Letter to new mums

new-mummyDear new mummy,

First let me start by saying congratulations! You have a baby! How does it feel being someone’s mummy? What a massive change. You are now on life’s longest and most important apprentice and so far, you are doing a wonderful job. You have brought a life into the world!! You are bloody superwomen and don’t forget that. If you have had a baby, there is nothing you can’t do!!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any words of wisdom, tips or advice, but you may be sick of all that already right?

This is just to say that some days you will cry and you know what, that’s ok!! This is the WORLDS HARDEST job and at times when your baby is crying, or unsettled, or you are exhausted, or your boobs hurt. Or you resent the freedom your partner has being able to leave the house without having someone permanently attached to them, or just because your hormones are all over the place, you will cry. Don’t you beat yourself up about that!

You cry, eat cake and know you may feel like you are getting it wrong, but your tears show you are getting it absolutely right! You care so much that you want to be doing the best job you can, and do you know what, you are.

There will be highs and lows, probably within each hour.

Things change all the time and when they do it is nothing you have done ‘wrong’, babies know their own minds early on. If they decide they don’t like sleep that day, there is probably little you can do to change it. If they want to spend the day eating, they will eat. It has nothing to do with your ability as a parent.

It is easy to compare ourselves, or our babies to others. The truth is no one has all the answers. In fact, no one really has any answers. We all learn on the job, and it’s trial and error.

For anyone struggling, or sleep deprived, or generally feeling guilt or worried about your ability as a parent, I set you this challenge…

Name one thing that you are proud of today? Anything; it could be getting dressed, making it to that group, popping to the shop for milk, making a new mum friend, conquering the world (aka getting your baby to nap). Then hold on to that, and keep reminding yourself that you are doing a wonderful job!

*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/ I would love to hear your what you are proud of today so please comment or tell me via Facebook.

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New mum super powers

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Being a mum for the first time is incredible. In my experience, nothing changes your life more. It is terrifying, exciting, momentous and emotional. Not only are you learning to take care of tiny human, a job so huge you wouldn’t imagine you would have time to learn anything else. You are suddenly super women! And as such, will have developed some unique mum super powers….

  • The ability to think of 100 things at the same time and still get on with what you are doing. For example, making sure the change bag is packed and replenished, whilst thinking about baby’s nap, whilst remembering it’s your dad’s birthday, whilst thinking about baby’s next feed, whilst wondering what you might have for dinner. Wow!! It’s amazing, and tiring just thinking about it. We may get ‘baby brain’, but we also get ‘multiple tasking at its best brain’.
  • The ability to not only think all the above, but also hold a conversation whilst doing all of this.
  • Suddenly you can do all the things you used to need 2 hands for, with just one!! You become skilled at doing everything, and I mean everything with one hand, whilst the other is holding baby. You name it, you can do it. Eat, make a drink, go for a wee, hoover, order online shopping, find paperwork, type, call a friend, push a pushchair. Who knew you could do all that one handed?
  • You can eat quicker than you have ever eaten in your life, knowing you may not have long to finish this precious hot meal before you are needed again.
  • You can and are, surviving on less sleep then you probably ever had in your life, and you are still managing to look after your baby! You rock!
  • You can sit for ages looking intently at your baby whilst listening to your friend telling you about her day. You may have lost the ability to maintain eye contact through conversation, but you are still listening and able to respond, whilst meeting your baby’s needs.
  • You have developed a 6th sense, usually at night, you can pre-empt a feed or disturbance even before baby has shown you, just from the quietest noise or tiniest movement.
  • Your reactions are lightning quick, you think something is about to hurt your baby you sweep in immediately – suddenly you have inspector gadget arms and an inbuilt radar for danger. Usually this includes a raider for spotting a toddler who is likely to come a bit too close to your little one.

Basically, new mummy, you are amazing!!

