Having a baby could well be the most ‘turn-your-world-upside-down’ thing you’ll ever do. There will be both highs and lows this first year so here’s what I recommend to new mums and dads to make the most of this special time:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – I get it, I did it, but I wish I hadn’t when I look back. I (almost) panicked if a grandparent didn’t do things the way I wanted. I worried about every meal, every nap, the routine (have one, don’t have one, if you do then is it working?) As long as your baby is generally healthy and kept safe, the occasional missed nap or that odd supper that isn’t his usual organic won’t do any harm. I promise. Stressing the whole time about everything might. So in the words of the band The Eagles ‘Take it Easy’.
- Don’t compare. Milestones – when your baby smiles or sits up for the first time – help you keep an eye on development but I promise, really truly, that whose baby did what first in your ante-natal group will almost certainly not make a jot of difference long term.
- Look after you – if you don’t you won’t be as able to look after your baby. Accept help from relatives and friends. Even if you really don’t want to leave your baby initially, they could make you dinner, tidy up, or stick a load of laundry on. Doing absolutely everything yourself in those first weeks doesn’t make you a better mum, it just makes you tired.
- On a bad day, remember it’s probably only a phase and things will almost certainly get better.
In a few years, you’ll probably look back as I am now and realise that yes, weeks of utterly sleepless nights and days of colic are genuinely hard but it isn’t for ever and before you know it you’ll be blowing out candles and taking photos of your little one’s first birthday party, wondering how a year passed so quickly.