|Mak carrying Al Fateh, Monika (R) and the registered midwife (L)|
When I was in Perth, the first time mothers were encouraged to attend First-Time Mom Groups, which were held weekly, starting from the first week till the 10th. It was FOC and was supervised by registered midwives. It was fun and helpful, and most importantly, you feel that you have supports from others in the same boat! Some of these tips were gathered from them and from personal 'findings', too. Hopefully they're helpful!
Tips for new moms out there.
- DO NOT stress about what you do not know about caring for a newborn. It takes time and every baby is different.
- Make sure you take time out for yourself. You need to take care of yourself, too!
- Accept offers from others to help.
- Breastfeeding can be frustrating at first, but it is well worth it. Invest in a good pump if you can afford it. I personally used Medela PISA from my first born till now (my Medela is celebrating its 6th birthday soon!)
- When you're nursing - drink, drink, drink. If you notice frequent headaches, you could be dehydrated and in need of more fluid. Good rule of thumb: each time you sit down to a feeding, grab a glass of water.
- Right from the start, let Dad do as much as possible. Avoid the tendency to feel that you are the only one who can look after your child (though it might not be up to your 'standard' but at least you can have some time off!). Aside from breastfeeding, there is nothing that he can't do. Mothers need to give fathers the confidence that they can contribute as much as Mom.
- Sleep in while your husband or a relative watches the baby. If you're breastfeeding, have a bottle (with your milk in it) on hand so you can sleep in. So now, even your husband can feed the baby!
- Calm parents = calm baby
- Starting at birth, talk to you child as if he/she understands everything you say. Don't be afraid to use big or complicated words.
- Keep worry to a minimum. Children go through so many different stages throughout their lives that you will drive yourself crazy over worry. Go with the flow, do what feels right. Stop fussing too much!
- Have patience. Adjusting to the sounds of a screaming baby can be a nerve racking experience. Don’t stress yourself out if your baby doesn’t calm him/herself instantly. It's natural!
- Don't keep the house too quiet when the little one is sleeping. Most new babies sleep just as well in a nosier environment -- and then they don't get used to needing absolute silence!
- Try to teach your baby to get himself to sleep by putting him down awake. When you know your baby is tired, have him fall asleep in his crib without you holding, patting, or rocking him. Al Fateh and Alwani are the living example (but not Yusuf!).
- You and your husband need to make decisions based on what is best for your baby. Don't let other people make you feel bad because you decide to raise your child your way.
- Get your baby on a regular schedule – mine was EAT-PLAY-SLEEP, midwives in Perth taught me this.
- Update your baby book(s) and photo albums on a regular basis. If you put them aside for a few months, trying to catch up can be overwhelming.
- Talk to your baby. It may seem silly talking to your baby at first, but it is how your baby develops speech!
- Use your baby’s name in conversation.
- As early as you can, read to your child. Read colourful books out loud during breastfeeding and play times.
- Recite surahs from Al Quran and sing lullabies to your child in the form of zikir. Fantastic tune which soothes the bubb (and you’ll be rewarded by Him in return!) One of the examples is Zain Bhika’s Hush Little Baby.
- Learn and practise your nursery rhymes collections! It has loads of vocabs!
- Teach your baby independence by teaching him/her to be alone, and most likely he/she will be happy. This will help as the baby gets older to learn how to entertain him/herself for small amount of time.
- Don't buy too many small clothes--buy big and let your baby grow into them.
- You don't have to buy everything brand new. You child doesn't know the difference. Just as long as you show them you love them, they don't care what they wear. They’ll outgrow them ever so quickly, too!
- Jamu (traditional herbs) can be disastrous - constipation for both moms and baby, less milk production - so use cautiously.
- You will get lots of advice from everyone on how to raise your child. Everyone will share their opinions with you.The best advice is to ignore most of these people and follow your own instincts!