So, when you think that you aren’t doing a great job, or the lack of sleep makes you cry, or you don’t know which way is up, remember you are doing these things EVERYDAY! And probably didn’t even realise it!! Give yourself the credit you deserve, you are doing the most important job of your life 🙂

 

Sleep Trainer or charlatan?

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What is a Sleep Trainer? The wording is slightly off putting, I think. How can we train a child? Like we train a pet? And if we can ‘train’ our children to sleep without any negatives and experts have the answers, why don’t we all know the secrets?  Why isn’t it working for everyone?

I am in a privileged position… don’t worry, I’m not going to say that I have babies that sleep, because unfortunately I don’t… but to meet many new parents on a regular basis as part of my baby massage classes. I have heard many sleep woes; as well as stories of babies who do sleep for most of the night and have done so from as young as 6 weeks (the holy grail, I am owed a baby like this I think).

Two clever women have told me two pieces of advice which to me seem to be contrary to there being any sort of ‘sleep expert’. The first was a Doctor who was taught if there are lots of different products on the market for a problem, it generally means that they haven’t found something that actually works. Like teething, some people use necklaces, some use gel, some use powder, some use Calpol, while others use teethers. Yet, so many babies struggle with teething and I am yet to meet a parent who has found the complete solution, or at least a solution that works for multiple babies. The other fab piece of advice was from a fellow mum; she was very to the point and just said “you either have a baby that sleeps or you don’t”.  There is nothing you can do about it, it’s just the way it is. I like this explanation, but it would be pretty much the opposite to ‘experts’ selling a myth, service that will get your baby sleeping.

Yet, what if they are on to something? why can they not agree on one method? does ‘cry it out’ really work and have no lasting impact on the baby?, or are the critics right and it does in fact just teach a baby if they cry no one will come. Is the more gentle approach of going in and out of the room multiple times, just laying baby back down until they sleep, the way forward? Or is this not prolonging the upset and showing baby that it’s a battle of wills? Does letting them sleep in your bed mean that you will have problems later? Is feeding them to sleep a comforting way of helping them drift off, or creating bad habits?

The point is no one knows, and certainly not everyone agrees. We all have our methods that work for us, or if not work, ease the challenge slightly at night. We all find our way of getting as much sleep as we can.

One thing I do know for sure, it does not last forever and I don’t know any 15-year olds who are left to cry/fed to sleep/ sleep in their parents bed or need their mum to repeatedly lay them back down when they wake at night. So Sleep Trainers, perhaps we need to let nature take its course and rather than train our babies to sleep, perhaps we need to train us parents to accept the facts. Some babies sleep, some don’t, they will get there in their own time and it’s not because of anything you are doing that’s right or wrong, it’s just the way it is.

What do you think?

*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so pop by and say hi🙂

This Mum's Life

 

 

My two daily mantras

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I currently have 2 mantras I say on a daily basis when discussing my 2 year old daughter and 1 year old son.

They are…

“It’s just a phase”

and my favourite, blanket, cover all

“He’s teething”

I will take you through them in turn.

The first is my internal mantra. It makes me feel better in any given situation. If I am finding my daughters never ending outfit changes throughout the day because she is too hot/ too cold/ doesn’t want to wear a dress/top/leggings, or whatever I have put her in. When she throws a mega tantrum because I dare tell her she can’t eat her apple whilst scooting, or I gave her the wrong cup for her water and not her ‘grandad cup’. When my son screams as loudly as he can because his sister has something he wants, or I won’t let him put his hand in my hot tea, or I bring him back when he has toddled off to the top of a cliff. For all those, daily, toddler stresses I tell myself “it’s just a phase” and it becomes slightly more manageable. I mean how long can a phase last? Surely it’s got to end soon? Right? Please tell me that’s true?

