When I fell pregnant with my first child I had rose tinted glasses on. I thought I would be the most natural mum in the world and it would all slot into place. How wrong I was!
Four children later I wish I could go back in time and give myself these ten pieces of advice...............
1. Don't listen to the other mums! So what if their baby sleeps all night and poops roses. You get extra time with your baby because he doesn't want to leave your lovely cuddles at night. Just snuggle down with him and enjoy the precious moments whilst they last.
2. DO NOT READ 'expert' baby books. The only expert on your baby is you. You are with him 24 7. Don't become fixated on an 'Eat, Activity, Sleep, You' routine just because that's what the book says. The word EASY does not come into parenting. Being a mum is hard and don't be fooled by so called experts telling you it can be easy when they probably don't even have kids themselves!
3. Don't moan about being stuck on the sofa all day watching TV whilst your baby constantly wants to be on your boob. Watch Desperate Housewives or indulge in an entire box set of Friends. A year from now you will be lucky if you get to sit down for 5 minutes and watch TV so enjoy it while you can.
4. Don't spend hours trying to get your baby down for a nap. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to get into 'a routine' of putting them in their cot during the day. Take them out for a walk in the buggy, go for a drive, put them in your baby sling and do the hoovering. Whatever works for you, do it!
5. Don't worry about losing your baby belly straight away. So what if you are a bit wobbly round the midriff. It is your trophy for nurturing your little baby inside you for 9 months. Wear it with pride!
6. Don't stress about getting your baby into a routine with feeding. Some babies are incredibly hungry, some babies take a long time to feed, some babies like little and often. We are all different and so are our babies. Do what feels right for you and your baby and forget what everyone else is doing.
7. Don't feel bad for giving your baby a bottle. Sometimes we just don't have enough milk in our boobs and often, especially at the end of the day when we are tired, it just doesn't satisfy. And if you struggle to breast feed at all, don't beat yourself up about it. For whatever reason some babies and mums just can't do it and that is ok. It is perfectly fine to give your baby a bottle.
8. Don't feel alone. Being a mum makes you part of the biggest group in the world. There are many support groups out there for mums, be it official support groups or mums meeting up for coffee. Mums welcome other mums - fact!
9. Don't worry about whether you are doing it all right. Nobody is perfect and we learn from our mistakes. So what if you have put the nappy on back to front for a week or struggled to get the car seat into the ridiculously tight seat belt. We learn from it and we get it right in the end.
10. Don't wonder why everyone else seems to be finding it all so easy. Mums are very good at putting our 'everything is great' smile on our faces when out in public. The chances are, if you are finding something tough, someone else will be too.
Being a mum is the best job in the world but it is also the hardest. Don't expect to run before you can walk. Just take a step back and enjoy these early days as in the blink of an eye your baby will be all grown up. x