Six tips for new parents with @thesouthendmummy

Welcoming your little one into the world is an unforgettable, wonderful stage in life for every parent.

Often sleep-deprived, overwhelmed and highly-emotional after pregnancy, it's always best to make sure those early days are as stress-free as possible.

That's why HiPP spoke with the brilliant @thesouthendmummy to provide six top tips for new parents...

1. Ask friends for help on bedtime tactics.

The first day my daughter was home from the hospital, I popped her in her crib, and she went straight to sleep. Fantastic – parenting is going to be easy, or so I thought!

It didn’t last long and even now, at 4 years old my daughter still frequently does not sleep through the night. I had been to a number of different baby classes, so I knew that her crib should be empty and her feet at the foot of the crib. I also had a crash course on swaddling with an old-fashioned swaddle. Despite this, I once found myself sitting awake the whole night with her on my chest asleep - in acute fear of falling asleep myself.

In desperation, I turned to social media for advice from some friends, who had had babies before me. They shared a few hints, tricks, and hacks for better baby sleep, including using modern zip-up swaddles, white noise, putting my worn nightie as the bottom on the crib as the sheet, warming the crib with a hot water bottle, and most importantly a good sleep routine – book, bath, bed.

2. Keeping your little one active during the day.

On reflection, one of the best ways to really tire your baby out during the day is with plenty of activity and sensory experiences. I took both of my little ones out as regularly as possible to take part in all sorts of baby-inclusive activities. This included yoga, play areas, cafes, walks with friends, museums, playgroups, and libraries. You can find so many free groups at libraries and through your local council. Not only is it great for your little one, but it also gives you the opportunity for a chat with other mums - which always makes me feel so much better. 

3. Find your mum tribe.

A tribe of mum friends is absolutely essential as a new parent. I met mine through a combination of classes and online platforms. Having spent a year in lockdown, online channels have been a fantastic way of finding and interacting with new mums in the same boat. Once you find your mum tribe, they’re going to be the ones available to give you advice at 1am when you’re up on those night feeds.

I also signed up for loads of free trial classes to enjoy a class without paying - it’s a great way to figure out what your baby enjoys (and what tires them out the most).

 

4. Don't buy all the gadgets.

Resist the temptation to buy a lot of new gadgets and baby items before the baby comes, it can be a very expensive habit. Alternatively, you should consider buying your essential baby products second hand. I have bought so many things hoping for a quick fix but there are no quick fixes when it comes to babies. I have a loft full of bouncers and baby seats, jumperoos, and activity mats.

My advice is to buy things once your baby has arrived, and when you actually need them. Products that I found particularly useful were baby baths to help soon after birth, a comfortable highchair with a footrest, a side-sleeping crib to make feeding easier at night and a comfortable baby carrier. The latter was especially helpful with my second child, as it allowed me to have my hands free to help my older daughter.

5. Find time for you.

Having had my second daughter in lockdown, the one thing I have truly missed is some true ‘me time’. If you have the opportunity to take some time out on your own, or to go on a date night with your partner, take it! It’s tiring being a mum, so we all need a little rest and relaxation to recharge our batteries. I love to get out of the house for an hour to go for yoga, followed by a quiet coffee alone or a boxing class to get out my and frustrations! Date night is equally important to connect with my husband, even if we spend all our time talking about the children. On our last date without the children, we had so much fun drinking cocktails and playing mini golf.

 

6. Plan your meals.

It’s important to plan your meals - time is tight with a new baby, and you will be tired. When we had our second, some good friends kindly bought us a gift card for luxury frozen meals – which was an amazing present. It’s also useful to batch cook and freeze meals, or to treat yourself and have a few extra takeaways!

I hope all of this advice has been helpful; being a new mum is the most special time, but doesn’t come without its worries, anxieties, and expense. Just allow yourself to forget it all and be delighted with your new baby – make sure to take lots of pictures and videos, because they grow up so fast!


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