Surviving the First Year
My little girl is now 13 months old. To be honest, I don’t really know how that has happened. I’m pretty sure I only gave birth about 3 days ago, which goes to show you that people aren’t exaggerating when they say that it does fly by and it does get easier. It’s still the hardest thing in the world though, but it’s a different kind of hard.
So, with that in mind, I wanted to share my top tips for surviving the first year of being a mum.
Try to accept help
This is still one of my biggest issues, but honestly, it is ok to accept (and ask for) help. Becoming a mum is such an overwhelming experience, so, naturally, you’re going to need to lean on someone. So lean! Do it. Accept the offer of food being made, accept the offer to watch the baby so you can shower, accept the offer of someone doing the washing, accept any help that is offered. I’m not exaggerating. It takes more than a mum to raise a child and mums need as much support as possible.
Talk to people
My mental health took a bit of a hit when I gave birth. I didn’t feel this overwhelming love that I was told I would. Instead, I felt scared and detached from my baby. This didn’t go away for a long time. Make sure you talk to someone, whether it’s your partner, friends, your parents, or a helpline. They care about you and need you to be here. It’s a cliché, but it’s ok to not be ok, so make sure you reach out.
Take advice with a pinch of salt
Advice from other mums/dad/caretakers is great and most of them only mean well, BUT you don’t have to follow every piece of advice. Firstly, most of the advice will contradict itself and secondly, your baby will do what they want regardless. They’re individuals and I think we forget that.
Try to avoid Google
The amount of night feeds I spent googling things like ‘why will my baby not be put down to nap?’, ‘does my baby have reflux?’, ‘when will my baby sleep?’, and ‘why is my baby’s poo green?’. There are so many opinions on how to bring up babies, what you should be doing, and what your baby should be doing, that I find it’s best to try and avoid Google! If you’re worried about the baby’s health, call your Dr. for anything else, I’m pretty sure it’s a phase and it will pass!
Do what is best for you
Your baby is pretty adaptable when they’re first born; they still think they’re part of you. So, whatever you need to do to survive, you do it. If that means binge-watching and eating whilst you cluster feed, you do that. If that means stopping breastfeeding and introducing a bottle, do that. If that means getting some fresh air, do it. Just make sure you’re taking care of you too.
That’s not everything I would say to a new mum, but I think it’s some of the best advice I could’ve had when I came home with that tiny little baby. Mum’s need help, let’s do our best to help them.