I remember how it was like when I first found out I was pregnant. It was a combination of joy, excitement and fear. I remember boring into books and scouring the internet on how to be a mum. I joined all the mum groups and signed up for the weekly newsletters. I asked, I researched and I literally filled my head with all things baby related.
The internet has a wealth of information and there I was soaking everything up like a sponge. What were the best car seats in the market? How about strollers? Should I get a breast pump? Should I use disposable diapers or opt for more environmentally friendly ones like cloth diapers? And as if all that wasn’t already going to zap up all of my life’s savings, there are still other issues like should I co-sleep? What about feeding schedules? Or should I babywear my infant? Should I sleep train my baby? Should my baby be breastfed exclusively? What’s going to happen if I do all the above?
In hindsight, now that I have two beautiful children and baby-making plans behind me, I can imagine all this would be a LOT of information to process when you’re expecting your first child. Trust me, been there done that.
New-mum-a-nitis is an actual thing
It’s called New-mum-a-nitis – a condition that turns all mums-to-be into a frenzy because they only want the best for the new life growing in them. If the nesting instincts are not kicking in yet, and you’re still chill about everything – honestly from the bottom of my heart – GOOD FOR YOU. For the others who are already freaking out, then welcome to my world, because back then I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a good mum. I just knew I would try to do my best and even then I question if my best would be good enough.
So I began pouring over all the ideals, and what I thought would make me a good mum. But when I think back about how much I read, it really was WAY too much info. There were days where I would be so overwhelmed! Should I follow what this says? Wait, what should I be following!?
Having said that, I am not saying that all mums don’t have to read or research. Plus I totally get it that we can sometimes get carried away with all the reading. So yes, DO read but within reason and gather information from reputable sources. But more importantly, have the discernment to only take what you need and when you need it. Otherwise, it will be too much to process.
Surround yourself with encouraging people that do not push their ideals. You will know when they offer their opinions BUT encourage you to make your own decisions. Ultimately every baby is different and there is no one set way to bring your baby up in the best way possible. Only you will know what works for you and your spouse.
A wise mum said..
Have faith that you have the motherly/fatherly instincts to do what is best for the one growing in mum’s belly. So it is okay to arm yourself with the right information but don’t let that keep you from “reading” and getting to know your own baby.
It’s okay if you don’t get it right all the time because honestly, nobody can. Sometimes they are hungry, sometimes it’s the diapers, and some babies just won’t go by the book. I have learned by watching and responding to my baby’s needs without delay. Remember to breathe because crying is the only way for them to communicate their needs. Be patient and bear with it. Calmly eliminate the possibilities one by one. If all else fails, too much crying could be a sign your baby has colic (hyperlink to colic article). Do not panic, this is common and in any case, a quick trip to the doctors will clear the air for you.
The second thing I learned was that being flexible and adaptable has contributed to more peaceful days for everyone in the family. I think it is better to be practical than be too strict with whatever ideals you have read on the internet. Take advice with a pinch of salt – they are well-meaning, so do not get too affected by them. And remember, you decide what is the best fit for your family and child because, at the end of the day, it all rolls down to you. There will be some good days and some bad days. Learn to accept that this is normal, but other than that, enjoy the pregnancy. Focus on build that loving bond with the one growing inside of you. Tell yourself that you are enough, and you’re doing your best and you will be okay. Congrats on being a new mum, you’re going to be an awesome one!