What advice would you give to a first time mum?

May 3, 2012

I was chatting to a first time mum-to-be the other night and I found myself having to do the verbal equivalent of Sitting On Hands so I didn’t scare her with too many stories about birth, pelvic floors and the horror of trying to go to the loo when you have stitches.

My biggest advice for an expectant mum is to leave your dignity at the door of the labour ward – frankly, any indiscretions will soon be forgotten *cough*. Oh and don’t forget to do those pelvic floors *cough cough*.

But what advice would you give to a first time mum to be? I’d love to know.

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  • Helen Foran May 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

    You can never have too many muslin squares…

  • claire hatcher May 5, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Everything’s a phase: savour the good and remember that the not-so-good will pass…

  • Lesley Dobson May 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Sleep whenever you can, which will usually be when the baby’s asleep. Accept offers of help, and make sure you eat and drink often – you’re doing this for the baby too.

  • Liz (@violetposy) May 4, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Trust your instincts

    Ask for help.

    Sometimes they do actually cry for no reason whatsoever – there is nothing you can do to make it better. It’s not your fault!

    Some babies just don’t sleep, once again not your fault. And try and sleep when they do, it really does help.

    Take a million photos/videos it will pass in a flash – it just doesn’t feel like it when you’re in the middle of it.

    Ignore well meaning advice, don’t get upset. Just say ‘yes’, smile and ignore them.

  • Abdelevan May 4, 2012 at 9:26 am

    1)Babies often cry when they are tired, not just when they are hungry. Most other peoples reaction to hearing your baby cry will be to tell you it must be hungry. If you know they have just fed, and tell them, they will say “It must be wind”, but they’ve just done a big burp. These are the automatic public responses to babies crying because others want it to stop. Immediately. Don’t mind them and think about what it actually is the baby probably needs at the time.
    2) Whatever it is, it’s just a phase. Doesn’t mean you don’t have to deal with it but does mean it will pass, change or be grown out of.

  • Amy Woods May 4, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Dont spend the last few weeks of pregnancy hating it and want your baby out. You’ll miss being pregnant when it’s gone. Catch up on rest even if you can’t sleep.

    Ignore all the mums that boast about their perfect baby when yours isn’t sleeping and has colic. They’re lying. The competitive mum thing is awful.

    Don’t become a competitive mum!!

  • Claire Toplis May 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Do your washing at night when they wake you up.. Listen to classical music when you go feed them in their room.

    Enjoy it .. they grow so fast

  • Jenny Nixon May 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    1. Take lip balm with you when you are in labour. Hospital air con and lots of heavy breathing make for chapped lips. One more thing you don’t want to have to think about.
    2. After you have given birth wee on the bidet or take a bowl of cool water and some cotton wool to sluice!
    3. On the same front try and stay hydrated. When your pee is very concentrated it stings more. Also will help with that first dreaded number 2.
    4. You will probably not ping back into your jeans. If you are like me you will look like a pot bellied porn star for a number of weeks.
    5. You will not be able to lie on your front straight away (not major I know but I was soo looking forward to it). My boobs were so big that when I tried it I 1. screamed in agony and 2. My upper half was elevated 3 foot higher than my lower half (slight exaggeration)
    6. Obviously enjoy it! It can be daunting, painful and to be honest down right humiliating but savour every moment x

  • Curious Mum May 3, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    When your baby sleeps, sleep! Don’t try to clean the house

  • Tracy Morter May 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Listen to your instincts!
    Educate yourself on what babies are really like, what is normal baby behaviour. Society has really unrealistic expectations hence the popularity of baby training manuals. Don’t believe what people say without questioning it first and doing your own research..getting a book published doesn’t make you an expert!
    These ideas about making a rod for your own back and spoling a baby with cuddles are not only myths but in fact the opposite is true!
    Science now backs up our instincts. Don’t compare your baby to others. Listen to your baby and your heart and you’ll be fine.
    When it comes to breastfeeding find yourself a qualified counsellor or peer supporter to talk to, health professionals get very little training in this area.

  • Sally Todd May 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Always remember that mummy knows best. Politely listen to peoples advice, they will give it to you whether you ask for it or not, trust me, but do not feel compelled to act on it. What works for some doesn’t mean it will work for you.

    Go with your gut instinct and you will be fine.

  • Jules May 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Remind yourself daily that while you may be full of fear of the unknown now, as soon as that baby is in your arms all will be forgotten and replaced instead with the very much earned award of Motherhood!

  • Suzanne Whitton May 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Do not set yourself too high a target – if you’re dressed by midday then pat yourself on the back. If you’re not, that’s ok too. Don’t buy every baby manual in the shop (and don’t listen too all advice from well-meaning ‘experienced’ mothers either) – if you want to go Gina Ford then stick to that, if you want to go with The Baby Whisperer then follow that one. Don’t be pressurised by others, your baby belongs to you and YOU know him/her best 🙂

  • Kim Millar May 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Value yourself enough to ask for help when you need it.
    Trust yourself enough to know what’s best for your baby.
    Love yourself enough to give yourself the rest, help, space you need.
    You are the best mother in the world for your baby and being kind to yourself will teach you all you need to care for your baby.

  • MummyTravels May 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Ditto! As a first-time mum-to-be (er, the first-time mum-to-be?!), I’ve swinging between feeling overwhelmed and not having a clue, so loving all the tips… especially the one about the code word.

    Just off to do my pelvic floor exercises. Ahem.

  • Mrs Lister May 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

    *bookmarks page*


  • Mamacook May 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Birth isn’t half as bad as you think it would be, having a baby is 10 times harder.

