As your due date creeps ever closer, it’s completely normal to feel a little overwhelmed. If you have hundreds of questions about what to expect when your little bundle of joy arrives, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Even with the hospital visits, the antenatal classes and the mountain of books on your shelf, there’s no greater way of preparing for your first baby than hearing from those who have been there, done that.
We’ve been speaking to 5 seasoned mothers, to hear what advice they had to offer any soon to be first-time mums. See what they had to say here and take comfort from their honest experiences.
1. Trust your own instincts
Tackling motherhood for the very first time has its challenges – there’s no doubt about it. What’s important to remember is that it’s a learning curve and that you should give yourself the time to grow as a new mother, before letting your worries get the better of you.
Tania from Larger Family Life now has 13 children to look after, so she’s more than qualified to offer a tip or two to first-time mums:
“Trust your own instincts and try to feel confident in your own abilities. Don’t compare yourself to others and always allow yourself a little time for you. You need it and you deserve it.”
2. Help is your hero
Like with many other aspects of life, a helping hand during those first few months (or years) can often be your saving grace. Grab offers of help with both hands, to free up some time for rest and recuperation, or to see to other tasks that have been hovering in the background.
Cheryl from Mummy of 5 Miracles is certainly an advocate for the helping hand – here’s what advice she had to offer first-time mothers:
“Don’t try to be Superwoman. There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting and receiving help – nobody will think badly of you. Sleep when the baby sleeps – the housework can wait. Most importantly, don’t take other people’s opinions to heart. Everybody brings up their children differently and only you know what is best for your child.”
3. Every baby is different
Babies grow and develop at varying rates. There might be one baby who settles into a routine much quicker than another – some even suggest that girls develop quicker than boys! What new mums can learn from this, however, is that no two babies are the same and there’s no need to worry about how quickly they develop certain skills.
Hannah of Hi Baby Blog knows this all too well, having had these concerns about her own little one:
“As a new mum, it’s easy to get caught up in what you read online or hear from family and friends. I’ve lost too much time worrying about silly things that were really not issues at all.
Don’t compare your baby. They all grow and develop at different times and rates. My daughter was 15 months before she could walk independently but she was ‘ahead’ with other skills like speech and fine motor.”
4. You’re thinking the same as everyone else
Ever thought about something and wondered if anyone else has ever thought the same thing? Chances are they have and the same goes for your thoughts surrounding motherhood.
Jenny, founder of Brucey’s Blog, shares her experiences of being stuck in this predicament:
“Please know that whatever you are thinking, there is definitely someone else thinking/feeling exactly the same. I built up the courage to go to Buggyfit for first time and two thoughts that went through my head concerned the type of bra I should wear and how will my pelvic floor cope with the exercise?! I made an instant friend when I admitted this to someone at the class – she told me she had thought about the exact same things!”
5. Share everything
Be it happy, sad, embarrassing or knowledgeable, it’s useful for first-time mothers to share their experiences. Whether that’s with your friends and family, or with an online community, there’s plenty you can learn or teach others about simply by sharing.
Sam from Stressed Mum offers her own thoughts on the benefits of sharing as a first-time mother:
“My advice for first time mums to be is find an online community, where you can all share your worries, your experiences of being pregnant and getting through the final weeks and days. You’ll find that everyone celebrates together when each of you have your babies – you’ll even have people to chat to during those night feeds!
Fifteen years on and I am still good friends with the mums I met on an online community. Becoming a mum can be isolating, so having friends online can really help you to combat this – you may even meet up at some point.”
If you have any of your own experiences to share with expectant first-time mothers, feel free to leave a comment. We’re sure it will be fully appreciated by the new mums reading this post.