Written by Jess Raubenheimer-Free
When you’re pregnant, or a new mum, you get given a LOT of advice. Some of it welcomed, some not so much. I’ve written before about bad advice, but I have also been given some really great advice. Here’s some of the best advice I’ve been given so far.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Seriously, when I first heard this one, all I could think was YEAH RIGHT! I’m not a super chill person by nature, so I found it pretty hard to let the little things slide. It’s taken a few months to really see how useful this advice was, and the same amount of times for me to take it.
The truth is, if you stress about everything little thing, you’re going to be wound up all the time and your baby’s cutest months are going to just fly right by you. Try to stay away from Google - it can be hard I know! But chances are, that slightly quirky thing your baby is doing is completely normal, and just their little personality starting to bloom!
Do what works for you and your family
It can be so easy to get swept up in what the “right” thing is to do, what all the influencers are doing with their kids, or what your mother in law thinks you should do. If sleep training is something that works for you and your child, do it. If letting them contact nap is the only way they’ll sleep, do it. If you want to stop breastfeeding because you just want your body back, do it. If you want to breastfeed until your child is 5, do it.
If I was to do it all again (and hopefully I do in a couple of years), I would definitely embrace this a little more. With my daughter, I was terrified of doing the “wrong” thing for the first 3 months. I wouldn’t budge on giving her a bottle with breastmilk in it, because I was told it would cause her to stop breastfeeding. I’m sure this does happen for many babies, but in our case it ended up causing more problems to not give her a bottle early. I was the only one who could feed her, which meant my husband could never help me out at 3am when I was so exhausted I could cry. It seriously impacted my mental health, and later caused further issues when she outright refused to take a bottle at 4 months when we really needed her to (I was away for work).
As a mother, it’s up to YOU to figure out what works for you and your child (within reason, obviously). Nobody can tell you what to do, and they shouldn’t try.
So stop comparing what you’re doing to the Instagram stories of some influencer, or your friends for that matter. Every child, every mother, and every family is unique.
Make time for you
Yes mama, you are SO important and worthy of making time for you! This particular piece of advice can be annoying sometimes because you sit there wondering “WHEN am I supposed to make time for me?!”
That’s the thing though, the advice is to MAKE time for you. You are allowed to be a priority.
It can be the little things, like having a shower in the mornings before getting baby up for the day. Maybe it’s going for coffee with a friend, kid free! It can be going to get your brows done, or simply going for a walk with the dog if that’s your jam. As mothers we tend to just go, and go, and go and give everything to our kids, our partners, our families, our pets. Sometimes you just need to set some boundaries and make time to look after you.
Let your partner help
A lot of the time, partners of birthing parents can feel a little left out. It’s important to let your partner help you during those early sleep deprived days. Don’t try to do it all on your own, or shut them out. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the help!
I embraced this particular piece of advice when my daughter was born, and my husband really stepped up to the plate and did a fantastic job. He’d let me go to bed early and stay up with our daughter, waking me when she needed a breastfeed. Of course we were extremely blessed to have him off on paternity leave for two weeks after the birth, so we didn’t have to worry about him being too tired for work.
Don’t compare your child to others
If you’re anything like me, you probably have an app which tells you which milestones your child should be hitting when.
The thing is, your child is not a robot and will develop at their own rate.
This was a recent struggle for me as my daughter wasn’t crawling “properly” until just a few weeks ago. Everything I read said that crawling wasn’t a crucial milestone, but it stressed me all the same.
Then one weekend, she just started doing it! Now she’s motoring around the house on all fours, and I feel a bit foolish for spending all that time stressing about it. The thing I’ve found is that babies not only develop at different rates, but they develop different skills in different orders. I was somewhat comforted by the fact that even though my daughter wasn’t crawling properly, she had incredible fine motor skills, and mastered the pincer grasp pretty early. I realised that she was simply working on other things, and she got to crawling in her own time.
What are some of the best pieces of advice you’ve been given about motherhood and raising kids?