We Asked, You Answered: This Is the Best Advice for New Mums
There's no shortage of advice available to new moms. Between best-selling parenting books, well-meaning family and friends, and even strangers on the street, there's plenty of advice to consider. Just sifting through the sheer amount of information that comes your way can be a daunting task—how do you know whose advice to take and whose to (respectfully) disregard?
Because we're of the mindset that honest parenting advice from real mums is one of the best resources out there, we asked the smart, insightful, and hilarious mums to share their words of wisdom. Their comments had us nodding in agreement, laughing out loud, and looking for a pen and paper to jot down notes. Naturally, we knew we had to share their advice here (with their permission, of course).
Ahead are 30 mums on navigating the early stages of motherhood, listening to your instincts, and figuring it out as you go.
I think it's important to remember that those first weeks are hard, but they are not forever. Your life will feel normal again.
Be gentle with yourself and others. Being a new mum is hard. We are all doing this for the first time, without an instruction manual, just figuring it out as we go. So you made a mistake, or let them watch too much TV, or stopped breastfeeding, etc. It's okay. We're all doing our best, and that's all that matters.
I would tell any new mum, always listen to your instincts. People put so much pressure on new mums that they often get overwhelmed and stop listening to themselves. A mother's instincts are one of our greatest assets.
Don't limit your career potential. I was recruited to my current role at seven months pregnant with my first child and received a promotion while I was on maternity leave with my second. I went back to work six weeks earlier than I'd originally planned after the birth of my second child earlier this year, and while this isn't for everyone, it is so important that we recruit, hire, and promote women and new mothers. We can't do that if you leave.
Everything is a phase. It doesn't last forever, and you will get through it.
I would definitely say not to listen to the other mums brag that their baby walks and talks at nine months or their 2-year-old knows how to read. Every baby is gifted and has challenges, [and] every baby is on their own schedule of development. Trust me. I have a 13-year-old, and I taught preschool for many years. You never know that those 'perfect' babies who can read early, walk, talk, etc., have challenges such as eating problems or sleeping problems. All babies are perfect and none are perfect.
I have 5- and 8-year-old girls, so I am a bit out of the baby loop. But one thing that helped me as a new mama was being in a baby group. It was a great circle of mums going through the same newborn struggles, lack of sleep, breastfeeding issues, as well as other personal issues, and we were not judged. The babies bond in a peaceful environment. Some babies will be friends forever. I have five mama friends I met at my baby group, and our children are still very close after eight years. Baby groups are key.
A happy mum is a good mum. I went back to work five days postpartum, as I have my own business. My husband was able to take extended paternity leave, so I worked part-time plus enjoyed my baby girl. I nursed her, was there for the important milestones, but also ran my business. I was happy, and my baby girl is a happy, well-adjusted toddler!
I would tell a new mum that there's not one way of parenting that's more right or wrong than the other—that you'll feel more judged than ever before, but you have to do what you feel is right for your baby, yourself, and your family.
I would say don't feel the pressure to conform to other people's expectations of what a 'good mum' is or looks like. We know what is best for our babies. It's intuitive, so trust your instincts. And if you need help, find that mum tribe you can seek out when you need support. I am so thankful for those women now.
Just let go of expectations, and enjoy your baby. Do whatever makes you and your baby the happiest, calmest, and the least stressed.
Breastfeeding should not be excruciatingly painful. If it is, like how it was for me, go see a lactation consultant right away. Give it about four weeks, and you'll find your flow.
Follow your mumma instincts, and always do what is best for your family.
The one thing I tell all my soon-to-be-mum friends is not to stress. With social media, the internet, magazines, etc., everyone is trying to tell us the kind of mum we're supposed to be, the kind of pregnancy we're supposed to have, and the kind of delivery we're supposed to experience. It's easy to fall into the trap of following a specific set of rules on what it means to be the perfect mum. There's no 'one size fits all.' Eat what you want to eat. Work out as much as you want to work out. Make a delivery plan or don't. If your kid latches on, awesome, and if they don't, they will get everything they need to be happy and healthy from formula. Trust your instincts, mums. You got this.
Love your partner/spouse. Don't let your relationship slip because a beautiful new baby enters the picture. Your happiness and togetherness will influence the family dynamic, and kids thrive when there is stability, respect, love, and humor between their caregivers.
Take that baby out. Go to lunches, go for walks, [and] get out of the house. The baby will like the movement and get used to napping on the go, and you will get your sanity back.
This too shall pass. Today might be a really hard or trying day, but tomorrow it'll be gone, and you'll look back and laugh (or cry) and wish you hadn't wished it away. It's only temporary, so hang in there, mama, and make that memory.
If you plan on breastfeeding, hire a lactation consultant. Just because it is a natural thing doesn't make it an easy thing. [It's] worth the investment.
Don't be so caught up in keeping the house clean or running errands. Sometimes you need to slow down and just enjoy the moments with your little one. The time goes by so fast, and when you are so caught up with the tasks of life, you miss time enjoying the blessing that you just created.
Those first days, listen to your body, and pay attention to yourself and your recovery. You. Not the baby. There will be a swarm of nurses and family focused on the new babe, so you need to be the advocate for your health. Don't dismiss any warning signs your body is trying to send, and tell your partner to keep a watchful eye and advocate for you too.
Relax. It's better for you, better for the baby, and the stresses you feel [now] will have evaporated in hindsight.
Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about the job you are doing. You are doing a great job.
Take as many videos as you can. Even the most seemingly mundane moments can be the most precious to look back on.
So many people are willing to advise, [but] what they forget is that all babies, mums, and lifestyles are unique. So go with your own flow and instinct.
Don't compare yourself with other mums you know (or think you know). Parenting is hard. Especially when you are presented with a terrifying bundle who you don't know, doesn't speak your language, but depends on you for everything. Mums who make it look easy are either total freaks of nature or they hire help.
Do what's best for you and your baby. Everyone has an opinion—just listen to your gut.
Get out, and enjoy life. [Don't limit yourself to] dining in restaurants while your baby only naps [or] eats! Don't be afraid to take them out.
There is so much information out there, and everyone has an opinion. Choose a few people that you trust to be your go-to's for advice, and ignore the rest of the noise.
Ask for help, and don't worry about what other people think about how you decide to raise your kid—there are a million ways to be a great parent, and you get to decide which way is the right way for you.
My mantra [is] 'this too shall pass.' Whether good or bad, the trick is you never know how long it will last. So don't get hung up on the unpleasantries, and enjoy the good stuff.
Whenever I feel really overwhelmed, I tell myself there are women with less who do more. [It] helps me gain perspective and reminds me to count my blessings.