Claire Saliu Makeup Artistry

Makeup Artist, Beauty and Lifestyle blogger and busy Mama.

Advice for First-time Mums

Before my son came along, I read all the books, bought all the things and packed all the bags. I washed and folded all his brand new clothes in his little drawers and made his little bed in the moses basket beside our bed, I bought him his very first teddy before he even arrived! I thought I had it all figured out and thought that I was pretty much prepared for it all.

Looking back, the books were more for peace of mind than anything, and they didn't actually teach me a whole lot that I wouldn't have learned on the job.  So I thought I would share some of the lessons I learnt with any of you that are expecting baby #1. These are the things the books won't tell you!

1) It hurts. Like nothing you have ever felt before surprisingly enough. Some say you forget all about it when you see your baby for the first time but that is not 100% true. You forget how it felt but you won't forget that it did hurt. But you will realise that it was worth it. You may even consider going through the process a second or third time. Not straight away obviously! :)

2) Until their umbilical cord stump falls off you have to be super careful about cleaning the area and keeping it dry, and you will also have to fold down the top of their little nappies so that it doesn't rub off their tummy. Have plenty of cotton wool in stock and a bottle of surgical spirit to help keep it clean. Clean it every time you change their nappy.

3) Related to point number two above and the volume of nappies that a newborn fills on a daily basis, now is not the time to be squeamish. In the first years of your child's life, you will find yourself cleaning up things that you thought you would never clean up for another human being. And you will actually end up not batting an eyelid about it because it is your own child's.

4) Everything is a process of elimination. I found myself going through several steps every time Little Man cried to see if I could determine what was wrong with him. If he was crying, the test went as follows: check the bum, figure out if he was fed recently and if not offer a feed. If he wouldn't feed then I'd try to wind him. And repeat the cycle as many times as necessary. Which leads me onto my next point.

5) Some babies are extra hungry and mine was one that could definitely put it away. I jokingly used to refer to his crying before a feed as his "Snickers" moments as he would literally be inconsolable until he got his bottle. There's nothing wrong with having an appetite of course - however hungry baby = guzzling baby = windy baby. The faster they drink, the more air they swallow and the more wind that they can potentially end up with. Windy baby meant lots of tummy pains for him and lots of back tapping and over the shoulder holding for me. And lots of milk dribbling down my back as a result. If you are bottle feeding, then you might need to try a few different brands of bottle teats to find the one that suits him or her best and produces the least amount of wind and hiccups. P.S. Hiccups don't hurt babies in case you are wondering..I know I worried about it for ages.

6) You will have days when you wonder what on earth you are doing and if you are doing any of it right. You will have days when the responsibility and challenges of it all get to you and it's ok to have a sneaky cry in the shower when you have reached a state of pure exhaustion. If you feel like you are suffering then speak to your partner, friend or family member and talk to your doctor if necessary. It is definitely ok to have rough days when your whole world has pretty much turned upside down and it takes time to adjust to this whole new life. As the saying goes, it's ok not to be okay.

7) Ask for help. Ask someone to do your shopping, to do your washing and ironing - anything that will make your life easier in those early days. Do your grocery shopping online and have it delivered for a while until you are ready to get out and about.  As long as your house isn't a pig sty and is basically clean then housework can wait. Your local takeaway delivery man will become your best friend.

8) If you are bottle feeding, consider getting the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine. It will literally have your baby's bottle ready in two minutes which is a lifesaver at 4am when the little angel is screaming the house down. It filters and heats the water to the exact temperature so no more waiting for the kettle to cool or splashing milk on the inside of your wrist. Genius! It was a total lifesaver for us.

9) You will become that Mum who licks a tissue and then cleans their child's face with it.

10) They do eventually sleep through the night. It may not seem like it now and you may feel like tearing your hair out. But in a few months' time you will be waking up in the middle of the night and going to check on them to see if they're ok because they haven't woken up.

11) Related to the above - Mum's don't ever sleep through the night themselves again. The slightest cough, sniffle or roll around in the bed is enough to rouse someone who before would have been the deepest sleeper. Fast forward another 18 years and you will be lying awake in bed waiting for them to come home from a night out in one piece and probably getting out of bed to go and give them a lift home from said night out!

12) No one has it all figured out. We are all losing our sh**. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.

13)You will never know any love like you have for your own child. It is the strangest feeling ever when you suddenly have this tiny person who depends on you for everything and you would do anything to keep them safe. Watching them grow and develop into their own little person is amazing. As the cliche goes it is the hardest job in the world but worth every minute. Now if I could just skip the terrible twos and the potty training that would be amazing....

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