Media Request: Advice request for 1st time mums!

A freelance friend is putting together a piece for The Guardian Family section gathering together the sorts of practical and emotional pearls of wisdom for first time mums the sort of nuggets that you can’t find in books and you only discover when you’ve had a child.  The inside track if you like, the amazingly useful insider bits of advice that can really help, and also the stuff that makes you laugh and other mums nod knowingly as well! 

These pearls could include:

  • The anecdotal no-holds barred things that only mums know (even those that fly against conventional advice)
  • The thing you wish you’d known before you gave birth/became a mum
  • The thing “they don’t tell you”, or that are glossed over in books etc/conversely the things that are exaggerated?
  • The answers to questions that perhaps you felt you should be asking (there are a few listed below….)
  • The handiest, most invaulable thing that someone told you
  • Best practical tip
  • The most surprising thing about becoming a mum

If you have thoughts, answers or have written a post or posts touching on any or all of these elements (I’m not sure I write about much else!) please comment and include any relevant links in the comments below – serious, humorous, wry, any flavour is good!  If you’d rather contact her directly drop me an email at and I will send you her email address with pleasure.

Names can be changed and even just a one liner or a tweet is useful.  You may have something that leaps to mind – but if you need inspiration then here are some questions from my friend that may spark an ‘oh *yes*, I remember wondering about that…” moment….., she is yet to have kids 😉 

  • How painful IS birth. No *really*.
  • What do you DO with your newborn baby all day?
  • What’s the best way to avoid losing your marbles with lack of sleep/adult company etc?
  • Can you breastfeed while technically asleep? Like a cowboy sleeping upright with his eyes open etc?
  • And on that vein, is there any way to have a drink while breastfeeding?
  • What will seem like a good idea initially – and what I will quickly realise is a total nightmare?
  • Am I really going to be forgetting my name and putting the loo roll in the fridge for a few months after birth?
  • Does a gulf open up between you and your child-free friends? How does it change your relationships?
  • Am I going to surprise myself – and if so, how? (my capacity to not sleep, the depth of emotion, the complete absorption with my baby, my ability to puree things, my time management skills etc?)
  • What won’t I care about half as much, after I’ve given birth/am a mum?


Filed under Media Requests

15 responses to “Media Request: Advice request for 1st time mums!

  1. queeneileen

    The best bit of advice I was ever ever given was “Leave the room”

    Make sure your baby is safe and go get yourself a brew. It gives you enough time to regroup and not go mental when your baby has been crying for the last few hours.

    Oh, and never ever be afraid of asking for help. You weren’t given a cape and a pair of knickers to put over your tights when you gave birth: you are not Supermum. Help isn’t a dirty word.

  2. On behalf of Metropolitan Mum who recently wrote a post called ‘mummy wisdom’ with some very wise insights:–-part-i/

  3. Claire- I will send you some links to my posts by email but one piece of advice is to prepare yourself fully for BOTH breastfeeding and bottlefeeding. That means, you NEED to have bottles, formula and a steriliser at home waiting for you. Research your formula options and know that you have a fall back if breastfeeding doesn’t work. We were not prepared for this eventuality and hubby had to go out on his own to get everything. Even if you never end up using it (and good on you), you’ll have the option and be properly prepared. You can always sell the bottles and accessories if need be. There is NOT a wealth of information out there about bottle/formula feeding as the initiative for breastfeeding prohibits it, for the most part. You need to fully understand how to do formula feeding yourself as there will not be an exceptional amount, if any, information or support that will be given to you. And know that if breastfeeding doesn’t work for you, you ARE NOT A FAILURE! I still struggle with this.
    🙂 Karin

  4. Claire T

    Accept that there will be days when nothing works, and you will end up sobbing along with the baby – you’re not a bad mum, you’re just knackered and hormonal!
    Don’t believe everything you read in the parenting ‘bibles’ – better to skim through them and come up with your own set of ‘rules’ to suit you and your family.
    You don’t have to do what midwives, health visitors, friends or even your mum tells you – it’s your baby and you CAN trust your instincts/do it your way.
    It will be the most amazing thing you’ve ever done and nothing can prepare you for the depth of feeling that comes with motherhood. And you will pretty much forget about the pain of labour, even if you have a traumatic time (as I did). It’s all totally, totally worth it!

