Five of the best pieces of advice for mums with newborn babies
Whether you are a first-time mother, or already have children, caring for a newborn baby can be overwhelming.
The arrival of a new baby can throw your home into chaos. It’s hard to keep up wth the trying and cleaning when you’re not getting much (if any) sleep.
But with a little planning ahead, you can survive new motherhood while still keeping yourself sane(wish)!
1) Get some rest
It’s all-to- easy for mothers to take on too much responsibility in the home, and put their needs at the bottom of their list of priorities.
As a result, you might feel like you don’t have the time to sleep or rest during the first few days of your baby coming home, especially if you have other children. But the exhaustion soon piles up and affects your mental and physical health. So try to get some rest while your baby is asleep.
It’s quite okay to let some things go in these early days and even weeks of motherhood. Do the dishes need to be done as soon as a meal if over? And can others in your household pitch in more to help. Never be afraid to ask people to step up and take their share of the chores.
Your sleep and wellbeing is more important than the ironing or dusting. Plus, if you are adequately rested you’ll have more energy for the things you need to do later.
If you find it hard to fall asleep at the random, unpredictable times your new baby sleeps, then just rest. Simply lie with your eyes closed – this can be almost as good as sleep. Or read a book or watch TV and give your body a rest.
These times of quiet rest do more than nurture your body – they send a powerful message to yourself that YOU are important, and that your needs are a priority. If you don’t love and respect yourself, not only will it be hard for others to, but you can end up struggling with mental and physical health issues. So never feel guilty or apologise for your need for rest.
2) Bond with your baby through skin-to-skin contact
If anyone offers unsolicited advice to hold your baby less, ignore them. Babies rely on their mother’s touch and closeness to develop optimally. And one of the best ways to bond with your baby is to have as much skin-to-skin contact with them as possible.
You can get some extra touching and skin contact while breastfeeding your baby, taking baths together, or simply cuddling with them in the morning or any spare time you get.
3) Get some alone time
We’ve already touched on this a little, but you can easily forget about your own needs when you are looking after your newborn baby.
Getting some alone time is as important as spending time with your baby. If you have a partner or relative staying with you, ask them to look after your baby while you go to the market or get yourself some Starbucks alone.
Even I you can’t get out, it’s important to have solo time at home – and not just when your baby is newborn, but as they get older and more mobile too. And not just to regroup and have free thinking time, but to get things you need to complete done too, such as work and chores.
If you need to keep your baby or toddler safe, think about retractable baby gate. A retractable baby gate is especially helpful for mothers whose babies have already started crawling, and they don’t have anyone to watch them while doing working on a short project or doing chores.
There might be some places in your house that can be dangerous for crawling infants, such as kitchens, too. You can install retractable baby gates in those places to keep them away as well as to give you the chance to get things done – as long as you know they are safe and occupied.
4) Learn how to soothe your baby
Mothers can find themselves spending the majority of their day trying to soothe a crying newborn baby. When a baby fusses and cries, mothers rush to see whether the baby needs something, or spends hours rocking and swaying the baby in hopes of them to stop.
A very effective way of soothing your baby is to hold them close to you and pat their back. Make sure that you pat their back by imitating the rhythm of a heartbeat. Your baby is used to hearing muffled heartbeats inside your womb, and recreating a similar sound can help them calm down.
You can also try the shushing technique where you just whisper ‘shh’ softly past their ear and instantly soothe them.
5) Plan ahead
Whether it is your baby’s food or their clothes, it is better to plan as much ahead as you can, than trying to do multiple things at once. For example, before deciding to give a bath to your baby, make sure that their bottle, nappy, wipes, cream, and clothes are ready.
If you choose to have a bath together, keep your clothes or a robe ready as well. Planning these little things will save you from being the a situation where your baby is crying for their milk while you are struggling to find their nappy.
Planning always helps you stay one step ahead and gives you the power to handle whatever situation that is thrown at you.
Enjoy this precious time
As a new mother you’ll no doubt be bombarded with well-meaning advice; some of it welcome, some of it not. And it’s your choice – to a sensible degree – what you decide to take on board, and what you wish to reject.
Don’t feel obliged to make someone else happy by living up to their expectations at this time. Just be the best mother you can, and let go of anything else.
And above all, enjoy this precious time. Your baby will grow all too fast, and in a few years you may well be harking back to these simpler days when you know where your baby is at all times, and they can’t answer back to you!
Photo by Garrett Jackson