When you become a new parent, you discover you have a lot to learn…and plenty of advice on offer. Over the years at BritMums we’ve heard a lot of it. One of the most important elements to new mum advice is understanding the best kind is holistic. It’s not just about doing this or that the “right” way. It’s about finding your way. In this post, sponsored by Very, we share insight into how to find your feet as a new mum or dad in a more holistic manner for well-being. It takes into account practical issues as well as your wellbeing. Very is a great source of the products you need for baby, right up through childhood and beyond.
- Get a bedside crib – Being able to keep a crib beside you makes nights, naptime and other sleepytimes with baby easier. If – like some of us – you can get nervous and want to check on your baby in the night, it’s easy. (Check out the Tutti Bambini ones, that allow for bedside co-sleeping, and you can also put up the side rail so it’s a separate cot.)
- Invest in a comfortable nursing chair – You’ll be surprised at the amount of time you spend in a nursing chair, especially when baby falls asleep after a feeding. It’s also great for story time and those evenings when you sit with your child when they’re ill or unsettled. Make sure it’s the right size to be comfortable for mum and dad.
- Do something fun each day – Sometimes the everyday tasks of being a new parent can wear us down a bit, whether we’re the one caring for baby at home or working all day then arriving home for a second shift. Create little moments of fun for yourself, with your partner or with your baby – anything you enjoy – to lift your spirits. It could be as simple as putting baby into their bouncer or rocker and putting on your favourite band to ‘dance’ together. Make it simple and fun.
- Don’t worry about “Shhh, the baby’s sleeping” – Do the washing, talk on the phone, bang pots and pans in the kitchen. Your baby will get used to the sounds of everyday life and not rely on complete silence to settle. Believe us, you’ll thank yourself later, as life gets more hectic.
- Pamper yourself – Even small pampering gestures can give you a sense of normalcy during a period where a lot changes. As a mother, your body changes dramatically from the beginning of pregnancy, and post-pregnancy provides a whole host of adjustments right as you’re learning to look after your small person. Whatever pampering means to you – a relaxing bath, a trip to the stylist, a foot massage from your partner – be sure to schedule one in each week. You will certainly have earned it! (With Very Beauty you can feel pampered with luxury hair, skin and foot treatments from brands like Nip and Fab, Elemis, REN Skincare and Emma Hardie, right from your own bathroom cabinet!)
- Invest in baby kit that gives you freedom – Being able to get out and about is stimulating for you both and invaluable for your mental and physical health. Love running? Get a jogger stroller. Pick out a pushchair that’s lightweight and easily folds up in the boot of your car or on a train. Get a well-stocked baby bag so you can leave the house easily. Even having a travel cot that doubles as a playpen can make it easy to move from room to room, get out in the garden or easily visit grandparents.
- Remember cheap isn’t always cheaper – It’s tempting when there is so much new stuff you need to get your little bundle to always go for the budget option. But sometimes the better option is to aim for longer lasting quality. Also, as we become more aware of the need to create sustainable lives, well-sourced items and natural materials make more sense for our families and the planet.
- Don’t stay silent – If you need something, whether it’s help at home, some time to yourself, extra hands for a doctor’s appointment, be vocal and ask for help. Many family members, friends and neighbours are happy to help out, especially if you can give them notice. When BritMums cofounder Jennifer’s daughter was still a baby, her neighbour went along with them to the passport office. “It just made the entire day less stressful. I wasn’t as worried about the logistics ahead of time and knew there would be someone to look after my daughter when I needed to go to the loo.” I was so anxious about whether I would find a place to change my daughter. Just the presence of my neighbour took a huge load off my mind.”
- Look after your own mental health – It can be easy to focus on the new baby, the house, the new routine. At the centre of the equation is you. Keep yourself happy and healthy by tapping into your support network and not prioritising others’ need ahead of your own.
- Don’t go overboard on social media – The scrolling images of cute outfits, spotless nurseries and attractive family outings can be fun to look at. Or they can make you feel inadequate, like you’re doing it all wrong. When you find you’re comparing yourself to others people’s social feeds, it’s time to switch off.
- Rest – We often hear you should sleep when baby sleeps. But don’t forget also about rest. This means sitting down and letting yourself just…do nothing. Look out the window. Flip through a magazine. Research shows that even small mental breaks help with decision making and thinking. So from time to time ignore everything else and give yourself a time out.
- Forgive yourself – You will do some things wrong. You won’t know everything. You will fight with family members and feel sorry for yourself. Decide now that it’s all good, all part of the process of learning how to be a new parent.
- Learn the best response to unwanted advice – People love to pass along parenting advice. Some may be helpful but for the tidbits that aren’t, simply respond: “That’s interesting. Thank you for sharing that!” (Then decide later if you want to follow it…or not.)
- Embrace your role as an advocate for your child – It’s important to have trusted advisors, especially when it comes to health. But don’t be afraid to press doctors or health visitors for something you feel your child needs. After all, you see them every day and have a better understanding of what’s “normal” for them. You may not know everything yet. But you are their mum!
- You can never have enough onesies – Both long and short, onesies are your friends. You can invest in cute ones or choose plain ones. But you can expect plenty up-the-back poos, just-after-feeding spit-ups and wee-soaked mornings. Roll with it! Because you’ve got a whole drawerful of clean ones, right?
Create a calming nursery environment and a happy healthy routine with Very, which has the products you need for your new life as a parent.