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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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Hatscats · 24/08/2020 22:47

Feel like I am ready now, excited, nervous, have enjoyed most of pregnancy (so far) 😂

I got the travelling bug late on I think. Least if you have babies young you can take them with you if it happens to you!

Akindelle · 24/08/2020 22:48

Advice for first-time mums?
Don’t. Your life and body will be ruined, and possibly your career too.

Graphista · 24/08/2020 22:53

I must admit I travelled before dd too - not just holidays but proper travelling inc living overseas which I would definitely recommend to anyone who can possibly manage it before dc.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 22:53

@Hatscats If I'm honest I think you can do similar things if you have a baby- obviously you need to account for your baby, and you probably can't get absolutely hammered in Ibiza for example, but you could still go for a few holidays away when your kids are little. Might be mildly stressful, but for me so is any holiday Grin. I hope you have a fab delivery and all works out well! xxx

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bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 22:54

@Akindelle Hi, please keep this positive. This isn't constructive advice or feedback. Thank you! xx

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Idontknow23 · 24/08/2020 22:55

Take loads of photos and videos, when you look back on them it will be a blur and you will be thankful you've got them. Buy colic medicine, wipe under their necks as the milk runs and can make them sore but you cant see it until you lift their heads. Breastfeed if you want or don't, I never breastfed and I didn't feel guilty,you will probably feel guilty about absolutely everything else though. Stock up on wipes when pregnant throw 2 packs in everytime you go shopping you will be thankful and buy nappies and clothes for all stages. I never had second hand because you can go primark for cheap enough clothes that are brand new and not been sicked on for the cost of second hand but obviously each to their own. Be one step ahead, get the bottle ready before they are screaming for it

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 22:56

@Graphista My DH and I are planning to do a move somewhere down the line - I have Australian citizenship and my DH is Polish (though Australia is a slightly sexier option haha!) so we may easily move, but that would be centred around our child (/ren), i.e. if they ever wanted to change schools, or possibly the break between primary and secondary school. Definitely up for some travelling if the funds allow it though! xx

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bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 22:58


Take loads of photos and videos, when you look back on them it will be a blur and you will be thankful you've got them. Buy colic medicine, wipe under their necks as the milk runs and can make them sore but you cant see it until you lift their heads. Breastfeed if you want or don't, I never breastfed and I didn't feel guilty,you will probably feel guilty about absolutely everything else though. Stock up on wipes when pregnant throw 2 packs in everytime you go shopping you will be thankful and buy nappies and clothes for all stages. I never had second hand because you can go primark for cheap enough clothes that are brand new and not been sicked on for the cost of second hand but obviously each to their own. Be one step ahead, get the bottle ready before they are screaming for it

@Idontknow23 This is great, practical stuff! I've actually got a Word document with some medical info on pregnancy / birth / early childhood etc etc that I'm planning to write and research a lot into. If you don't mind I might copy this in for the future - it's great to have practical advice as well as hypothetical stuff. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation!
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Akindelle · 24/08/2020 23:03

Akindelle Hi, please keep this positive. This isn't constructive advice or feedback
It’s constructive to point out that you don’t have to do this and it’s important to think about what you’ll be giving up. If you want it phrased positively: You can choose not to have children and keep your attractive healthy body and enjoyable lifestyle.

MrsPatrickDempsey · 24/08/2020 23:03

Read about babies! Learn about the 4th trimester and what normal infant behaviour is. This will help you prepare and understand why they cry, don't sleep, don't want to be put down etc. Babies are not miniature adults; their brain development is very limited at birth. You can't fix or change them in the early days.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 23:06

@Akindelle The "attractive body" part is not necessarily that important to me, personally. It's a bonus, and I'd sure like it if it's on offer, but I wouldn't focus my life around being attractive. The enjoyable lifestyle part, there's definitely some sacrifice involved, but I think you still have time when your children are grown up to pursue the things you feel you're missing out on. I know I don't have to do this - thank you for rephrasing it in a more positive light. xx

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bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 23:07

@MrsPatrickDempsey I'm trying to really study up on newborns! I definitely have more experience around toddlers & upwards, so that's a crucial part that I'd like to know more about. Do you have any advice or wisdom about the "fourth trimester"? Xx

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willowtree81 · 24/08/2020 23:07

Good idea to plan ahead like you are. ❤️ Best advice I was given was "Look up the 4th trimester."

