Little N and Baby J have got two older siblings. My stepson was 5 and my stepdaughter was 3 when my eldest was born, and I thought that being a stepmum had prepared me for motherhood. I was so wrong. I had no idea what a shock to the system it would be. I had no idea how much it would impact my career, my relationship and my friendships, and I had no idea how long it would take me to find my confidence as a mother.
And it seems that I’m not alone. A survey of 2,000 mums commissioned by Nurofen for Children shows that on average, it takes a first time mum about six months to feel confident as a parent and almost half worry about their baby’s health. That was certainly true in my case. Every time he cried, I panicked. Every single time.
In those first few months of Little N’s life I worried about his sleep, his feeds, his immunisations. His first cold, his first hospitalisation. I was constantly stressed and worried; even when there was absolutely nothing wrong I still worried.
As a first-time mum everyone wanted to offer their advice and their opinion, and what one person suggested was the opposite to what the next person recommended. People said I should do this, I should try that, my baby should be doing this, he shouldn’t be doing that. It was a minefield trying to pick through the advice and figure out what would work for me and my baby.
Me and my baby.
This was my light bulb moment. He is my baby. I am his mother. I know what makes him happy. I know how to calm him. I know what he likes. I know what he doesn’t like. I know when his cries mean feed me, when his cries mean change me, and when his cries mean cuddle me. I know when he needs medicine.
I started to trust my instincts. I started to use my own judgement. I started to belief in myself. And I started to feel confident as a mother.
When my second baby was born, I was a lot more relaxed. I worried less. I had more confidence in myself. I had done this once before and I knew what to expect. I felt confident in handling those first sniffles and those first jabs, I let him sleep when he was tired and fed him when he was hungry. And as a result those early months were a lot happier for us all!
I only wish I had believed in myself more when my first baby was born. So now I tell other mums and dads to do the same. Listen to your instincts. Don’t worry unnecessarily. Trust that you know what makes your baby happy, and you will be happier too.
What makes you feel confident as a parent?
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to blog about a specified subject or review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have been entered into a prize draw to win a £100 voucher as a token of thanks for this post. #NurofenforChildrenComp