Welcome back to my blog series giving advice to new mummies and daddies – from those who have been there themselves. This week I’m joined by Amy.
Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.
I’m Amy, I’m a solicitor working full time in a personal injury firm and blogging over at Mum’s the Law as often as I can. The blog is a mix of family, food and lifestyle topics but really it’s a mixed bag of everything. It was originally set up to keep my family (who live 80 miles away) up to date as I got to the end of my pregnancy and after Mason was born. It’s snowballed a bit, and now it’s just a bit of everything.
I live with my husband, Wes, who I married back in November 2015 and my son, Mason, who has just turned one. We’re located in a small village called Frodsham, having recently moved from Chester.
What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?
For me, it was some ‘first size’ babygrows and sleepsuits. It sounds really obvious, but we packed 0-3 month sized clothing for when Mason as born and they absolutely drowned him. It seems obvious to a lot of people, but we didn’t think the size difference would be so vast. Luckily, my sister in law was over pretty quickly with the smaller clothes, but I felt a bit silly that I hadn’t realized that the 0-3 months, don’t really mean 0 months at all!
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?
Not as such, but towards the end I was always wondering if that little stabbing pain was the beginning of labour. I was so convinced he was coming early, but he was actually eight days late. My only piece of advice for first time mums is not to fret about whether you’re in labour or not, because you will almost definitely know about it. If you have to question whether you’re in labour then the chances are you’re not, if you’re certain that this feeling is ‘different’, you almost definitely are.
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?
An app or product that plays white noise to your baby. We used it for almost the entire first year to soothe Mason to sleep; it also doubles up as a relaxing distraction for frazzled first time parents. White noise was almost guaranteed to help him drift off whenever we needed him to or at the very least stop him crying. We loved it and it made our lives so much easier.
Oh yes – Little M loves the hairdyer sound on my white noise app; nothing else will do!
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?
Trust your instincts. I was so worried that when I gave birth, I’d have no idea what I was doing. I had no real experience with kids prior to having one, so when someone told me that I would ‘just know’ what to do, I just disregarded it as nothing. It’s not. It’s absolutely true. Maternal instinct is truly an incredible thing – so when someone tells you not to worry and just trust your gut, do it.
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?
Sleep when the baby sleeps. I know it is a staple of health experts to tell you to sleep when he sleeps but I think it’s stupid advice. I mean, I would have gone completely insane if I did this, because I needed some non-baby time to do normal things like pick up a magazine, play a video game or watch Great British Bake Off.
A little off-topic, but I’m so excited that Bake Off is back!! Eeek!
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?
Take any offer of help you get from friends, family or your partner. If they offer to have a walk with the baby for a couple of hours, load up the changing bag and let them. Use the time to take a bath, prepare a meal, have a nap or whatever you need to feel normal for that time. Your baby won’t mind, your family won’t mind, you will feel a million times better for it.
What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?
It can be pretty overwhelming at first, because you’re not used to the change in dynamic within your family. Different appointments, different healthcare professionals coming to have a look at the baby and as they get older, trying to remember everything at all times can seem like a real mammoth challenge. Trying to do everything you used to AND look after a baby is hard to get used to. Sadly that only gets worse as they get older but you get used to it; just remember that everybody has had that nightmare day so try not to put too much pressure on yourself and try and enjoy everything.
What’s the best thing about being a new parent?
Seeing them grow from the tiny helpless little baby, and watching them evolve into a fiery, independent toddler, to an awesome kid with their own personality and quirks that you could never imagine. Taking time to sit back and just enjoy your child for who they are is something that you can’t prepare for, but it’s wonderful.