example. You may also want to consider setting aside a little extra money for days that you’ll need to hire laundry or cleaning services.
Try Not to Panic When Your Child Cries
As a new mum, one of the biggest hurdles that you’ll have to overcome is tending to your baby’s distress. It’s easy to get flustered or to panic when your child cries—and perhaps even to blame yourself for doing something wrong. But make it a point to practise keeping a cool head and following your own pace when figuring out what’s wrong with your baby.
Soon enough, you’ll be able to tell the difference between your baby’s hunger, discomfort, or desire to relieve themselves. Just remember not to panic when your baby fusses, and trust in your burgeoning ability to take care of them. Babies may be fragile, but they’re also healthier and more resilient than you think; take this into consideration as you step into the role of caregiver.
Share Your Experience of Being a First-Time Mum with Others
A lot of new mums benefit from the support and assistance that their peers can offer them. If you’re so inclined, you can join an online support group for fellow new mums and share your learnings and milestones with them. You’ll be surprised at how generous and compassionate other mums can be, even if you have only a virtual connection with them.
If you’d rather connect with people who are already in your social circle, get in touch with family members or friends who are also mums and whose input you’d be grateful for. Sharing the experience of motherhood may deepen your existing relationship with them and provide you with the support and comfort you truly need.
Document the Most Helpful Practices for Life with a New Baby
Many people in your life will be eager to give you advice when you become a mum for the first time. Some of it may not be very applicable to your situation, but some of it will be extremely helpful. You’ll soon develop a knack for telling the difference between the two. When you do, make sure to document the best mum tips you’ve learned so that they’re easily within reach.
Take note of practical tips on how to make a nursing schedule, how to make delicious baby food, and how to put your baby to sleep in the first few months. Write them down in a notebook or compile them on a note-taking app on your phone. These tips may come in handy when you’re raising your next child—or when you’re in the position to give advice to new mums yourself!
Adjust and Be Flexible to Both Your Needs and Your Baby’s Needs
When asked about things they needed to hear as new mums, your loved ones may tell you that they wish they didn’t compare themselves so much to other mums. They might impart the same wisdom to you: there’s no need to rush big parenting milestones just because it seems like other people’s children have hit them faster.
Resist the urge to square yourself up against other mums and to hold your “progress” as a mum to other people’s standards. Becoming a mother and getting good at attending to your child’s needs is an ongoing process, and the most important thing to have is flexibility. Whether you feel like you’re moving quickly or slowly in comparison to other people, simply play it by ear and follow the pace that’s most natural for you and your child.
One of the most important takeaways you’ll have from your journey as a first-time mum is that it will be a very human experience. You’ll be in touch with both your weaknesses and your strengths, and you’ll find yourself in the position of both a learner and a budding expert in child care. You’ll also have a wealth of both happy and humbling moments with your baby. In the end, they will strengthen your bond and be the foundation for your relationship when your child grows up.
Don’t forget to treasure these first few years of motherhood and to celebrate how far you’ve come. Welcome the myriad opportunities to discover more about yourself, your ideal family life, and what the future holds for your child and their generation. Don’t forget to check out my travelling with a newborn tips!