- Don’t expect your baby to be doing what the experts or the baby books say she should be doing.
- Examples of comments to ignore: “he should be sleeping through the night by now” and “she doesn’t eat enough”.
- Don’t expect your baby to play by the rules. Babies have their own ideas and these are often different to the ideas of their parents.
- Don’t judge or criticize your own mothering. Just do the best you can.
- The perfect mom does not exist. Your baby doesn’t need you to be perfect. He only needs you to be good enough. You are allowed to fail him sometimes.
- It is acceptable and even normal sometimes to experience feelings of anger, resentment and even hatred towards your baby.
- Negative feelings towards your baby are fine as long as you don’t act out on them, that is, as long as you don’t hurt your baby or abandon him.
- Hand your baby over to someone you trust if you are feeling as though you are reaching your limit.
- Allow yourself some time away from your baby, as long as he is left in the care of a responsible, loving adult.
- New moms are almost always sleep deprived and this can be psychologically and physically harmful. Do everything you can to get enough rest and sleep.
- Take at least 3 months maternity leave. Take longer if possible.
- Spend time with and make friends with other moms who have babies of a similar age to yours. Take support from them, but if it feels competitive, walk away and find new friends.
- Get as much support as you can from friends and family. Use whatever support is offered to you.
- Share your experience of being a mom with your partner. Share the parenting load with him as much as possible. Encourage him to be involved.
- If you are single, you need extra support from friends and family.
- Consult a parent-infant psychologist if you are struggling emotionally with yourself and/or your baby during this time.
- Be aware of the symptoms of postnatal depression and seek treatment without delay if you suspect you may be depressed.
- Consult a psychologist if you are experiencing high levels of anxiety.
Adapted article by Jenny Perkel, Published (2009) by Living and Loving magazine (SA). Babies in Mind is all about staying sane during the wonderful but challenging first year of your baby's life. Babies in Mind is dedicated to the psychological health of both you and your baby.