By Katie Portman - Pouting in heels.
Around twelve hours after my first child was born, I can still remember the utter panic I felt when visiting hours were finally up for the day and my husband, together with my big sister, stood up to leave the maternity ward.
My heart pounded and my mouth went dry as the enormity of looking after my new daughter - beautiful but tiny and totally reliant on me to keep her alive - hit me like a ton of bricks.
As my sister reached for her bag to leave, I quickly grabbed her and anxiously asked: “What on earth do I do now? How will I get through the night?!”
To which she replied: “Just think; nappy, cuddle or feed.”
And there it was. Simple advice from my sister, herself three times a mum and an old hat at motherhood.
Many would say it was obvious advice but to me it was perfect and exactly what I needed to hear because those words got me through my first night of parenting.
I had absolutely no clue what I was doing as a new mum back then nearly five years ago, but every time my daughter cried on that first night, I would think of my sister’s words and follow her advice. I’d check for a dirty nappy or change it. I’d cuddle my daughter until her cries stopped or I’d try and feed her in case she was hungry.
My sister’s advice words took away my panic, helped to keep me sane and enabled me to cope. Which got me thinking the other day...what advice would I pass on to new mums, now I’ve got a few parenting years under my belt?
After some thought, here’s some of the best words of wisdom I could give to any woman struggling with her new parenting feat.
- Always trust your judgement when it comes to your child. There is no one in the world who knows or loves them better than you.
- Parenting is tricky so forget what you ‘should’ be doing, what the experts say or what other people try to tell you to do and just do what works for you!
- Having a bad day does not make you a bad parent. It is just a bad day.
- Make sure you give yourself a break. Every single day. Even if it’s just for five minutes. You’ll be a much happier and calmer mum for it.
- Be honest with other mums. It will make you realise you’re not in this alone and that we’re all struggling and figuring things out as best we can.
- Sleep deprivation is brutal so to help you rest more, remember this: Don’t stand when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can lie down. Don’t lie down awake when you can lie down, close your eyes and sleep.
- Always have a spare change of outfit in your changing bag.
- When it comes to your post pregnancy body, give yourself time and be patient. Remember it took at least nine months to grow your baby, so it’s going to take at least that time again before you look more like you did before you were pregnant.
- When you feel overwhelmed, put your shoes on, pop the baby in the pram and get out of the house for a walk and some fresh air. It will make you feel much, much better.
- You can never ‘spoil’ a baby with love so cuddle them, kiss them, sleep with them and hold them as much as you possibly can. It’s true what people say, they really do grow up so quickly.
See Katie's blog Pouting in Heels here