Parenting

5 pieces of new mum advice you’ll actually use

When you’re a new mum everyone and anyone happily dishes out lashings of free advice. While most should be taken with a grain of salt, some of it is worth taking on board.

New Mum Advice That I Actually Used

Personally, I don’t recommend listening to old-school midwives who tell you to eat for two; I gained a whopping 28kg during my first pregnancy because I literally ate for two. While it was fabulous fun, it was no picnic trying to shed the weight afterwards.

However, not all advice should be discounted. As someone who has had three babies, I often give new mums one valuable piece of advice; you know what’s best for your baby, follow your instincts.

I also tell them to please let their baby fall asleep on them if they can, it’s not spoiling them or creating bad habits, it’s such an incredible feeling having a newborn snuffle and grimace on you while they’re asleep.

5 pieces of new mum advice you’ll ACTUALLY use!

1. Don’t feel bad about giving your baby a dummy

Some midwives may say it’s a bad thing to give a newborn a dummy because it can interfere with breastfeeding; however there are times when a dummy can be lifesaver.

I packed one in my hospital bag with baby number two and on that night before the milk came in when baby cluster fed non-stop, I put a dummy in to give me just a few hours rest. My milk still came in and I got a rest after a long, harrowing birth.

2. Bottle feeding doesn’t make you a bad mother

New Mum Advice That I Actually Used

Yes, we all know that breast is best but sometimes it just doesn’t happen for mums and bubs. I started two of my three babies on a bottle because my mental health was starting to suffer. One baby had reflux and with the other I was juggling two pre-schoolers.

I ditched the guilt quick smart and embraced bottle feeding because it simply made my life easier. It also meant my babies were fully nourished and content because their mum wasn’t a fruit loop, well not as much as she used to be.

3. Always accept offers of help

Now it took me until my third child to realise they don’t hand out medals to mums who do everything themselves. Any offer of help once my third was born, I took.

Someone wants to come and help do washing? Yes, please! Maybe a friend offers to babysit while you do some Christmas shopping. It’s not a sign of weakness to accept help from friends and family. It shows your strength of character to admit you can’t do it all yourself.

4. You don’t have to sleep when baby does

Premature baby born at 25th week of pregnancy sleeping during the kangaroo care session in hospital. Genuine emotions, real scene. Natural light.

Now everyone tells you to rest when baby does, I’m sure I’ve even spouted it in the past. But I was obviously a great big hypocrite because I rarely slept when my baby or child did because it was the only time I could do me stuff.

Maybe it was read a book outside, watch some crap TV or even clear my kitchen bench because I can’t stand a messy bench. It sounds nice in theory, but don’t push yourself to hit the hay just when baby does, especially if you’re craving some peace and quiet during the day.

5. No matter how hard you try, you really can’t make a baby do something

When my son wouldn’t sleep or settle I used to feel very powerless until I remembered being told that you can’t force a baby to do something they don’t want to. And quite frankly if my newborn didn’t adhere to the suggested amount of sleep but was still happy then who cares?

There are no rules, only guidelines. Try not to get hung up on what other people’s newborns are doing and definitely don’t feel bad if you’re not going by the book.

Sometimes we new mums just have to smile and nod when we are given advice, the key is to take it all on board and use what you want.

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emily-toxward
written by:

Emily Toxward

When former journalist Emily Toxward isn’t wrangling her three kids she’s juggling the demands writing and failing fabulously at being a domestic goddess. A published writer for nearly 20 years, Emily left full-time work in 2008 to have children and write from home. Always on the go, she spends her days negotiating with an army of little people she created and visits her local Gold Coast beaches for a little sanity.