New parent advice: 20 things I would do differently as a new parent

New parent advice, parenting tips

Ahhhhh hindsight it a beautifully wicked thing. And no crueler does it get than in parenthood. As a new parent, totally green to it all, you blunder your way through, managing the best you can but somewhere down the line you will literally be tsk-tsking at some of the blunders and decisions you made along the way (hey, at least they created this parenting blog!).

Well, perhaps writing this post signifies closure? And if that’s the case, I’m happy for it. So with that, here are my 20 things I would do differently as a new parent…I hope someone can learn from my mistakes because if they can’t be useful as parenting tips then you know I’ll be crying into my coffee!

1. Not gone back to work at 3 months

Gah! what was I thinking? That I would just breeze through three months and be ready to jump back on the work wagon without any emotional ramifications to myself or my daughter? Idiot.

2. Not killed myself over breastfeeding

Exclusively pumping for three months. Seemed like a good idea at the time in my single minded mission to do the best for my daughter but in reality what did it mean? Pushing myself close to the brink and spending less quality time with my daughter in favour of being attached seemingly endlessly to a pump. Why oh why?

3. Had more faith in my partner, sooner

What is it about new mums that make us so reluctant to hand over the baton to our other halves? Hormones? Some kind of weird programming? Whatever it is, it seems to be almost universal, and in our mission to try to prove that we can do everything ourselves, utterly counter productive.

4. Engaged a sleep expert

We had an absolute nightmare with sleep in the first year. I’m not talking about not sleeping through yet – most babies are not developmentally ready to do that until the best part of a year is over. But I’m talking about waking half hourly or hourly every night, and being awake for hours on end for days on end. Clearly something was not right and really should have got some help in to try and work out a gentle sleep solution. Very stressful all round and I literally want to go back and bop myself over the head!

5. Had gas and air from the get go during labour

My head was so filled with idiots saying don’t bother with gas and air that I didn’t! I struggled through with nothing, out of my mind with pain to even ask for gas and air til things got urgent and at the last, I had some – MAGIC! I’m certain things would have been a lot quicker, less painful and smoother if I had plugged myself in a lot sooner.

6. Got my hormones checked earlier!

After coming off breastfeeding, it seemed my hormones never settled down properly and a year later we have finally discovered the reason for all my crazy – a bona fide hormonal imbalance. Thank Lordy that I’m not being carted off then.

7. Taken a chill pill about sleep and naps

I was like the sleep and nap police! How long, when, oh my god woken up too early! I would be methodically noting and totting up the hours, angsting about whether they clocked up to the recommended. Idiot woman!

8. Got a baby cam sooner

Don’t ask my why but for some reason, we figured that because our baby was first, in our room and then, right next door we didn’t need one. We thought we would do fine with just our ears, but what our ears only hear, our minds imagine and it really is incredible the amazing peace of mind a baby cam gives you. A late convert, I still use one to this day.

9. Been more confident in myself and my abilities, sooner

Hard to do when you are struggling through a minefield of firsts, how-tos, why didn’t anybody tell me thats, Β and WTF moments. But I should have paid more respect to a mother’s intuition. It exists for a reason.

10. Spent more time enjoying those baby months

Where have they gone? Wrapped up in a blur of sleep-starved, befuddled memories. I struggle to remember those precious moments. I wish I had taken the time to be more present

11. Played the waiting game

As a new mum, I jumped to attention every time anything was needed, dancing around to a drum of demands like a lunatic. And so I found out later, it’s much harder to put down that drum once you’ve picked it up….

12. Bought less toys, and been smarter about the toys I did buy

Seriously, most toys…apart from the educational ones which actually engage your child’s minds…are a waste of space. Puzzles yes. Peppa Pig this that and the others, no.

13. Asked for more help

Namely, before I got to the part where I thought I was about to lose the plot. But sometimes when you are so far in it, you can not see the wood for the trees.

14. Played the waiting game

As a new mum I was the most eager beaver out, I jumped up like a Jack-in-a-BoxΒ at the slightest little mew, I stood to attention at every gurgle…and the precedent has been set ever since. Teaching a little patience in the early days would have gone a long way, in retrospect.

15. Worry less

As a new mum, I found myself lurching from one worry to the next – feeding, germs, sleep, illness…was this right, was that right…the worry only makes you a worse parent, not a better one.

16. Done more stuff for me, sooner

As soon as I had the lightbulb moment that I should start reclaiming some of my life back by taking time out to do things for me, and to look after myself, being a parent got a lot more enjoyable. I just wish I had done it a lot sooner, and not felt guilty about it when I did.

