No one can prepare 100% for parenthood. Raising a child is perhaps the biggest project in your life and everyone starts it inexperienced. From one day to the next you are older and you learn a lot of new things. You can't really avoid thinking afterwards: I should have done this differently. That's part of it. One learns by doing. That's why I would like to share my experiences with you, because maybe it will help you. Read in this article what I would do differently now as a mother.
Let me start by saying that nothing is right or wrong. There are all kinds of opinions about parenting and I am not an expert, but I am an expert by experience. I have four children and have been talking to parents every day for years about (the sleeping behavior of) their child. I have collected these experiences in this article. It is not a manual on how to do it. It is purely a vision of an experienced mother who has learned a few things over the years. Maybe it will help you as a new mother. Remember, all babies are different. What works for one child may not work for another child!e!
Keep baby in the small bed for as long as possible
Many newborn babies start out in a co-sleeper or crib. As soon as your baby is a bit bigger, it is often exchanged for a cot or grow-through bed. In retrospect, I would postpone the transition from small, cozy and secure to a larger bed as long as possible. I now know how important that safe feeling is for a baby, especially if he has to lie alone in a bed. That's why I would do everything I can to make the bed a nice and safe place! This is more difficult in a larger bed, because a baby can feel lost in (too) much free space. If you want to teach your child to sleep in their own room, place the small bed in the nursery and remove the cot for a while.g.
How to deal with me-time differently
One of the things I found really hard about living with a newborn was the lack of me-time. You are literally busy with your baby every moment and you only have time for yourself when your baby is sleeping. That caused me the fear that it wouldn't work to get the baby to sleep. I had a knot in my stomach when I started the bed ritual and then thought: Please, give me some time for myself!.!”.
A strange thought, of course, because a baby cannot wish (or begrudge) this at all. A baby has no idea yet what kind of world he lives in and what role he plays in it. Your baby does feel your stress, so sleeping with my baby often didn't work out. The frustration got bigger and bigger every time. If I could do this again, I would just accept that there is little me-time. I would assume that I would have to stay with my baby throughout the nap to help it and if it goes well, that's a bonus.
Let's not ignore the fact that me-time is very important. By now I know: when you need me-time, you can create it yourself. I have done that too little. It's okay to ask for help sometimes, so you can get away from your child for a while. This does not make you a bad mother, on the contrary! By organizing your me-time well you can rest better and that makes you a more resilient, stronger and nicer person in every way - and therefore also a more relaxed parent.
Embrace crying (instead of smothering)
When my baby started crying, as a mother I had the idea that I had to get my baby quiet and calm again. If the baby kept crying I got a little desperate. In hindsight, I would have approached this differently. I now know that a baby simply has no other way to communicate. Sometimes a baby also cries just to discharge. You may also recognize this as an adult: after a cry you feel a bit better. With this thought in mind, I would now focus my attention on comforting the baby, instead of getting it quiet. I would think: just throw it out little one, mom is here.
This topic is also covered extensively in the courseLoving Independent Sleep from Happy Baby Coach. I would have loved to have had this information when I was a new mom. That's why you get when you buy oneNUNKI orBUNDI a free module of this course as a gift. Whether your child sleeps well depends on many factors and I am convinced that this information will help you to understand your child better!
24 things moms would do differently now
By talking to parents and reading a lot about this topic, I also have this list of 24 things moms would do differently now. Get inspired:
- Buy fewer toys.
- Worry less, enjoy more.
- Make fewer to-do lists and live more in the moment.
- Take a nap more often in between, for example when the baby is sleeping for a while.
- Never become lax when it comes to safety.
- Always carry spare baby clothes with me.
- Have a diaper bag at hand anytime, anywhere.
- Keep a record of the children's hilarious statements.
- Make a photo album every year from scratch.
- Make more videos instead of photos. Your baby will be big before you know it!
- Don't let my mood depend on the mess in the nursery. How important is it really?
- Do everything you can to continue breastfeeding.
- Make your own vegetable stew instead of buying ready-made.
- Make more use of slings.
- Be more concerned with the now. The future will come later.
- Listening more to my mother's feeling instead of strictly following rules: just give extra water if the baby has had enough according to the rules but is clearly still hungry.
- Dealing with the diaper change more relaxed. This does not always have to be on a changing table, but can be done anywhere on a changing mat. And only if it is really necessary.
- Go to the osteopath earlier with the baby.
- Worry less about the household and the amount of dirty laundry.
- Enjoy a tidy house when your baby is still small. Once he can crawl and walk, everything will be very different!
- Accept that everything changes and that your life will never be the same again.
- Get as much sleep as possible and go to bed early.
- Feel less guilty about things not going perfectly. Perfection does not exist!
- More skin contact and more cuddling: just do nothing for a while but be close to each other.
Ik ben Frederieke, getrouwd met Ewoud en mama van 4 kindjes. Na op veel plekken gewoond te hebben, ben ik gesetteld in Nieuwkoop. Ik werkte in de commercie tot mijn vierde kindje geboren werd. Fedde was een huilbaby en vanuit deze wanhoop heb ik de producten van Fedde&Kees bedacht. Ik gooide mijn leven om en begon met ondernemen. Sinds 2018 help ik andere ouders naar een betere slaap!