I love being a mum and it’s one great adventure. But it’s a huuuuuuggggeeee learning curve and nothing in life can quite prepare you for it. I was 21 when I had my first baby and looking back I didn’t do the greatest job in those early months. So I wanted to share with you the top 5 worst makes new mum’s make, because I made most of them myself.
1. Over protecting from germs
England has its fair share of bad weather but it shouldn’t keep you and baby indoor doors for months on end. Some new mums stay inside for fear of their baby catching a measles somewhere between their front door and the car. But it’s important to get baby out of the house not just for the healthful fresh air but also to expose them to the general germs to help them build up their immunity responses. Over protecting them against germs in their infancy only causes them to struggle more with fighting off germs as they get older. Exposing them to a variety of good and bad germs from infancy trains their immune responses to learn the bad from the good and know when to fight. Babies raised amongst animals have stronger immunities and less allergies as they are exposed to a broader spectrum of germs. So go ahead and get outside, see some friends and family. You and your baby will benefit from it.
2. Doing it alone
Maternal instinct can go into hyperdrive with our first baby in our arms, but it’s so important to include your spouse and other family or friends to create a strong sense of family for baby and give you the rest your body desperately needs. We may be able to change a nappy faster or bathe them with more confidence, but these are skills our spouses need to learn to bond with baby. If friends and family offer food or a weekly cleaning time, take it! Whenever my mum would come round in those early months she wouldn’t snatch my baby out of my arms and send me into the kitchen, she would tell me to just sit down and cuddle and nurse my baby while she washed the dishes, did the laundry and cleaned the bathroom. She knew what we needed! Letting others help in little ways lifts big burdens from our shoulders.
3. Cleaning instead of sleeping
This is arguably one of the hardest things to persuade a new mother to do – sleep! ‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ is one of the most common pieces of advice I’ve heard amongst all generations and cultures. This timeless instruction really does make one of the biggest differences in motherhood, yet amongst our have and do it all culture we set out to prove that we can have a baby and a perfectly clean home”. But honestly, who cares how tidy your house is when there’s a newborn in your arms! I’m not saying you should neglect taking care of your home or stop doing the dishes, but this is where number two comes in handy. If hubby bathes baby then I can tidy up the dinner dishes. But when baby is sleeping I’m lying down as well. By not resting or taking time out to just chill you’re being counter productive. The happier and healthier you are the better parent you can be. Sleep is the best thing for you and your baby in those early months – don’t neglect it!
4. Underestimating your time
I remember being pregnant with my first and working in an office. There were two other pregnant ladies and they would talk about how quickly they would come back to work after baby was born. One lady even went as far to say ‘I’ll just get bored at home doing nothing.’ Ha – I’d like to have seen how that turned out for her. Because for all us mums out there we know that there is no free time, down time, or boredom in those early months. But that is really how so much of the world see us mums-at-home. That we do nothing all day. But newborns take up every moment of our waking and half sleeping moment. You’re not going on holiday, your changing careers. And it’s one of the most demanding careers you’ll ever have.
5. Comparing your baby to others
We all do it whether we want to or not, and if we’re not doing it then someone else will do it for us! We love to brag about how intelligent, strong, healthy or how beautiful our babies are but it can most often get us down more than up when we start comparing our baby to others. It doesn’t matter how soon your baby can sit up, wean, potty train, smile or sleep through the night – they all get there eventually! All those ‘charts’ we’re given are mere averages (and personally something I threw away as soon as I was handed them). Every baby develops differently and will end up with different strengths and weaknesses. Motherhood is not a competition. Enjoy the precious life God gave you and don’t let comparison steal your joy of motherhood.
What took you most by surprise as a first time mum? Anything you would add to the list?