Although I had attended all the antenatal classes during my first pregnancy to learn as much as I could about the birth and my new role as a mum, there were still a lot of surprises in store for me in the first few weeks following the birth of my child. The biggest shocks were how much I loved my new baby and the complete exhaustion I experienced. I also wish that I had realised in advance the physical effects the birth would have on me and how these could last for weeks.
Tips for New Mums
Now I have more experience of being a mum I know there are steps you can take to make those first few weeks a little easier so you can focus on bonding with your baby, getting into a routine and enjoying those precious first few weeks. The first tip is to rest whenever you can. If your baby is asleep, then you should rest too regardless of the time of day. Another good piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask. Your midwife and health visitor will have been asked all sorts of questions so you must not be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for their advice and support. Finally, accept any offers of help you can and don’t try to be superwoman. If your partner offers to make the tea, let him. If your mum volunteers to clean the kitchen for you, then don’t be offended just take her up on the offer.
Tips for New Dads
Becoming a dad for the first time is sometimes an overwhelming experience. The pregnancy and birth are more about the mum than the dad and men are often surprised by the overnight impact that their little bundle has on their lives. Make the most of your new baby by booking time off work. This will give you time to bond with your baby and also makes you available to help and support mum. Another tip for new dads is to be patient and tolerant. The whole process of being pregnant, giving birth and adapting to becoming a mum, combined with exhaustion, invokes both physical and emotional changes in women. Your partner may be tearful and moody for a while but it will soon pass.
Tips for Friends and Family
The birth of anew baby is also an exciting time for friends and family. However, it is also important to remember that it is a special and private time for the new parents. Offer help and support but only give it if your offer is accepted. Telephone before visiting to make sure it is convenient and don’t stay too long. It is important that mum gets her rest.
What Mums Should Expect
From my experience I would say that new mums can expect a roller-coaster of emotions in the first weeks of being a mum. Everything is new and sometimes difficult, but learning how to look after your new baby is a wonderful time that you should make the most of. It can take time to feel confident of your skills as a parent, but caring for your baby soon feels like the most natural thing in the world.