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Being a first time mum is definitely scary and overwhelming most of the time. By the time you are used to being pregnant your little bundle of joy arrives. Seeing other mums always paint a rosy picture, as the grass is always greener on the other side. Help! You wish somebody had given a manual about a baby to you. Mums, its okay! Your first child will teach u to be a fabulous parent. Changes will happen, physically and mentally over period of time.
Having both my kids born and brought up in New Zealand for their infancy and toddler age, has changed my perception on many views. This transition of adapting a new wee member to your family can be fun most of the time. Mind you, I'm not promising a picture full of sunshine and sandy beaches, but it is not impossible too. With everybody giving you advice (from myths to tell-tales), Googling, watching videos, grannies stories, you end up being more confused. Every baby is unique as well as the mum too, you just have to keep experimenting what would work for you and the baby best by balancing it out.
Once the baby is born, it has always been a misconception that it is going to be all about the baby. What most fail to see is that, it is about the Mum and Baby; you both are in this together! At times it may be hard to make out who the grown up is among you both. Kids have such immense capabilities that they can bring a smile on your face as soon as you look at them. These moments may be too few to count on, but it is those tiny little moments that you share with your kid that makes all the tiring times worth the effort.
Keep it simple. Buying expensive things is not necessary in the baby’s first year. It is more for your satisfaction. Play on the floor with your baby every day. That’s their best available playground for them to explore. Use your household/kitchen utensils and products for your child play. At the same time make sure your house is child safe and always keep hazardous household products out of reach and out of sight and reach.
Your little one is your teacher- If you are not sure how to handle your little one, it’s okay! Remind yourself no one is a Pro at doing things, your baby teaches you and you learn and evolve as a parent. There is never a shortcut to be a parent. Being a mum however prepared you are, always expect surprises and keep telling yourself that it's okay not to know everything and let your experience teach you.
At times you feel you are the little one and baby controls you- Go with the flow. Your baby is teaching you to have patience and skills, which you never knew that you had it in you. Don't push yourself too hard to teach your kids, they do things only when they are ready and more importantly, when they want to do. They are beautiful that way. Babies drink, sleep, poop all the time. But not all will follow the rules; your little one has its own set of rules in this and may not give you time to adjust accordingly, but makes sure you both are together in this. Best part of being a mom is that your kids will prepare you to be ready for the unexpected anytime and anyplace.
Never compare other babies or mums (Please try not to get the MUMZILLA in you!!). You will end up with more stress and negativity. Don't be influenced by others. Everyone has got a different story. It is more important how you are coping, learning to balance what works for you. Every mom is a SUPER MOM in her own way so don't bother comparing yourself to others, you will only end up being more disappointed.
Your time is adjusted according to the baby sleep pattern- You will be in Zombie like state most of the times. Begin to help your baby get in routine, such as sleeping at night more than the day and try to have regular schedule. Try to establish a soothing bedtime routine to help the baby to know the change from being awake to being asleep. Try to do the activities in the same routine everyday like looking at a book together, a warm bath, singing a quiet song, rocking for a few minutes and final feed for the night. If baby wakes up during the night, give him/her few minutes to settle back on his own, if you still need to pick up the baby, instead try talking softly and pat his back to reassure the baby that they are okay and you are near them. Sleep pattern may resume, especially after a disruption such as illness, holidays, etc and parents need to try to get back to return briefly after these events.
How to make the most of your times with baby (rhyme time, lullabies, talk to them, and play with them). Cuddle, talk and play with your baby during feeding, dressing and bathing .Make up your own song to your favorite tune. My kids used to love music and songs. Keeps them calm and entertained as well. Make up a song for bath time, one for sleep, etc. But remember to have a soft tune song for bed. Book play is also interesting if you are a book lover yourself. Though getting used to book play takes time for many kids. You and your baby can have more fun when you play more age (months) appropriate games. Getting in tune with your baby’s likes and dislikes can help you feel more comfortable and confident. Get the inner child in you out.
Babies are good listeners you can pour out your heart to them- sometimes venting out your issues may make more sense to you and help you decide what u want to do. Babies love hearing u, your Voice. They can never judge u!
Involve you Hubby!! Most important – React positively to his active involvement with his baby, even if his parenting style is a bit unique. Set aside a time in a day for one or two Hours baby is responsibility of daddy. Research show that Fathers are able to hold their infant’s attention longer in more vigorous and enjoyable types of play than the mother can in her typical reciprocal cooing games. Connections for learning in the baby's rain are increased when the baby is stimulated by these different kinds of play. Talk with him how best he can be of help when the going goes tough. And most importantly try not to Criticize or Blame each other, this just doesn't help.
Don’t rely too much on nannies- Studies proved that there is emotional and physiological connection between you and your baby that strengthens in the first year of their life. Also as a parent, you are one of the most important sources of your baby’s brain stimulation. It may seem scary for u to do it on your own but it's worth the time.
Whenever you want to try to do start something new for your baby, make sure you are energized.
Postnatal Blues-Everyone goes through it. Just remember it’s a phase and you will get over it. Do not feel left out. If you are too stressed out just take deep breaths. Breathe in and breathe out. Try to read something positive, like a positive thought as soon as you get up or when you are feeling low. Don’t stress yourself if something goes wrong, everyone makes mistakes. Make it a routine for you to get out of the house weekly once at the least like Meet your friends and family, a walk, go grocery shopping. These can be done as a mom and baby activity too! Appreciate yourself that you had done a marvelous job being pregnant and giving birth. Your body has undergone tremendous changes. Being a mom is a mixture of complex emotions. New Mum! Always listen to your body not your thoughts.
ME time – This is the most important part of your day. It doesn't have to be for hours; just few minutes say 15-20 mins makes a lot of difference. It can be your Shower time, nap time, reading time or even cooking time. Doing what you like to do and relaxes you.
Love yourself - No matter how your day goes always remember that you are an amazing person and you are your first priority. Don't be hard on yourself; it's all a learning process.
When in doubt always consult. You know your baby the best and believe in your instincts not fear or worry. Sometimes all you need is assurance that you are doing things in the right direction. Whatever or however you do, having fun is more important. This time never comes back and it's never the same as your kids start growing up.
It is a best feeling to teach your child something new, but it is extremely entertaining to watch them explore on their own too. These come in moments. Enjoy and savor it by spending time with them. There is never a guilt free Motherhood.