  5. Oh, I am sure that there is so much but baby brain still has me in its clutches! I will give it a go..

    If it is a boy baby make sure his willy is pointing downwards when putting on a nappy. I learnt this after a number of wet clothes!

    Make the most of the newborn baby cuddles, they never last long enough.

    When you have visitors show them the kettle and tell them yours is a cup of tea.

    Accept any offer of help. If no one offers, ask.

    The housework can wait.

    You do not know what sleep deprivation means until a little one comes along.

    Trust your instincts, try not to second guess yourself all the time (I still do this constantly but try!)

    You will probably only use half the things you have been it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

    Muslins can be used for many many things.

    Try and get some fresh air every day, even if it is just a 15 minute walk it really helps you, and helps the baby to understand day and night.

    Enjoy it! You are a mum now 😀

  6. what they dont tell you about childbirth – it makes you sick!! I have a major sick phobia and this came as a huge shock to my system. Note to midwife – When I tell you I am going to be sick, do not try and tell me its my stomach getting squashed during a contraction. I can still recall exactly when you realised I wasnt making it up, it was about 60 seconds after I threw up on you!

    Must buy mum to be item – eye concealer! made me feel half human again

  7. caradonovan

    Don’t underestimate how fragile you are going to feel. Both emotionally and physically. You probably won’t sleep properly for a few days after getting home, as your adrenaline will be pumping. But at least get to bed/lie on sofa.

    Don’t think that there is only you who is having self doubt about looking after this baby. None of us have an instruction manual and just do what we have to, to get through the early days. Everybody will have an opinion on how to look after the baby, what they used to do, how you should try this or that. Do what YOU want to do. If you want to cuddle your baby, do it, those early days are short lived.

    Don’t have firmly fixed opinions on what you will and won’t do with your baby e.g. bottles/breast, dummy/no dummy – just be prepared to give things a go, and if it doesn’t work, try the alternative.

    Take the growth/weight charts in your red book, with a pinch of salt. They are averages and to be used as a guide – not something to beat yourself up with if they are over/under. They even out over time.

    Treasure those early days, and take lots of photos, keep a diary/blog, as you won’t believe the changes in a few short days/weeks/months.

  8. Vic

    A deep sleep might not be possible whilst breastfeeding,but a comfy laid back chair makes dozing that much easier – it’s certainly keeping my sanity right now!

    And remember, it could be a lot lot worse!

  9. COLIC!!! No-one told me anything about it and was a complete nightmare! Wondered why baby cried constantly and thought I was doing something wrong. Be great if they went through things like that at ante-natal classes so you know the signs to look out for!

  10. Hi Claire,

    I have just written a post about this here: (Preparing for your baby: Preparing for a marathon)

    and also one on Colic:

    Feel free to use any 🙂 x

  11. The thing no one told me was that it wasn’t the actual birth bit (baby coming out) that really hurts: it’s the transition contractions that make you feel like you want to rip someone’s head off.

    And the best piece of advice I was ever given was ‘there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After 6 weeks it gets easier’.
    Knowing that, knowing that I wouldn’t feel like ‘this’ forever was a huge comfort.

    I wrote a post asking what advice people would give to new mums and dads and the comments were really useful:

    Hope this helps x

    Hi Claire, weirdly enough I had been planning on writing a blog post this week about the things I wish I’d known before becoming a mum for the first time and this just kicked me into gear. You can read it over at Mellow Mummy

    This should be an interesting article to read!
    I wrote a post about all the very slightly gross things you do when you are mum. It’s called you know you’ve become a real mum when…..and you can read it here

  14. From Everyday Stranger, a piece about coping on a day-to-day basis with infant twins:

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