As a new parent there is so much to learn, discover and experience. Thinking about my journey as a first time mummy so far, I’ve picked up a bit of advice along the way, and I’d love to share some of it with you. As they say, I wish I knew then what I do now!
1.) Choose a pushchair where the seat reclines – When we went to purchase our pushchair and travel system we had no idea what to choose. There were so many! The one we went for has been fab, it’s sturdy and smooth to use. There is, however, one major thing it has let us down on… the seat doesn’t recline back, making nap time when out and about pretty much impossible. It isn’t the easiest thing falling asleep sitting up is it?! We had no idea about this at the time, so wanted to pass on the knowledge! So, when choosing your pushchair/buggy/stroller (they’re all the same thing, right?), think about this, it’ll make your outings a whole lot easier, trust me!
2.) Stick with sleepsuits – It’s sooo tempting to pick up every adorable outfit you see for your newborn. Recently we had a clear out and discovered (to my absolute horror) that we have six bin liners full of baby clothes aged up to 12 months. Trousers, tops, dresses… and half had hardly been worn due to the fast rate LL grew (as babies generally do, you don’t realise it until you actually have one!), being ill fitted or just really impractical. Babies poo, wee and vomit numerous times a day, meaning lots of outfit changes due to leaks and bodily fluids flying around everywhere. My advice? Stick to sleepsuits/baby gros for the first six months. They are so easy to put on, quick to change, wash brilliantly and are comfortable and breathable for baby. Those newborn shoes may be super cute, but they don’t need them (sorry!) I won’t deny you that pretty little dress though. (I know, I’m a bad influence!)
3.) Ditch the underwired bras if you’re suffering with post pregnancy flushes – After having LL, my body went into sweating overdrive. I felt permanently hot and would have to change my clothes a few times a day as I’d be soaking by lunchtime. I couldn’t stop sweating, and one of the most uncomfortable areas were my breasts. There’s nothing worse than hot, sweaty boobs, confided and constricted by wire and chaffed by sweat and non breathable fabric. So I threw away all my old bras and replaced them with soft, non wired ones, and they’re so much more comfortable, it’s unreal. My boobs have thanked me for it, especially when the flushes come!
4.) The washing will increase with a baby. Have a clearout – The massive amount of washing since having LL is the one chore I’ve struggled with. It wasn’t until my mum came over last week that I realised how many clothes we had. She took one look at my ironing basket and all the socks and pants overflowing onto the floor that she said “You can’t carry on like this, Rebecca.” (When she calls me by my full name I know she means business!) I actually hadn’t realised it before, I just thought having lots of attire choices for the three of us meant I was being prepared for all weathers and occasions. Actually not the case, it just meant my laundry basket was permanently full. So we proceeded to throw out the stuff we’d had for years that were unworn, had seen better days and didn’t fit anymore. It felt so uplifting and I have to say the washing has halved. Hurrah!
5.) Parent your way and brush off the negative opinions – I’ve touched on this so many times and it’s something I feel very strongly about. It bugs me to distraction how some people think it’s ok to voice their opinions on how you should bring up your own child. People seem to have some unrealistic views on how a baby/child should behave. If they can’t self settle without mummy or daddy, don’t sleep through the night, have a dummy, have a bottle at bedtime, watch Peppa Pig whilst you get the dinner… in their eyes that means the parent is doing something wrong. I was asked if LL was sleeping through the night in her own bed, to which I replied truthfully “no, she’s in our bed otherwise none of us will sleep.” I was told “you must’ve done something wrong to make her like that.” Nice. And total bullshit. Which leads me onto…
6.) It’s ok to doubt yourself – Because as a parent you will, at some point. I’ve read blogs, forums and books, desperately trying to find answers as to why my little one wasn’t sleeping through the night on her own, to make her stop having tantrums and get her to eat all of her dinner without deliberately dropping it on the floor. Anything to make me feel like I’m doing this thing called parenting right. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you feel and what you’re comfortable with. By all means read up on issues you want more information on, but remember, the love you feel for your child is like nothing else, and that’s all that matters, so just go with your instincts. Another link onto…
7.) Every child is different – This is so true, and one point I can’t stress enough. It’s so easy and completely normal to compare your child to other people’s. “Why isn’t mine sleeping through like so and so” or “why isn’t she walking or talking yet like so and so.” The answer is they all develop at different stages and they all have unique personalities. It’s easy to forget this sometimes, but new parents will feel a variety of emotions and think all sorts of things along the way. It’s all part of the parent and baby journey. Just love your baby and do what feels natural for you and your family. Enjoy and cherish every moment of it, for it goes far too fast.
8.) Baby wipes are the Swiss Army knife of a Parent – Never leave the house without them. Do you hear me? NEVER. Snotty noses, pooey bums, food remnants around their mouths…there’s nothing these little beauties can’t solve!
9.) It doesn’t matter about the mess – Children explore, and whilst doing so, they make a mess. Books strewn across the carpet, toys underneath the sofa, food splattered walls, empty tissue boxes with the contents ripped to shreds. Hubby stresses about the constant mess but I let LL get on with it. It takes two minutes at the end of the day to put the toys back in the basket and the books back on the shelf. As long as the child is safe and there are no choking hazards lying around, or anything else that could cause problems (you have to have eyes in the back of your head when you have a child!) just try and go with the flow and relax into it.
10.) Nothing surprises me anymore – My toddler pooing in the bath then grabbing it in her hand and squeezing whist shouting “oh dear!”, my expensive make up brushes in the bathroom pedestal bin, having a snotty nose wiped on my fresh, clean clothes… believe me the eye rolls from me on a daily basis must be hilarious. It’s hard to stay calm sometimes but I’ve found it gets easier with becoming more resilient and allowing yourself to go with the flow. My parenting choice is to try and be a more relaxed mummy, and I feel that it bounces off LL if I try and not get really worked up about the more challenging times, although it’s really hard sometimes!
Let me know what you think or anything you can add to the list! Thanks for reading lovelies! Lots of love xxx