I had to give one of my dogs a pill with her food this morning. While I was looking for a treat to help the pill go down without a fuss, I was reminded of the day we got them. They were two of the cutest little pups I’d ever seen. Their long floppy ears longer than their tiny bodies and I could hold them in the palm of my hand.
I took them off to the vet for their shots and a once-over and started asking questions about pet care, where they should sleep and what I could expect. I was clueless.
Having never owned a pet before I started looking for all the info I could find on puppies. I also phoned the vet several times a day for a week…I’m sure he thought I was a complete lunatic. In fact, what he probably thought was that he should phone the SPCA and get them to come and relieve me of my duties as a pet owner.
When I realised I’d exhausted the vet as a resource I turned to other pet owners for advice. I got some great advice and took and implemented most of it.
So what’s the point of my telling you this? Well, it’s that having a brand new baby is the same. Until the baby actually comes along, you don’t actually know what you don’t know and you’re not really sure how to prepare.
Suddenly you have a brand new baby and you’re terrified of making a mistake or of doing something wrong.
Here are 5 tips I’ve gleaned from a few new moms to help you if you’re in the first phases of motherhood:
1. Don’t bottle your feelings up. Tell someone if you feel afraid or like you’re not coping. It helps to talk and people usually do offer sensible advice or solutions to the things you’re feeling worried about. (Kath. Mom to Joshua 10 weeks old)
2. Leave the house! Meet a friend for coffee, ask your mom if she’ll go shopping with you or just go for a walk. I felt so lonely and trapped inside my house that I began to feel resentful of the baby. If I hadn’t been so worried about getting all packed up and taking Kiara out, I would have felt a lot happier and perhaps even bonded better with her. (Tammy. Mom to Kiara, 6 months)
3. Keep telling yourself you’re not alone. (Sam. Mom to Tayler, 4 weeks old)
4. Get someone to come in and help you. I didn’t have a full time nanny when James was born and I really struggled being alone with him during the day. My mom-in-law would come around once a week and it was always such a relief to have her there – someone else to hold the baby for a few minutes or help make a cup of tea. I’ve since learned she would have been happy to have come by every day. I wish I’d known. It would have been such a help for the first few weeks. (Karryn. Mom to James, 3 months)
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is something my best friend told me and it’s the best advice I got. The most important thing is that your baby is fed, nappy changed and has somewhere to sleep. Bathing, playing and stimulating can wait. Just get to grips with the basics. The more relaxed you are the more you’ll enjoy your time with your baby and the more relaxed he will be. (Marty. Mom to Ethan, 10 months)