The second – teething, is my external phrase. It’s my catch all and one I say loudly. I have been using teething since my first child was about 3 months when I mistakenly believed that because my daughter had found her hand she must be teething. I mean she is a genius, she’s the first born, she will do everything super early, of course she’s already teething (she wasn’t, and incidentally she didn’t) However I still find myself regularly using it. Now with my youngest, for example, when he woke the other morning at 4:30am and was inconsolable, so much so that by 5:15 we couldn’t take it anymore and decided to put him in the car so my husband could drive him around to settle him. The neighbours and the people opposite were all awoken from their blissful, non-child filled sleep. They asked what was wrong and were worried he had some major health issue. I said ‘he’s teething’ and that was enough. It seemed a sufficient answer that all were happy with. If he cries through a playdate and I’m getting embarrassed, “he’s teething”. If in the supermarket he has a mini meltdown “he’s teething”. It’s something every parent relates to and a phase (definitely a phase) most remember all too well.

What are your favourite catch all phrases or mantras?

*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/ I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so pop by and say hi:)

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
3 Little Buttons

What to not say to a tired mum

I am writing this after what feels like the 100th bad night in a row with my baby boy. My husband andFrazzled mum I regularly have the ‘who is more tired’ battle. Obviously its me, but I will relent that he is also able to be tired. He is just NOT allowed to tell me. We have been here before. My first child was not a great sleeper until she was 1 years old. By ‘great’ I mean waking every 2-3 hours through the night. It seems my son doesn’t want to be outdone so he is helping us relive those wonderful, sleep deprived days by doing exactly the same. To give a little more context here, I do all the night wake ups, whether its my baby son or my toddler. To be fair to my husband he can’t see to the baby as he doesn’t produce milk (how I wish he did) and he can’t see to my daughter as she is having a mummy phase and when he tries she screams so loudly the neighbours must wonder what we are doing to her. So I do all the nights. Admittedly he does the 5:30am start, and I take over at 6am. I get a generous 30 minute ‘lie in'(which at weekends is extended by a full hour).

Anyway, I thought to save constant arguments I would put together a list of things NOT to say (as well as some helpful comments). This is to help my own husband and anyone else in his position (by his position, I mean the partner who sleeps all night and doesn’t have to see to the children).

What NOT to say

  1. “God I’m tired.” This is the TOP of the list for a reason! What!? How are you tired? You sleep ALL night! Please, please don’t say you are tired. You could risk losing a very vital body part if this is said after a particularly bad night. It is like having a cough and moaning to someone with no lungs that you are struggling to breathe.
  2. “That was a good night wasn’t it?” NO, the answer is nearly always NO. It was not a good night! You don’t know if it is a bad or good night as you were asleep, so probably just best not to comment and ask how the night was.
  3. “Did they sleep through?” I explode at that one. If they slept through I wouldn’t be waking up with huge bags under my eyes, hiding under the duvet trying to pretend I’m not there. I would spring out of bed in celebration and I promise you and everyone else would know about it!
  4. “I could do with a lie in”. Are you off your head? A lie in!!!! When I sleep even one night all the way through, you can have your lie in!
  5. “Have you tried…?” (insert helpful suggestion). Don’t make any suggestions. I, of course, have tried everything I can think of. Sometimes there is no solution!
  6. Bob at work said that his baby has slept through since he was 2 weeks old. Well bully for Bob! Bob is never welcome over again with talk like that.

 

 

Helpful things to say

  1. “You are doing a wonderful job! Thank you so much for everything you do, we really appreciate it.”
  2. “What can I do to help?” My husband does do this sometimes and I love him for it.
  3. Tomorrow you spend the day in bed and I will wait on you hand and foot.” (We can all dream)
  4. “Let me pay for you to stay in a hotel ALONE to sleep” (In the same vain as the above and also probably not actually going to happen but the thought is nice)
  5. “I will buy you diamonds, jewellery and a lifetime supply of chocolate.” (ok, maybe this one is unrealistic but still nice to be appreciated)
  6. I have heard that children that don’t sleep are highly intelligent. This is one of my favourites and was said by my mummy friends earlier this week. Thanks for that!

 

So I hope this clears things up and saves at least one argument in those sleep deprived months.