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Advice for first-time mums?

102 replies

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 15:39

Hi there, I'm wondering if anyone has advice for first-time mums regarding conception (or pre-conception), pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing etc etc. I'm not pregnant as of yet- will be probably trying to conceive in a year and a half to two years dependent on getting a house. I'll be quite a young mum and don't have any access to sisters / a mum of my own for support, so any advice is appreciated. Please try to keep it positive! Thank you! ☀️ x

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Letsallscreamatthesistene · 24/08/2020 17:09

Are you going to remember any of the advice given to you here in two years time?!

Id say the first 3 or so months are really hard. Like, REALLY hard. Have really low expectations of what you'll get done in your day.

Stay away from google. It isnt your friend.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:14

@Letsallscreamatthesistene I want to be the best mum I can be, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can and making sure to write down any important pieces of information that comes my way. Plus, things on the internet last forever, after all Grin! What would you recommend for info instead of Google?

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cataclysmiclife · 24/08/2020 17:24

My tip - A new baby doesn't need that much and most things can be bought second hand.
Also it's ok to stop, and ask for help

cataclysmiclife · 24/08/2020 17:25

Also only read NHS websites for medical advice

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:29

@cataclysmiclife I was planning on buying everything secondhand (apart from car seats and items that need to be sanitised, obviously!) as it seems more cost effective and less wasteful. Thank you for your advice x

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gigi556 · 24/08/2020 17:29

Buy as much as you can secondhand especially clothes. They grow so fast and secondhand is really cheap and better for the environment. Also, design your baby's bedroom with a small child age 3-5 in mind. Forget about a fancy nursery. First 6 months they are in your room (or longer). And they honestly grow so fast nursery furniture is a complete waste of money. If I was doing it over, I'd just get a really good travel cot and call it a day!

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:34

@gigi556 Hahaha sage advice! Yeah, I try to buy things as cheaply and sustainably as possible (even without the parenthood element). Dependent on how many children I end up having as well as their age ranges, I'm also hoping to re-sell or donate these items to another parent in the future to reduce landfill and waste. I'll probably do the painting of the baby's room as a "milestone event" I suppose, but it'll probably be mostly gender neutral and the baby will be in the room with me when it's very young. Thanks so much for the tips! xx

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OnlyFoolsnMothers · 24/08/2020 17:35

Biggest thing is discuss your mat leave, bills, return to work plans with your partner before you sacrifice your job, make yourself bankrupt and do everything in the house. Look into the cost of nursery/ childminders etc.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:36

@OnlyFoolsnMothers I'm planning on being a SAHM, so will involve a lot of saving and budgeting prior to having kids, but should be sustainable in the long term. xx

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OnlyFoolsnMothers · 24/08/2020 17:38

Just remember then that caring for a baby/ toddler/ preschooler is a full time job, all the household chores can’t fall to you as well. Leave your partner for a few hours with the LO early enough that he knows it’s hard work

OnlyFoolsnMothers · 24/08/2020 17:38

Oh and if being a SAHM make sure you’re married for legal protection

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:40

@OnlyFoolsnMothers That's a good idea yeah- my husband works shift work, so it'll either be a day shift, a back shift or a night shift (meaning he'll be around at varying times to experience the different parts of parenthood). Thanks for keeping it positive about the SAHM part, even if it may or may not be your personal cup of tea. xx

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bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:40

@OnlyFoolsnMothers We are married, haha! xx

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snowy0wl · 24/08/2020 17:44


I took folic acid in the months leading up to conception and many people stop drinking alcohol. There are certain foods and drinks you can't have during pregnancy ( You will probably find that nausea also stops you wanting to eat other food too!

Many people find NCT or similar useful for birth preparation (I didn't bother). It will also put you in contact with other first time Mums due around the same time.

The cot mattress and car seat should be bought new. Nearly-new sales and eBay are great sources for second-hand baby items. There are lots of threads on Mumsnet listing essential items for newborns.

Hopefully baby classes will have resumed by the time that you become a Mum. I found these invaluable to force me to get out of the house and socialise.

Weaning generally starts around 6 months. I found Annabel Karmel's books really helpful for recipe ideas. is a great resource for pregnancy and the first few years.

"The Bad Mothers Pregnancy" and "Bad Mother's Diary" provide amusing insights into the life of a first-time Mum.

The rest really involves learning on the job and finding out what works for you and your baby. Life is much easier in the first couple of years if you have a support network or, at the very least, a helpful and supportive partner.


OnlyFoolsnMothers · 24/08/2020 17:45

Nothing wrong with being a SAHM, it’s the expectations of being one that can be a struggle- too many threads where men are resentful or lazy or both, thinking that working is so hard- they want to try 12 waking hrs with an 18month old!!!

