WORDS RACHEL KWEK
There’s so much to learn and so much to do with your new role as a mother. We ask mummies to dish out their best advice for new mums heading home with a baby for the first time.
Going through pregnancy and taking care of a newborn are physically and emotionally demanding so don’t be afraid about receiving help from people around you. Ask if family, friends and colleagues can help with your work or domestic duties. It is also vital to have someone to turn to for moral support. Some mummies also join support groups where they get to interact with other mothers. Having a strong support network goes a long way.
It can get a little stressful to be cooped up at home, especially if you are alone with your baby most of the time. Weight gained during pregnancy and never-ending parenting duties can leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued. Getting out of the house can boost your energy levels and make you feel recharged. A walk in the park downstairs or going out for dinner can be all you need to feel revitalised. Don’t worry about the hassle of packing for an outing if you have to bring your baby along; keep things simple with a few essentials like baby wipes, diapers, and milk for the baby.
Spend Time with Your Husband
It is all too easy to get caught up with your parenting duties and forget that you are a wife too. Michelle, a mother of two, highlights the need to get some couple time. Shirley, who also has two children, agrees and says it is important to talk about each other’s parenting style and preferences and also how you would like other caregivers to be involved in caring for your child. This is when your support network helps! When there is someone to help take care of your little one, you and your partner can have your own time.
Plan Well Before Returning to Work
This is an absolute must for mothers who intend to resume work after their maternity leave. Taking care of an infant is in itself a full-time job, so if you are ill-prepared, you run the risk of screwing up the job you get paid to do, the one you don’t get paid to do or both. Think about things like childcare arrangements and how you are going to get sufficient rest and couple time while ensuring that all your responsibilities are fulfilled. Michelle says she planned a schedule and tested the waters before formally going back to work to ensure that both she and her children can have a trial run.
Let It Go
Don’t underestimate the power of little stresses. They can add up and make you feel like you are going insane especially with a baby who is constantly demanding your attention. Siling and Shirley, both mothers with two children, advise new mothers not to be stressed if their milk supply is low. The list of things to worry about is endless if you think about it so just focus on dealing with those that are priorities.
Learn from Others
Picking up tips and tricks from experts or other mummies (Yes, your mother included!) will help you avoid pitfalls and make the most of your maiden motherhood experience. From breastfeeding to immunisation to selecting baby products, the number of topics you need to be acquainted with is pretty mind-boggling. Keep an open mind about accepting suggestions but depend only on reliable sources to avoid confusion.
Take Good Care of Yourself
You need to take care of yourself before and after giving birth! In order to prepare your body for a smooth pregnancy and delivery, you need to eat well, rest well and keep fit. Doing so will also help you look and feel better too. After enduring nine months of physical strain, your body needs to recuperate and sufficient rest is an important part of the recovery process. Many mothers can attest to the many sleepless nights that come with caring for a newborn and fatigue can be a real problem you have to contend with if you do not take active steps to ensure you get enough rest. This is especially so if you have to juggle a full-time job and motherhood. Take turns with your husband to wake up at night when your baby needs attention. One way to take care of yourself is to get help. Getting help to take care of your baby also gives you time to do whatever makes you happy.
Your post-pregnancy body may leave you feeling conscious and unattractive. Don’t feel bad about it! It is part and parcel of being a mother. What’s important is to stay healthy and be comfortable in your own skin. If you feel like dressing up, go for it! Getting regular exercise is a sure-fire way to release those feel-good chemicals that give you a sense of well-being!
Save Wherever You Can
One thing about having a baby is that it demands a significant portion of your financial resources. Diapers, clothes, strollers, bottles, toys… The list of things your baby needs just goes on and on! And the cost of all these purchases can add up quickly. Why not save some money by accepting hand-me-downs from relatives and friends? Buying second-hand items and going for bundle deals and promotions will stretch your dollar too.