A new baby is something really special, they smell gorgeous, are tiny and cute and they completely overhaul your lives for a while. It takes some to time to adjust to a new baby in your home, as you get to know them and they get to know you. It's hard work, exhausting and emotionally draining. I've written some tips I would have given myself as a new baby arrived.
1. Trust your instinct - it's usually right.
2. If in doubt, ask for a second opinion. Always feel strong enough to ask for a second opinion about your baby, see another doctor or see a health visitor and make sure you feel comfortable with the advice you've been given.
3. Sleep when the baby sleeps and don't feel guilty about it. A tired mummy is no good to anyone.
4. Breastfeed your baby and if that isn't what you want to do or it doesn't work out, then bottle feed your baby.
5. Own your parenting decisions and don't be made to feel guilty. We all have to make difficult decisions around our parenting choices and we need to be confident in them.
6. Let the other stuff slide. Cooking, cleaning, friends can all take a bit of a backseat whilst you adjust to motherhood.
7. Make sure you still do stuff you enjoy. If that's getting out with some friends then so be it or if you're a home bird and not ready to leave the baby then have a nice bath or read a book whilst someone watches the baby.
8. If you don't already have them, make mum friends. Join a group on Facebook or go to a local mum's group, these women need you as much as you need them.
9. Your baby probably wont sleep for a long time and that's normal. Try and ignore anyone who says that their two week old sleeps through for 12 hours as the chances are when that baby is teething, sleep will once again be a distant memory.
10. Hold your baby, let time pass by, breathe in that smell and remember the perfect moments.
11. Every mum, 1st, 2nd, or 6th time will make a mistake so don't let it upset you. Your baby won't remember and guilt is every mums' worst enemy.
12. Take everyone's opinions with a pinch of salt. Take your time to make up your own mind.
13. Don't compare your baby to another baby.
14. Sometimes our own mothers and grandmother's want to pass on their words of wisdom, but please remember advice has changed hugely over the last 20+ years. I'm sure the advice is meant to be helpful, but please make sure the advice you are given meets current guidelines. No babies sleeping on tummies or thickened formula please.
15. Muslin cloths are amazing and you can never have enough. Great for all sorts of spit up and mess and also double handy as a breastfeeding cover tucked into your bra strap.
16. Ask for help, read my blog post on postnatal depression http://themuddledmother.co.uk/antidepressants/help-postnatal-depression-anxiety/. You don't need to be a hero and you won't get an award. If you need help, please ask for it.
17. Always have baby wipes around. I honestly don't know how mums managed before baby wipes, as they really are amazing for cleaning anything! If you don't fancy shop bought ones you can always make your own.
Little babies don't stay little for long so try to remember those special moments as when you look back this is what matters. The night-time feeds, screaming, baby sick and tears from you and baby will fade much quicker over time, but those little moments of happiness will last a lifetime.