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My personal top tips for surviving the first 6 months as a mum and midwife

Mom with baby and CuboAi Smart Baby Monitor

1. Know what to expect

Knowledge is power, and although you will not know everything about what to expect when becoming a new mother, if you know the basics it will definitely put your mind at ease with what to expect. I always recommend taking a prenatal education class, especially for first-time parents. This will cover topics such as: reasons to seek help in your pregnancy, labor and birth information, feeding options, breastfeeding information, how to care for your baby, normal infant behavior, and the changes you will go through in the postpartum period. If you and your partner know the basics, it can help reduce the anxiety around the unknown of this period. 

2. What to expect with breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding is a whole new ball game for all mums, including myself. Even as a midwife with knowledge and education, breastfeeding is still tough in the early days. Doing some research on the Australian Breastfeeding Association website, or attending an education session with a lactation consultant while you’re pregnant is a great place to start. Knowing the basics of breastfeeding and what to expect can include: what colostrum is, when your milk comes in and fills your breasts, what this should look and feel like, what are common challenges of breastfeeding and how can I overcome these. Most importantly, knowing when and where to get help if you need it is critical in preparing for your breastfeeding journey.

3. Invest in a baby carrier

Investing in a supportive and comfortable baby carrier is one of the best decisions I have made, and it has helped me survive the first 6 months and beyond with my little girl. Your baby will want to be super close to you, held by you constantly. This is so incredibly normal but can be difficult and, at times, overwhelming. Know that contact naps are normal at this age (my little girl is now 13 months and still naps in the carrier daily!) You’re the familiar place to your baby, and you’re their safe place. They simply just want to be with you. Carrier napping gives you two hands, takes some of the load off your shoulders and arms, reduces crying, promotes sleep and calmness and — to be honest — is often the only way to get things done! 

4. Understand biological infant sleep 

Doing some reading into the normal sleep patterns of babies and infants is another great tip for understanding sleep before bub arrives. There is no “normal” biological infant sleep schedule or amount of hours that every baby will sleep per night — it differs for every single baby (no matter what social media tells us!) However, having some general knowledge about this topic can be empowering. We do know that babies will: wake frequently for feeds, prefer to sleep close to a caregiver, need assistance falling asleep and may often wake when going through periods of rapid development — and this is completely normal behavior!

5. When people ask if they can help, be honest and accept if you need it

100% accept help when people around you offer — it definitely helped take the load off my partner and I after we had our baby. We live in such a “solo parenting society,” but we need a village around us to raise our children, so never be afraid to ask for help. This could be as simple as doing your washing or grabbing some groceries; don’t be afraid of accepting support if they offer.

6. Meals in the freezer!

If you have time during your maternity leave, try to meal prep as much as you can so you have a freezer full of healthy meals for your fourth trimester. Again, ask family and friends around you to drop off some snacks or food when they ask what they can bring — breastfeeding will make you very hungry!

7. Have a good baby monitor

A baby monitor is so handy to keep an eye on your little one from another room. We bought a CuboAi Smart Baby Monitor, and we literally take it everywhere we go. We used it for day naps and then for nighttime once my daughter moved to her own room around 10 months. 

It has a high-definition camera and night vision capabilities, so I can see my baby clearly, even in the dark. It also has alerts for things like crying, rolling over and face cover. In addition, it monitors temperature and humidity levels, allowing me to create a comfortable environment for my daughter. 

8. Get comfortable with the word “no” and set boundaries

As a new mum, I’ve learned that being a people pleaser and a parent doesn’t always mix well. It’s important to make decisions that are best for you and your new family, even if it’s tough. This may be in the way of telling people not to visit when you know you really need rest, or not letting a visitor pick up your baby after they’ve finally fallen asleep.  Remember, your baby, your house, and your rules. I also suggest having a conversation with your partner about boundaries that you both agree on, so they can implement and enforce them when you’re feeling exhausted. 

9. Get ready most days and get out of the house when you can 

For me, this was an important part of my mental health. It might not be for you, and that’s okay.

Having a shower, doing your hair or putting some makeup on and getting dressed sounds so simple, but it can really help differentiate day from night, and help “start the day” on a positive note. 

Getting out of the house is another big one, it’s so easy to stay inside and cooped up, especially in those first few months. Fresh air, sunshine and a nice stroll or trip to a cafe can feel daunting at first, but in time it can just be what you and your baby need for a change of scenery. 

All in all, parenting slowly gets easier (in my opinion), and you’ll find your groove slowly and steadily. The first six months can so often feel like survival, but just know that there are millions going through it with you. 

This article is written by midwife Aliza Carr from Bumpnbub.

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Cubo Ai

Cubo Ai

Smart Baby Monitor, bird, techie, baby guru, and sleep-safety enthusiast. Cubo has a keen eye for detail, loves baby photography, and never sleeps on the job. You can find Cubo in thousands of nurseries around the world and here on the blog helping parents learn more about the topics they care about.