Advice from experienced mums about the First 1000 Days of parenting

The newborn period of motherhood can be both beautiful and tough, so we asked experienced mums what advice they would share with new parents.

Sleeping and breastfeeding. Two of the most natural things in the world are often presumed as instinctual, and therefore simple. While some mothers would say that the first few months with a new baby are the most magical, others would argue that they fraught with exhaustion, worry about doing it ‘right’ and sore nipples. 

We asked you what you thought was important to remember as you navigate the beautiful waters of early motherhood, in that first thousand days, and here are a few tips you shared.

Every baby is different

Often babies in the same family can be as different as day and night. Sometimes even the same child can be different from day to day. Try to release expectations and go with the flow.

“Child number one slept through the night from about 10 weeks. We high fived each other, celebrating what awesome parents we obviously were. Then came child number two. He would scream from 6 pm through until 4 am for the first three or so months. Any illusions that we knew what we were doing quickly evaporated!” one mum told us.

Ask for help if you need it

Asking for help is something many mothers find difficult, however, there are no prizes for struggling through on your own. Asking friends or family for a little respite, help around the house, or seeking professional help can make the world of difference. 

“My first was a terrible sleeper until I hired a sleep consultant at two and a half years old. I'm now a sleep consultant myself and my second sleeps through from seven at night to 6.30 am and has done since he was four weeks old,” another mum said. 

Trust your instincts with regards to breast or bottle

The breast versus bottle-feeding debate has raged for decades, and although there are many benefits to breastfeeding, the best way to feed your baby is a very personal choice. As long as bub is getting all the nutrients they need, it’s entirely up to you. 

“Do what works for you and your bubba. Don't try to live up to the expectation of others... you alone will know what's right and if that's formula feeding, then so be it. I breastfed four babies with the last bubba having complimentary feeds of an evening (she was premature and fed through a tube for the first two months.) This is was she was customised to and what she thrived on. TRUST. YOUR. GUT! No child has a throwaway line that they were breast or formula fed in their graduation or wedding speech. Seriously - your bubba won't care,” said one wise mum. 
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Speak to an expert

Whether you’re having difficulties with feeding, sleeping or you’re just not feeling yourself, there are professionals who are ready to jump in and help you and your baby. Having a baby might be fairly straightforward, but parenting can be anything but.

“Best advice given to me was to see an accredited lactation consultant early in the piece. Breastfeeding might be 'natural' but doesn’t always come naturally to all mothers and babies. Don't struggle alone - reach out to an expert. This is a free service through NSW health. I breezed through breastfeeding with number one. I struggled big time with number two. I felt I should know what I was doing second time around! Wish I'd sought help sooner and will if required third time around come February. Every baby is different,” told a mum of almost three.

It does get better

They say you never know tiredness until you become a mum, but as never-ending as it can seem, it does not last forever.

“My firstborn turned me into ‘mombie,’ and I ended up pregnant with my second when he was seven months old, which I didn’t find out about until he was 10 months because I was such a ‘mombie.’ Three years later things have gotten better, but every so often my mombie reappears,” recalls one mum who is coming out the other side of exhaustion.

Just relax and enjoy it

There is an expression that “the days are long but the years are short.” Before you know it the kids will be at school, then high school, then gone out into the world. The time will pass whether you’re stressed out or relaxed, however, you’ll enjoy the journey more if you’re chilled.

“My three girls were not great sleepers but ok-ish. Though it took until the third child for me to relax and just go with what she wanted. That is now my advice to new parents, just relax and enjoy as much as you can,” tells a mum of three.
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