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 23:08

@willowtree81 Definitely on it, can't hurt to be prepared! What's something you wish you knew / you wish someone told you? Either about the "fourth trimester" or any other aspect of pregnancy / parenthood Flowers xx

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Idontknow23 · 24/08/2020 23:14

Aw of course! I'm trying to think of more things. Ooh be careful hair strands can get wrapped around their thumbs, toes and willies and be bad for circulation but obviously that's rare but just check inside the socks, don't let anyone kiss your child anywhere not even the cheek if they have a cold sore that might be obvious but it can be life threatening to babies if they are not immune. Understand that you will be the glue to your family and I can describe having a baby as once you start running on the hamster wheel you literally don't stop, from that first bottle you make you will be making so many after that haha when you're pregnant you and your partner may get all cute like me and my dh did and say oh we will take it in turns if one of us is tired etc and I do believe alot of men do help but they also usually go to work so the majority falls to the woman and selfishness and tired bickering can come into it once the baby is here and all the sharing ideas go out the window but I don't say that to be negative, you will be the one to hold the routine together and take more charge I think it's not 50/50 just because of the man working as I said unless you've got one that gets up through the night and then goes to work early but I do think mums do more of the baby work. Ooh also me and my dh when he was on paternity leave or weekends would do a feed each in the night but actually that wasn't a good idea as we would both end up tired from being up so best to just do a night completely each so the other gets to rest although as a mother you will probably intervene as you can't shut off and help but get involved when you can hear the baby unsettled haha

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 23:18

@Idontknow23 This is great stuff, all going in the Word doco (don't worry it's very unprofessional and won't go anywhere, just for me to read over and kind of 'memorise' - bit of a nerd really!) Thanks so much for contributing though! Do you enjoy being a mum? I don't mean on a day-to-day basis as there's obviously a lot of sleep deprivation and vomit, but do you think in terms of overall life satisfaction you're happier? Ta so much Flowers xx

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ChristianGreysAnatomy · 24/08/2020 23:26


You sound very keen to get it right, which is admirable and also troubling. Because you’re only human, you will have bad moments and times when you don’t get it right. If you have difficulty in acknowledging negative experiences and thoughts, you will struggle more than a woman who can tolerate failure and criticism. After all, your baby will complain frequently, your toddler will scream, your tween will sulk and your teenager won’t exactly be sweetness and light all day long!

I expect you’ll tell me I’m not being positive enough and encourage me to toe your line and you may even feel the need to send me kisses to assert your niceness. Fine, but you need balanced expectations of yourself and your baby. Your age is irrelevant.

In the meantime, my practical advice is to co-sleep safely, to buy a really good handcream as to counter the effects of washing your hands after every frickin nappy change, and get out of the house every day even (especially) when you are feeling broken.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 23:32

@ChristianGreysAnatomy I think I am relatively willing to get it wrong - I've definitely got a perfectionist streak, as well as a slightly nerdy need-for-information streak, but I think mistakes are a useful learning experience. I would just like to ensure that at the very least, I can make mistakes that aren't risking the life or livelihood of any child I have.

I don't think your response was negative, actually. In this circumstance I wouldn't have asked you to be more positive, I only ask that of the doom-and-gloom people who have no intention of being constructive. I'm sorry if you see the kisses on the end of my messages as an "assertion of my niceness", I usually add them to represent that I'm not trying to be angry or passive aggressive. If you don't want me to add them, I'll try not to add them, and trust you can understand the tone in my responses.

Thank you for your practical advice, especially about the handcream, I appreciate it.

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Idontknow23 · 24/08/2020 23:37

Oh yeah do what you want with the info. I was 21 when I had my planned first. Still with the dad 10 years later and have another child too who was a surprise baby. I had morning sickness for 27 weeks or so with my first but pregnancy is amazing and I miss it loads just growing a baby, the scans, the kicks, the excitement but I know not everyone likes pregnancy. i did feel really exhausted in pregnancy too. It is amazing having children, you can feel your heart twinge and the love grow even more when they smile or the first time they say they love you and it's so exciting at Christmas and birthdays and dressing them all cute, I know you want to keep the post positive but there is also the other side of it and everyone's experiences are different but the childbirth pain was horrendous, the tiredness is so bad at times I could have fell sleep walking down the stairs, personally I think newborns are easy but it's when they get more knowing and teething and they get used to sleeping in your bed and you have no sleep because they are kicking you all night and then wanting to get up at 4am,i don't drink water which doesn't help but I swear I felt tired until my youngest got to about 5 years old, the danger naps aswel wherethey fall asleep late afternoon and you know they are gonna be awake so late at night from it and you're trying to talk to them to keep them awake. Sometimes the stress aswel when you've got nothing to do with them due to weather and they might be having tantrums and you don't know what they are wanting if they can't yet talk etc also if you have financial struggles that can be difficult but you love them and it is really good and those hard years do pass and I don't regret anything,they really are the best, all the firsts are so good first day at school etc or first steps or when they look for you in their class play and smile and their class photos. Everything they do makes you happy. Anyway I've gone on sorry, just tried to weigh it up on both sides for you.

