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What not to sweat with a newborn

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The first time you’re a mum it can be hard to know what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not. Here are 10 things that seasoned Australian mums say not to pull your hair out over.

Myth: Other parents know more than you do


No one knows your baby like you do. Trust your gut and seek advice when something doesn’t feel right. 

“The hardest thing I found about being a new mum was people pushing their parenting advice onto me. If I’m given an unwanted suggestion, I say ‘I'll put that in my bag of tricks’. You are bub’s mum and you will know what is best for bub, yourself and your family. Trust your instincts,” says Nerissa. 

Myth: You need to whip up a great dinner each night


Getting time to cook a decent meal with a newborn in tow can be one of the most challenging feats for a mum. Put a few strategies in place to ease the burden (and make sure you’re well-nourished). 

If friends or family ask how they can help, suggest they bring around a meal. Also, as Ailsa suggests: “Before you give birth, fill up your freezer with easy dinners/lunches. Do a bit of a cook-up or stock your freezer with easy meals upon discharge from hospital.” 

Myth: You need to uphold an ‘open house’ policy


Most likely, you and your new bub are the star attraction among your friends and family. That’s how it should be! Having a lot of visitors early on, however, can be stressful and cut into time you’d rather spend napping or bonding with your newborn. 

While you’re probably keen to have close family over, discourage more distant acquaintances and house guests from visiting in the first six weeks. 

“For the first six weeks just survive, don't make plans. It gets easier after that,” advises Ruby. 

READ MORE: The fourth trimester

Myth: Breast-feeding is always easy


If breast feeding works for you that's fantastic, if it doesn't – no biggy, that's what bottles are for,” says Lisa. 

Helen adds: “If you plan on breastfeeding – it can be hard for some women. For me, it just didn’t happen at first, and when it did, it really hurt. But it got better. I used the national Breastfeeding Helpline when things got tough. It’s free and staffed by real mums who’ve often been through their own breastfeeding struggles.”

Myth: Crying means catastrophe


“A GP friend said to me, ‘No baby ever died of crying’,” says Fiona. “That stuck with me, especially when I was in the car and the baby was screaming in the back. You want desperately to soothe them but when it’s impossible, you have to be kind on yourself and realise that a crying bub isn’t always the end of the world.” 

Ella agrees: “I remind myself ‘If they are screaming, they are breathing’. Don't worry if your baby is crying. You will eventually work out what each cry is. Until then, just check different things to see what it is: feed them, change them or put on extra clothes on if you suspect they might cold.” 

Myth: New parents get no sleep


Oh, it’s true that nights of solid sleep may be a thing of the past – at least for the first bit of your journey into motherhood. But you can top up your sleep bank during the day. 

“In the first few weeks try and nap when your baby does,” says Tegan. “Everything else can wait.” 

Claire adds: “The best advice I got, and I unfortunately didn't listen to at the time, was to sleep when bubby sleeps. I was exhausted beyond comprehension by the time I finally said ‘Okay, stop the housework’. That realisation came as a total relief.”

What's your best piece advice for new mums? Tell us in the comments section below.