Dear first-time-mum me,
Congratulations on your new addition! You must be so proud of your new baby boy, and of course, why wouldn’t you be?
You probably have so many thoughts, emotions and feelings about parenting racing through your mind and that’s completely normal… as a matter of fact, that feeling never really goes away completely! People say it gets easier when you have your second child and they are right in some respects but don’t forget – EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. It’s not always smooth sailing with two in tow; it’s double the mess, double the stress, double the tantrums but double the love which makes it all worthwhile.
There will be fantastic moments like all of baby boy’s firsts; first smile, first laugh, first word, first walk… Then, there will be the crappy days like sleepless nights, temper tantrums, colic, nightmares. When sleep deprivation kicks in, it’s going to sting like a B.I.T.C.H, I won’t sugar-coat it but you will start getting your energy back I promise. For you personally, this will happen around the 4-5 month mark when baby boy learns to sleep a little longer and wakes up a little less at night.
While you’re muddling along trying to figure out this parenting stuff with your BabyCentre forums, Doctor Google and Gurgle Magazine articles, here’s some advice I want to give you for the years to come and before you find out you’re having a second child after 2.5 years…
Make time for yourself
This will always be a hard one for you because you keep putting other people first; whether it’s your baby boy, your hubby, family members or friends you keep trying to give up your time to help them (which is good) but you need to give yourself time too otherwise you will end up burning out. Because you’ve always been this way, it will take time before you really learn how to say no but everyone has to start somewhere. Just give baby boy to hubby for the day and get out of the house. Do things that you loved doing before you became a mum ie. drawing, baking, cooking, eating out with friends and you’ll find yourself a much happier person in the long run.
Make sure you get enough sleep
The good thing is that when baby boy has a nap, you will usually have a nap too which will save you from sleep deprivation. However, once you’re up you tend to find it quite difficult to shut off which means sometimes you skip your morning naps with bubba. This then compounds over weeks and then you find yourself really struggling to sleep at night too then start attacking hubby for sleeping and picking arguments for the sake of it. This is not a good route to go down and something you should learn to avoid doing by making sure you let your body rest regularly and fully. You’ll have to remember to get enough sleep when your second one comes along too.
Well done for coping under pressure
The worst memory you’ll have is when baby boy is three and he goes to A&E for jumping off the coffee table, hitting his head on the side and cutting an inch of his head open. He was so strong and only cried for about 5 minutes whilst you comforted him. Let me tell you now, you did amazingly well at making out like it was just a little scratch because secretly underneath, you were dying inside eith guilt for not watching, shaken from the shock of it all and just wanted to cry your eyes out but you didn’t. It’ll the first time he hurt himself that badly. Luckily, he’ll not really feel the pain and after a 3-4 hour wait at the hospital, the doctor will glue the cut together and he’ll be as right as rain in no time.
You’ll be the ‘go-to mum’ for your first-time friends
They will come to you for advice. The reason they’ll like to coming to you is because you don’t judge them and you don’t try to enforce your parenting styles onto them, which they’ll really appreciate.
You’ll try your best to give your mother-to-be friends a balanced view and always present both sides of the coin so that they can make up their own mind for their parenting journey. If they ask you specifically for your view and then you’ll tell them in the most honest and genuine way possible.
All that bedtime reading with your boy really does pay off!
You’ll love reading to your little boy and start doing so when he’s around 3 months old. It will become your little bedtime routine together which you’ll carry on even until he is four. All the reading will make your little boy love books and he will end up being one of the top children in his reception class that can read with little supervision. You’ll occasionally catch him reading to himself with books he’s really interested in ie. Harry and the Bucket full of Dinosaurs.
You dare not to tell any of the mums at school about high advanced reading levels for the fear of being the labelled “the mum that likes to brag about her child” but you will get to share your joy with your family members and close friends.
Being on a tight budget makes you a practical spender
This is probably the only good thing about being on a budget all the time. You have no money to buy expensive or unnecessary things. You will soon discover that local Facebook groups have the world of things available second-hand at a cheap price which you’ll love. You’ll also try to keep your spending practical. For example, when your little boy gets sniffly and bunged up, you buy rubs like Snuffle Babe and Vicks BabyRub which really help.
Vicks BabyRub has mild fragrances of lavender, rosemary and aloe vera which is really soothing and gentle enough for you to use on a daily basis. You’ll tend to use it more in the evenings ie. after bathtime or before bedtime.
For nappy creams, you’ll find metanium barrier cream works best. You love buying Pampers nappies and wipes but also found that Sainsbury’s own brand and Asda’s own brand were great alternatives and much cheaper too. You’ll only buy fancy clothes from Next every now and then. For regular clothes, grow-suits etc you’ll find old Asda and Sainsbury’s are the best for that stuff.
Mum and baby classes are great for bonding
You’ll love the baby massage classes you sign up for. You’ll find the massage techniques help with your baby’s colic. You also love the bonding connection between you and your baby. When you’re pregnant with your second, you will have to also think about your health. You will try post-natal pilates after your second child and start your gym membership too.
The library will be one of your favourite places to go with your boy and the rhyme time and story time sessions are so popular, you’ll make a lot of mummy friends from going to them.
Stick to the baby-led weaning!
As soon as your boy becomes ready for weaning onto solids, you’ll do really well with feeding him purees and making your own blended meals for him. You’ll also opt for a flexible baby-led weaning approach because you want your boy to feed himself and learn how to use his cutlery. But as he gets older, you and hubby decide to start spoon-feeding him because he would take an hour to finish his meal or will hardly eat. Where he’s such an active boy, he can’t sit still for long and so you both think spoon feedung will help.
In hindsight, you should’ve stuck to your guns and not listen to hubby with the spoon feeding because at four years old, your boy still struggles to eat properly by himself. It would’ve probably been more difficult and taken longer but I am sure it would’ve workd out for the better. The teachers at school say he eats well but you’re not entirely sure this is true because he doesn’t do it at home. He will also start to refuse eating meat products and opt for a pescatarian diet when he’s 2-3yrs old which is fine but I think if you try to introduce him to more food variety when he’s weaning, that would help him learn to eat foods with different textures and tastes which would help him out when he’s older.
All in all, you’re a great mum!
Keep doing what you’re doing because you are really doing great. You’re learning to find your feet as a first-time-mum. And while you take into consideration other people’s advice (especially when it comes to unwanted advice from family friends, including the non-parent ones), you make sure you define your own rules to parenting. After all, there’s really no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting, just your way.
And what works for one child might not work for another… You’ll find this out when you have your second child! 🙂
Stay sane. Big hugs and kisses, from your future (second-time-mum) self. xx
This post is an entry for Britmums #VicksBabyRubChallenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, TEsco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.