    Everyone gets it somewhere, no-one has an ‘easy’ baby in every way.

    Ask for help from friends, family etc. and if anyone offers say “yes”.

  • Kara May 3, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I forgot to add – get yourself on twitter. Lots of helpful advice and support from fellow mums and the #3amfc (3am feeding club) to make those night feeds more bearable!!

  • Louise smith MA May 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Good tips ladies. Mine would be to be aware of your gut instinct and trust it especially when you know your little one is ill, regardless of being shunned as a first time parent… And use twitter/mums net/net mums for advice etc when possible.

    Sure start centres have often saved my sanity too!

  • sarah May 3, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Try and trust your own instincts
    You are the best mother for your baby
    Don’t read the books, I was overwhelmed by the amount of different advice
    Try to enjoy feeding for hours every day, enjoy spending time off your feet, baby feeding, you watching tv or reading, they are soon older and get distracted while feeding so you can’t watch tv!

  • knitty mummy May 3, 2012 at 9:27 am

    If you are planning on breastfeeding get some Lansinoh right away. And change your breastpads a lot. It makes it a much more comfortable experience

  • Emma May 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

    When you feel up to it after birth – walk every day. It doesn’t have to be far, but will make all the difference mentally and physically.

  • Kara May 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Understand the labour process – it makes the whole thing less scary if you know what your body is doing and why!
    Regulate visitors and devise a “get rid of them” code word with your other half.
    Housework can wait – sleep when baby sleeps!!
    Accept all offers of help – cooking / cleaning / shopping!

    • Rachelradiostar May 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Yes! My health visitor said put a no visitors please sign on the door! I never did but wished I had! The first few days may be overwhelming and it’s important that you get rest. IF visitors come then THEY can make the brew x

  • Jane - Enchanted Wood Toys May 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Trust your own instincts – it’s the only way.

  • Kerrie-Anne Bradley May 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Here are a few things I would share with first-time mums:

    1. Do not be afraid to ask for help – there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to help, no matter how silly you think the question is.

    2. Do not be disheartened by negative responses when you ask for help – sometimes the answers you get will be said with some sarcastic or even dogmatic intent. Do not worry though, these people are not helpful and shouldn’t discourage you from looking further.

    3. Follow your instinct – if you think that there is something wrong then there’s a good chance that it is.

    4. Don’t let the woes of breastfeeding get you down – no matter what you have been told, breastfeeding does not always work out at first BUT you get through it. My baby had a tongue-tie for the first 6 weeks and couldn’t latch on. She lost a lot of weight because of this and the advice we were given at first was that using a nipple shield would mean she could feed. This was true, however, it meant that she couldn’t get the fatty milk and subsequently lost a lot of weight. To solve this, I had to go through an intensive time of feeding with the nipple shield and then pumping 8-10 times per day! She put on weight and moved up the weight chart quite dramatically.

    5. If you think you have mastitis or even slightly engorged breasts then knead, knead, knead!! I had it 4 times and managed to get rid of it by massaging in a manic way each time….

    6. Try your best to get out and about – meeting up with other new mums helps as you can talk things through. Even meeting with friends who do not have babies is great because it allows you time to have a break (and plus everyone you meet will want to cuddle the newborn which gives your arms a rest!)

    7. Take as many pictures as possible – it is nice to see how your baby changes as the days go by. Don’t go over the top like me however – my friends now refer to my Facebook as Mumbook 🙂

    8. Lastly, be happy and enjoy every minute of this precious time…

  • Aly May 3, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Great idea for a post.

    You will hear everyone’s opinion on everything; feeding, sleeping, napping, dummies etc. This can be overwhelming.
    Just smile, say thank you and take from it what you feel best.
    Also remember that no matter who gives that baba cuddles, how much of a skill they have with winding, YOU (and your partner if applicable) are the person that wee one would chose ANY day. You are their number one.
    Ps: they say the early days go quickly. They don’t feel like that at the time. But they do. So gather up every sound, smell& cuddle and put it into a special internal memory box.

  • Claire Haymes May 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I have 19 month old twins. When I was expecting I was worried about both babies crying and needing me at the same time. A Health Visitor who had also had twins said to me “your babies don’t know they can be cuddled all the time or when they cry, don’t let them know and they won’t know what they are missing so no harm done”. This really helped me. Seeing other mums just sitting holding their babies and then seeing them cry every time they put them down made me realise what she meant. My twins soon stopped crying for attention and were getting on playing with toys. Now we have lots of cuddles and hardly any tears. It’s tough love at the start and very hard but the long term gain is fantastic.

  • Christie May 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Don’t expect your house to be immaculate for the next 3 months, unless you have a cleaner.

    If you are planning to breastfeed, have the numbers for your local breastfeeding support groups handy – you will probably need them. Get an expressing machine and learn how to express, even if you don’t store the milk it stimulates production.

    Don’t get too hung up on the mum competitiveness – half of them are lying anyway!

  • Sonya Cisco May 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

    It’s gets easier…

  • Amy and1moremeans5 May 3, 2012 at 8:53 am

    My tip would be to take life as a new mum at your own pace not what you think is expected of you. Enjoy your babymoon as it Is such a special time, sleep when baby does and try and grab 30mins a day to have a hot bath or read a book just for a bit of ‘me time’ xx

  • Crystal Jigsaw May 3, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Don’t go mad buying baby grows, mittens, vests and clothes because you’ll be inundated with them from everyone else!

    Other than that, I’d say enjoy being a new mum and do what’s best for you.
    CJ x

  • Kat May 3, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Don’t buy every single baby contraption at the store. You won’t need half of them.