Miriam, who is a mum and the founder of Bump to Cradle Antenatal Classes puts together some tips for new parents from her experience and that of Mums and Dads she has met along the way…
· Sleep when you can in the day – nap when the baby naps if possible! Or if you can’t nap, don’t do the cleaning or washing up – try to sit and relax.
· Call friends and family when you can to help get perspective on things. Hormones and sleep deprivation can make you lose perspective.
· Try to be a team, this can be hard and you might feel more like filing for divorce but if you can try and help each other, it makes those first few weeks so much more bearable!
· Lower your expectations of what you can achieve in a day – if you only get dressed by 2pm and leave the house by 4pm for a cup of tea with a friend then that is good going!
· Limit your visitors in the early days and say yes to help whenever offered! Think of jobs for them to do to make them as useful as possible! Visitors who don’t help can be annoying.
· Don’t make too many commitments, you may feel disappointed if you let people down. If you only do one thing a day like take the baby for a walk or meet a friend for a coffee then that is ok!
· Do freeze meals for the first weeks, the last thing you or your partner will feel like doing is cooking and there is only so much takeaway you can eat!
· Know where to go for some help and support. Find this out before you have baby so you don’t spend ages scouring Google. It’s important to know how to contact your health visitor, where your local feeding support group is or who to contact if you feel really low or anxious.
· For when you’re feeding, get things ready like a drink and your phone next to you before you sit down and baby starts feeding. If you express, cut holes in your old bras to attach pumps to, then you can have more hands free!
· Being a new mum can be lonely at times so making friends at antenatal classes or meeting them at cafes or support groups can be one of the best things you’ll do to get through those difficult days. Women can be competitive, try to ignore this and use your instincts on what you feel is the right thing to do. You are the best judge of what is right for your baby.
Even the best antenatal classes might not prepare you for how it feels to have your new baby in your arms or how to deal with it when he or she just won’t stop crying. Some good quality ones, however, can go a long way to help you to know what to expect or not expect or where to go when you need help. Bump to Cradle classes are a fun and sociable way to get some good quality advice and support from specialists on not only the labour but on the postnatal period too. For more information, go to www.bumptocradle.com.