I was recently asked by irish Parent Magazine to write for their Summer 2012 edition. The theme was centred around the upcoming Olympics and the idea was to give Top Tips to New Mums.
Hope you enjoy it!
I’m on my way! You have spent the last nine months in training and you have done a great job so far – I feel like a gold medal is on the horizon. I promise I am going to be your greatest achievement – a personal best, if you like.
You know all these promises you have made to yourself to lay down the law in terms of feeding and routine? Ignore them for a few weeks – watch me, smell me, count all the little creases on my body! Let’s just “be”, before I go on my own learning curve. Love me into existence.
It’s not going to be easy for either of us and I might test you a little sometimes, so I thought I you might want to have a few handy hints at your disposal! I could arrive any day now. I haven’t quite decided when yet, so put our hospital bag down in the hall so that I don’t catch you unawares. Pack a snack for Daddy – he is so excited he might forget to eat. You know what he’s like! Do a ittle of what you enjoy. Go to the movies with the girls, have a duvet day with Dad. There’s nothing wrong with a little “you” time. Believe me, I will make sure there’s no time for it when I get here!
Once I have made my journey, try not to forget about Dad. He is a big part of this little family too! Give him opportunities to spend time alone with me so he can form his own bond. He won’t break me, honestly. He will be just trying to help! Don’t try to be Superwoman – the washing and cleaning can wait. (On that note, I plan to test that washing machine to its limits).
In the first few days of our new life, you may feel elated and excited and will be dying to show me off to your friends and family. Remember I am brand new, and I don’t understand the world just yet. Don’t be upset if I don’t conform – I will get there! If I am asleep when visitors arrive, let me sleep. Ask your friends to call you first, rather than arriving at our doorstep. You can decide who visits, and when. Now is not the time for “Pass the Parcel”. I know your head will be full of plans and you will have a list of jobs you could do as long as your arm, but please, Mummy, get some rest when you can. It will do us both the world of good. I need you to be at the top of your game! Healthy Mum = happy Mum and happy me! I am thinking of the afternoons you have planned, just snuggling on the couch, and I can’t wait for these days! Hope you stock up on food for yourself. I won’t really know the difference between day and night for the first few weeks so I will probably interrupt you a bit at all the wrong times. I’m sorry about this, but after my long journey I will be hungry. Don’t be scared if I don’t have someone physically looking at me at all times. Those monitors really work and we all need our alone time!
Mummy, I will try to be good but looking after me is going to be a full-time job. Please don’t lose a little bit of yourself in the process. I love you for who you are. Daddy may have to go back to work and he will have opportunities for adult conversation. There is nothing wrong with getting a little “tea and sympathy” from your close friends!
You might not be a first-time mum, but you are my NEW mum. I cannot wait to meet my big sister. She seems so happy and content with you and I hope she welcomes me with open arms. Remind her that I won’t always be tiny and time consuming. She might feel a little jealous but you are going to organise a little present from me when I come home – she might like me more for that! Try and spend as much time with her as possible so that she doesn’t feel left out. I know she will want to help out too. Give her little jobs to do so that she is included. Let her get nappies for me if you need them and help out with bath time. I would love our relationship to get off to a good start! Before you know it, we will be playing happily together – most of the time!
I would love for you to try breastfeeding me. It would be really good for me in my first few weeks. Not only is it nutritious and delicious but I know I am going to love this very special time with you. We can retreat into our own little world – just you and me. But mummy, take your time and relax. I want you to be comfortable. Allow us the time to get used to each other and don’t panic! Once your milk is in, make sure I feed fully from each side. If I’m not feeding well, it could be something as simple as a change of position that will help. Find a way that works for us. It could be a case of trial and error but we will get there in the end. It can sometimes be hard to tell if I am getting enough or indeed getting too much milk. You’ll know if I overfeed, chances are you’ll see it all come back! You will probably be feeding me 6-8 times a day initially. As long as my nappies are wet when you change them and there are regular enough bowel movements (sorry for these in advance!), then you can be pretty sure that I am filling up. Wait till you see me grow – the little chicken legs I arrive with will be replaced by squishy, edible thighs in no time.
When I am around six weeks, you might notice a pattern forming and it would be a good idea to think about putting a routine in place and getting a real shape on our day.
Mummy, we are going to need at least six weeks to get to know each other and find out what seems to work for us. Every day might feel different, but you would be surprised if we work together what you and I can achieve! Keep a diary with my sleep, feeding and nappy changes. I know I will love reading about our time together when I grow up. Remember that I have come into the world knowing nothing; I need you to gently guide me and put boundaries in place. You are my first teacher and I will trust you. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure though – even if we get five days out of seven right, we will be doing great.
Don’t forget Mummy, we are not Olympians yet. Let’s take our time and enjoy getting to know each other. This is a long distance event and definitely not a sprint! Promise me you won’t put too many expectations on us and enjoy each other for who we are. Before you know it, my sister and I will both be ruling the roost! Cherish our first few weeks – they will be over before we know it! I can’t wait to meet you,
Love , Bump xx “