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 23:43

@Idontknow23 Honestly, I don't see mentioning the downsides as being negative. You can easily say "I didn't like being vomited on" or "I missed my sleep" without it being negative - in fact I appreciate these insights! I don't want anyone thinking I want to only hear about the positives of having a child as that's unrealistic, I just want people to not phrase everything in the vein of "Don't have kids, they'll ruin your life." If you've experienced downsides to being a parent (as I imagine everyone has) I'd love to hear them, but ideally to hear your tips and tricks / how you coped rather than advising other people to give up!
(Obviously not saying you are @idontknow23, just a general statement)

Thank you for giving me some insight into the positives and negatives of being a mum, I really appreciate your honest perspective! :)

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Idontknow23 · 24/08/2020 23:47

Well you cope because you have to cope 😁 also youtubing water running etc sometimes helped mine sleep or putting the top you've worn in the moses basket for them to lay on so they can smell you

bananabeachhouse · 24/08/2020 23:53

@Idontknow23 Tiny pets, then! Grin (Kidding, obviously!) These are gold though, thank you for the simple, practical advice. I'll see how much of it I can try and put to use when the time comes. I'm also trying to go for simpler ways of getting things done, and not relying on the 101 relatively unnecessary baby products that get sold to you by advertisers or Youtubers haha! Cheers for the tips :) x

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Idontknow23 · 25/08/2020 00:01

Oh also random but I try not to put myself down infront of my children, I won't call myself fat or ugly infront of them as they will pick up on it and then may start obsessing about weight etc that's not to say I don't think bad stuff of myself but I just don't let them know this, I will try and say good things about myself or what I've done from time to time infront of them as cringey as it makes me feel but so they can try and learn self esteem and body confidence, thats obviously when they are past the baby stage

bananabeachhouse · 25/08/2020 00:05

@Idontknow23 That's a really good idea. Instilling confidence, or at minimum self respect in my child (/ren) is a very big factor for me, I'm just not sure how to go about it. I think there's probably a genetic component towards self esteem as an environmental one, so not putting yourself down in front of your kids is a great idea. I guess children absorb the mentalities of the people they're around, at least for a little while, which can probably affect their self perception.

This is great, you have tons of advice! I'm hoping one day I'll have a similar accumulation of knowledge that I too can pass on :) xxx

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Graphista · 25/08/2020 02:13

Totally agree with the hand cream tip! Neutrogena Swiss formula is my recommendation (and with the ocd I should know!)

On a more serious note, yes be forgiving of yourself and your child. NOBODY is perfect and again with the ocd I understand perfectionism!

When you're in the whirlpool of sleep deprivation, anxiety, money worries etc this can be so easy to forget!

Try so hard not to.

Don't beat yourself up when you feel the need to scream into a pillow because your 1 year old is refusing to eat ANYTHING after you've slaved making baby friendly pots up, or because they've presented you with a poonami JUST as you're leaving for a crucial appointment, or because you cannot find the ONE dummy/toy they need to sleep...

And that's the easy part!

My dds almost 20, older than you and these last few years have definitely been the hardest as a parent, not least because I can no longer control her! Because I've had to step back and let her very much make her own mistakes, because there's nothing I could do to not lie awake worrying when she was out clubbing, because her romantic relationships are totally her business now but she still comes to me to vent...but I have to very much guard my tongue while thinking 'you could do so much better than this wimp/stingebag/whatever' Grin

I agree with a pp upthread - comparatively over a whole childhood newborn stage is absolutely the EASIEST point by far!

You know where they are, they're safe, fed, warm, happily entertained mostly, they're within arms reach most of the time and they haven't yet the ability to criticise you Grin

And you get lots of lovely newborn cuddles.

Shame it only lasts a few months really.

But honestly everyone has their own favourite/most hated stages. I didn't especially enjoy the "why bird" and "but why do I have to (eat/brush my teeth/sleep when it's still light outside even though it's not dark till nearly midnight in the summer" stage I most enjoyed as I said babe in arms stage and 2nd to that early teens stage (which a lot don't enjoy) as I loved being able to do more advanced things with dd (from cooking to crafts to philosophical discussion) and getting to know the person she would likely be as an adult, what she was passionate about, what she hated or found boring etc

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