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:53

@snowy0wl Wow, thanks so much for all the tips! I'm definitely going to work on fixing my diet & getting more exercise prior to conception. As for the alcohol I'd like to stop a long time prior to pregnancy as I don't want to be emotionally reliant on it in anyway.

I'd like to find a group for mothers at the appropriate time, as obviously I don't have anyone around me who has been a mother. I'll be quite a young mum though, so not sure if I should focus on that demographic for groups or if it matters at all? As for the books, these look great, I'll try and buy some secondhand and see if I like them! Definitely have a supportive partner though :)

Thanks so much for your positive advice! xx

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bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 17:54

@OnlyFoolsnMothers I definitely understand that! My husband has sisters that are ten years younger than him and so knows the difficulty of babies - obviously not on a firsthand parent level, but he's very much the type to pull his weight in all aspects of his life. xx

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qwertypie · 24/08/2020 18:01

My best advice would be: if you are struggling, do not keep it to yourself; raising a child is not your responsibility alone. Reach out to friends, family, your midwife or health visitor, or GP. If I could turn the clock back, I would take this advice!

snowy0wl · 24/08/2020 18:03

@bananabeachhouse - I personally don't think that age matters too much. I have some "Mum friends" who are 15 years younger than me (yes, I'm an "old Mum" ;-) ). My main problem has been trying to find SAHM friends, because all of my social group work.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 18:04

@qwertypie This is definitely useful advice! Unfortunately, if I'm honest I think the only support network I will have will probably be my husband and any healthcare professionals, but I'll definitely make sure to lean on them for support if I need to. My DH has always wanted a family, and I think he'll be more than happy to help out as well as doing his own individual parenting when the time comes! xx

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bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 18:08

@bananabeachhouse I would be a very young, married mum which is honestly quite a niche to fit oneself into Grin I've read some other threads about "older" mums not wanting to associate with younger mums for whatever reason, which has made me feel somewhat sheepish about the whole parenthood group idea - I like to get along with everyone I can, and so don't love the idea of snubbing someone based on age. But obviously, unless I get really unlucky, hopefully I will find a mother's group that doesn't solely compromise of judgemental / negative mums hahaha! Thanks so much :) . xx

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Letsallscreamatthesistene · 24/08/2020 18:13

So google is bad because it can make you worry so much unecessarily. The advice above to use NHS info is good.

I have a 5 month old, and im just trying to think what would be useful to know.

I think I would say that I drove myself crazy trying to stick to guidelines rigidly, even though it was plain it wasnt working for us. So I would say just relax, as long as your baby is thriving and safe it's all ok.

Post partum mental health problems can happen to anyone. I didnt have any history of mental health problems and quite naively I thought I wouldnt suffer from any issues. I had my baby and had post partum anxiety, for which ive had CBT for. It doesnt happen to everyone, its just something to be aware of, and that ITS OK! Its nothing to be ashamed of.

With regards to support networks, having a baby in lockdown has really shown me how much they would have helped. People really like NCT, though I didnt do it. Id really had liked to go to loads of baby groups to meet other mums. So id say be proactive with that when you feel ready.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 18:19

@Letsallscreamatthesistene For the sticking to rigid guidelines part, I think I might too fall into the category of worrying about it Grin! I've written down some info about babies and children's development but tried to keep it as loose as possible- i.e. I'll say between six and ten months old, as opposed to eight and a half specifically for example.

I'm a bit worried about post-partum mental health. It's something I'm going to try to prepare for by getting my body and hopefully mental health to a good place before attempting to conceive (like more exercise, less fatty foods and alcohol) but I do have a history of very bad depression and chronic anxiety linked to my autism. Do you have any advice for coping with PPMH problems, did CBT help you? I tried CBT when I was 15/16 but not sure it was especially efficient. When did you first get the idea that your anxiety was becoming a problem?

Thanks so much for your help! xx

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Letsallscreamatthesistene · 24/08/2020 18:20

I've read some other threads about "older" mums not wanting to associate with younger mums for whatever reason

Urgh - having done all my maternity leave in lockdown, its shown me how lonely things can get if you really care about silly things like numbers on a birth certificate. I think its shared experiences that bond people together and form friendships rather than something arbitary like age.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 18:24

@Letsallscreamatthesistene I really agree with that, I don't think I'd ever exclude or avoid someone based on something like age - the only thing I think I'd have a negative reaction towards is someone who's treating their baby badly, and even that I would try and help out first in case it was an issue of not knowing any better. It's just difficult as I think older mums mightn't want to associate with me, and young or teen mums (around the 19/20 age as that's how old I'd be) aren't always in the same stage of life either and might not want to associate with me. Hopefully I can get some mum friends though, that'd make me very happy. xx

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