Thoughts for new mums

I can’t take credit for all of these, but here are some thoughts, phrases, quotations, sayings, pieces of advice etc. that have struck a cord for me and stayed in my mind since becoming a mum. Sorry for not giving credit for all of them, if I haven’t it’s because I can’t remember where I read or heard it.

Tomorrow is another day and will always come. Keep going.

The most important thing to get for your baby is a village. Your village will keep you afloat. They will carry you when you are tired, feed you when you are starving, forgive you when you are unkempt and hours late and a neglectful friend who can’t remember to wear socks let alone whose birthday it is. They will love your baby when you are too tired or frustrated to hold her at the moment, because you are imperfect and human and have imperfect and human failings. They will remind you who you are when you start to think your whole life is only about poop. They will lift you up. (From here)

If you only take one piece of advice from me, let it be this: put the baby to bed AWAKE (my mum)

When you’ve had a baby there are two types of visitor: those who bring food and those who eat your food. You will love the first and want to kill the second.

When you find yourself getting angry at your husband, remember he is not the enemy. The baby is the enemy.

You can do so much more than you ever thought you could do. You will discover that your limit to be without sleep is much, much longer than you ever thought possible. You have no idea how bloody incredible you are (my husband)

You are not alone. Other mothers struggle, too. They flicker like candles, awake in the night in a thousand bedrooms, in the past, in the future, right now. They hunch over their babies, nursing. They are limp and worn, like wrung out washcloths. Remember them when you are up in the night for the fifth time. When your baby won’t stop crying; when you can’t stop crying. (From here)

Other people know babies, but no-one knows your baby like you (Aisling)

Sleep when they sleep (everyone, but I specifically remember reading it here)

When you feel guilty as a new parent it’s because you’ve done something wrong. Take a moment to think about what you’ve done and make sure you don’t do it again. (One piece of advice that you definitely SHOULDN’T take, because it’s an incredibly stupid and damaging thing to say. I heard it from a clinical phycologist who specialised in babies, at a baby group when Freddie was 10 weeks old. I know.)

It’s not about what we are doing: bottle feeding, breastfeeding, baking a cake, buying one from Costco–it’s that all of these things are done with love and intention. How we love and care for our children is a matter of individuality, but the whys are more similar than we think. If we as parents spent less time being critical and defensive and more time lifting each other up, the journey would be a little easier on all of us. (From here)

This too shall pass (My dad)

When you’re tired and emotional and don’t think you can get through the day, it’s amazing how much better you feel after having a shower, washing your face, getting dressed, eating breakfast and drinking a cup of tea (that’s from me)

And a current family favourite, not necessarily for new mums:

positive11

(Vivian Greene, image from here)

5 thoughts on “Thoughts for new mums

  1. A late comment, but I love these quotes, except for psychologists (that could be really quite damaging, if someone actually listened to him). I especially love your mums quote, as it resonates with me, as I’ve had to break this habit (and yes, Ava sleeps much better since I started putting her down awake). I hope you and your lovely family are all well. xx

    • It was a woman, actually. She said some more things that maybe I’ll talk about another time… My mum has always said this about putting babies down awake and I never really took it in, until I realised how difficult it is!

  2. This particular piece of advice (about putting your baby to bed while he/she is fed, dry and sleepy but actually still awake!) has come from my personal experience of 4 babies.
    Esme was 7 YEARS old before she slept through the night. Yes, I know. And it was completely and utterly our fault. It wasn’t until Amy was born and I was still struggling with a toddler Esme and had no choice but to put Amy down whilst she was still awake that I had that light bulb moment. Then my amazing (male and very camp) health visitor told me that babies need to learn to get themselves to sleep otherwise when they wake up they need you to get them back to sleep. So simple yet so hard to do…
    I thought long and hard before giving either of my daughters any advice about babies mostly because everyone gives advice – whether wanted or not – but every mother and baby relationship is different. Every family and their needs are different. But when I looked back at those baby years I realised that the one thing that would have made mine (and Esme’s!) lives easier was this. Let your baby learn to get themselves back to sleep. Put your baby to bed awake.
    I hope it helps. :o)

  3. Also loving your mum’s advice.

    And CAN NOT believe that bit of advice about guilt. What a pile of crap! Mothers feel guilty because they are mothers and women and e always beat ourselves up before thinking it through. How damaging that could be, not just for mum but a baby too.

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