How have you changed since you’ve become a mum? Here are 10 things to remember.
1. Stop obsessing over milestones.
It is completely natural to feel worried over your baby’s development. But, it’s okay if he doesn’t hit every single milestone exactly on time.
Blaming yourself for not scheduling enough tummy time for him when he was a newborn isn’t going to help him crawl or sit up sooner.
Let him explore at his own pace. Never force him into any position his body isn’t ready for.
2. Not use my phone in front of Baby regularly.
From checking your social media accounts, to taking photos and videos of your cutie, you can’t seem to stay away from your smartphone or tablet.
With its bright lights and the occasional vibration that accompanies a notification, it looks like a fun toy to a baby.
Keep the device out of reach when you’re bonding with him. You also wouldn’t want him to get into the habit of swiping the screen and watching videos on it, especially if he’s below two years old.
A sign that he may be addicted to your phone? He cries when you refuse to give it to him.
Consider other ways to engage your little one. I like to play music instead of videos, and keep my tot busy with crayons and paper.
3. Make time for myself.
It’s natural to feel guilty about leaving Baby with someone else, but it’s equally important to give yourself a break every once in a while. Get a haircut, take a nap, or even a nice long shower.
I enjoy spending an hour or two at a cafe, alone. After a slice of cake and a cup of coffee, I feel revived. So, never neglect your needs. A happy family starts with a happy mum.
4. Just do it.
Fight postnatal blues with exercise. It releases dopamine in your brain, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the feelings of pleasure and happiness.
If you don’t have the luxury of forking out two hours at the gym, look for workout videos online and do them at home while your little one naps.
If weather permits, you can even put him in a sturdy stroller and head outside for a jog. It’s also a great way to fight the flab and you may even regain your pre-pregnancy body faster.
Taking a long walk in the morning always energises me and I feel less lethargic throughout the day.
5. Show support to fellow mums.
Adjusting to motherhood can be overwhelming. My postnatal blues lasted for at least eight months.
I was dealing with the emotional stress of caring for a fussy infant, juggling between breastfeeding and pumping, plus my own feelings of inadequacy as a mum.
As not many of my peers are mums, I sought solace in a support group on Facebook. We weren’t friends, but sharing our struggles made me feel less alone.
So, check in with other new mums – they may be going through similar experiences and may just need a listening ear. Mums, we need each other!
6. Stop judging other parents.
We’ve all done it before, but we hate to be victims of it. The next time you hear about co-sleeping, the use of a forward-facing car seat or a baby’s bedtime routine that starts at 10pm, don’t flip out.
All parents want their best for their child, who is completely different from yours. There is no universal rulebook or “manual” for looking after infants, so don’t be too hard on yourself, either.
7. Take a holiday – with and without Baby.
While your little one won’t remember his first time on a plane or his first road trip, you will. We took a short two-day, one-night trip to Johor Baru when my baby was five months old. It felt like we had to pack our entire house into several suitcases! I really enjoyed the time away from the usual household chores.
If you can leave him with your parents, in-laws or a trusted sitter, a trip with only Hubby can be very liberating. Sure, you’ll miss him, but a short holiday can help you recuperate from sleep deprivation, as well as reconnect with your spouse.
8. Have regular date nights with Hubby.
A leisurely sit-down dinner is a luxury for new parents. I’m always either chowing down my food because my son is still asleep, or eating with one hand because he doesn’t want to sit in the stroller.
Give yourself a night off, get dolled up, and go on a date with your husband. Picking a place to eat shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, you won’t need one that accommodates a high chair!
9. Have more outings alone with my child.
The logistics of bringing your infant out on your own may be a big turn-off, but it’s a great way to build confidence. Start with short trips, such as shopping for groceries near home.
I remember putting my little one in the baby carrier for the first time and worrying if I would suffocate him.
Just ensure that he is comfortable before leaving the house and don’t think about the “what ifs”. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment once you return.
10. Not beat myself up over career choices.
Whether you’re working or a stay-at-home mum, you’ve chosen a lifestyle that ultimately puts your family first.
Don’t let anyone – not even yourself – guilt-trip you into thinking that you’re a bad mum for working (and hence, not spending enough time with Baby) or for not working (look who’s not contributing financially?).
It’s your baby, your family, your life – and we all make sacrifices for our children, no matter the cost.
(Also read: 10 things every new parent should do)