Becoming a parent was the most life changing event in my life. It quite literally turned my life upside down – I’d always considered myself to be quite a selfish person, and yet suddenly I had this little being, entirely dependent on me, who I was desperate to do the best for. It’s a really scary time. It’s crammed to the brim with emotions, and you’re trying to learn things you’ve never done before with next to nothing in the way of an instruction manual. There is so much that I’d want to tell myself as a first time parent…
Trust Your Instincts
As a first time mum, I scoffed at the phrase ‘mother’s intuition’. I’d never done this before, how could I know better than professionals who saw hundreds of babies each week? But as I became more experienced as a mum, I realised that there is so much to be said for this phrase. You know your baby better than anyone, you’re with them, day in, day out (not to mention the nights). You know what’s normal and what’s not for your baby, and when you have a little being who is incapable of voicing how they feel, your intuition is often the best indicator of whether they’re well or not.
It’s Good To Be Pushy
First time around I was fobbed off by every health visitor and doctor I spoke to about Max. He wasn’t a happy baby for the first year of his life – he cried a lot, almost constantly for the first 6 months. I’m convinced now that he had silent reflux, just like his brother has suffered with. He cried so much, and desperately struggled to sleep. But whenever I queried it with our health visitors, they would look at me with a condescending look and say “babies cry you know”. And I left, feeling small, insecure, and like I didn’t know what I was doing. But this time I’ve been far more pushy. It’s funny how just the fact that you already have a child makes people take you more seriously. This time around we’ve had so much more help – we’ve had various different types of medication for Ben’s reflux until we found one which worked, as well as help identifying his cows milk protein allergy. Have the confidence to be pushy and trust your instincts.
When you have a baby, every cough and cold hits them hard and results in sleepless nights for everyone. Make life easy on yourself and make sure your medicine cupboard is fully stocked with everything you need to make illness easier. Vicks BabyRub is a genius product which you rub on your baby’s chest and it eases their breathing. It has a mild fragrance, containing rosemary, lavender, and aloe vera, all intended to soothe and calm your baby. It’s a lovely addition to your bedtime routine and a great bonding experience.
You’ll Learn On The Job
I was the mum who had never even changed a nappy when my first baby was born. None of my friends or close family had babies, so I had absolutely zero experience of what to do. I found the whole thing intimidating and terrifying. I spent a long time reading books about baby development, which gave me a wealth of information, but ultimately all contradicted each other and left me feeling concerned when my baby didn’t hit the milestones at the ‘right’ time. The reality is that you’ll learn on the job and pick things up at the stage that you need them.
It Gets Easier
I remember finding the first year of motherhood such a struggle. There was so much to love about it, but it was such a difficult time. I had a few people tell me early on that “It just gets harder, you know“, and I thought I couldn’t see quite how much harder it could get. But I couldn’t disagree more with that. Although there are different struggles as your children get older, I don’t think there’s anything that compares to that first year of motherhood. Struggling to get by on a few hours sleep every night, hormones all over the place, trying to learn skills that are completely new, and feeling isolated from your old life. I found that after that first year had passed, I could look back at the end of every month and realise that it had got a little bit easier, and by the time Max turned 2 I was absolutely loving spending time with my little companion. I think every year since has got better – seeing your child become their own little person is the most amazing thing about being a parent and I can feel my heart swell when I hear him say a new word, or when he flings his arms around me and says “I love you Mummy”.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
It’s so easy to look around at other mums out there and feel like you’re the only one struggling. Women are remarkably good at putting a good face on things I think! But the reality is that I don’t know a single parent out there who doesn’t find it the toughest thing they’ve done. Children have a way of pushing you to your absolute limits; physically, and emotionally, parenting is only for the tough. We all have our good days and bad days, and to look at someone else’s good day and compare yourself to that is so short-sighted. You never know the full picture, and we all have those days where we shout more than we’d like, where we hide in the kitchen, scoffing chocolate just to get ourselves through to bedtime. Be happy that you’re doing the best job you can and surround yourself with friends who you can be honest with and who have your back when things are tough.
Capture The Memories
As a new parent, you have so many amazing experiences ahead of you. While I would never be foolish enough to say enjoy every minute, make sure you appreciate and capture the happy moments when they happen. Whether that’s keeping a diary, taking photos, writing a blog – however you choose to do it is up to you, but make sure you have those wonderful memories to look back on and to show your children the record of their childhood. One of my favourite things to do is look back over old photos and videos and to marvel at just how much I’d forgotten of exactly what the children were like. Memories become hazy and the details fade with time, so it’s so important to capture the happy moments.
This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99