17. Not google everything

Although there is no doubt that the internet can be an amazing resource and wealth of knowledge, as a new parent, it is a never ending rabbit hole of anxiety and conflicting advice which is better left covered

18. Not rocked!!!!

When I look back at the hours and hours I used to spend standing in a corner of the room, rocking my baby back to sleep at night I literally want to get my head and bang it on a wall. What were you thinking? One way ticket to non-self-soothing hell, that’s what.

19. Not tip-toed around

Shhhhh! Shhhh! The baby is sleeping, the toddler is sleeping. Well I know now that the little one couldn’t have cared less if an elephant had stampeded through the house while she was sleeping. Silly mummy.

20. Taken my little one for cranial osteopathy

In hindsight, I realise that my daughter having to be sucked out with a plunger at the last hour probably caused a whole world of hell for her poor little body, and she probably could have done with a little help to fix that.

What things would you have done differently as a new parent? Any of the above, or perhaps something different? I’d love to hear about any similarities or differences in a comment or two.

**Being a new mum is tough work. If you need someone to lean on, hit up the #Mommitment group and Facebook page for some non-judgemental support.Β 


  1. I love these, thank you so much for sharing them. With eight weeks to go, I’m going to try my very best to remember them when bub turns up!

  2. I would have trusted my instincts more in the early days. I had a lot of well-meaning family around who wanted to help by taking the baby off me, saying things like, “She can’t possibly be hungry again!”, but I should have just trusted myself and fed her anyway.

    I agree with the not rocking – I rocked and also fed my daughter to sleep and it created lots of sleeping problems. At almost 8 months she’s kind of starting to figure it out for herself at night, but I still need to rock her before naps.

    • Ah yes the well-meaners…that’s a whole other blog post isn’t it! Glad I wasn’t the only one frantically rocking in the corner…if only we knew what we know now eh? x

  3. I too would not put so much pressure on myself to breastfeed again. I only did 8 weeks of exclusively pumped milk but it was Stressful and as you say, prevented me from spending that precious time with baby or sleeping! Lots of great advice here regarding mistakes I’m sure we’ve all made!

  4. Oh the torment that is hindsight! Was nodding along to so many of these, although I still find myself doing one now. Google! Everytime they come down with a cold I google it and start convincing myself it is something more serious. Note to self – step away from the google woman! #coolmuclub

  5. Ah I can relate to SO many of these! I’m so relaxed about sleep and naps but I’m often looked down upon – ESP when people find out my kid is still running around like a lunatic at 9pm. The reactions I get are crazy. #coolmumclub x

  6. I was good with some aspects eg nap times, not being quiet in the house but bad at others. I always felt I had to be doing something when all I wanted was a hot cup of tea & sleep. I made little time for myself and should have enjoyed the first few months more. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. #coolmumclub lifeinthemumslane

  7. Tee hee, it’s so funny the things we think we *ought* to be doing isn’t it? I wa obsessed with nap times, feeding times, making sure I put Little Miss A down instead of holding her all the time (because all the books said to do that and Heaven forbid a newborn get too many cuddles…she might get *GASP* used to it!!) πŸ˜€
    Fortunately I’m a lot more relaxed with #2 – cuddles a-plenty, naps and feeds on demand, and we’re doing pretty ok!

  8. Oh Talya, this made me really sad… I didn’t realise you had gone through so much-from your blog I just assume you are the kind of person who laughs in the face of problems, and sails through life with confidence and gusto! I should’ve known better than to make that assumption!!!! I also had quite a lot of the same issues. Luckily not the sleep one-both of mine were pretty good night sleepers, but they didn’t get the daytime option for months!! I really wish I’d made the most of the early months too… I feel so remorseful about this now. And I pumped for weeks when I should’ve given up too! And I can’t believe you were talked into labour with no pain relief! I couldn’t wait to get on the gas and air, in fact, my mission in life is to have it installed in my house in every room!!! Fab post!

  9. Oh my goodness, yes! My daughter was suckered out too, followed by 2 sets of strong antibiotics (via my milk) to treat the infection I got in the process. A cranial osteopath would have been SOO good in the early days.

    I completely agree about pumping, too. I was utterly obsessed with not giving my firstborn anything but breast milk for the first 6 months. It nearly killed me!

    As for naps, Gina Ford was the god of all new mummies 13 years ago (I’m not sure if her power has waned since?). We lasted about 3 days on her regime. I think I was seen as weak-willed by my NCT group but in hindsight I’m so glad I didn’t subject either of us to it any longer. (It was the requirement to wake my 5-week-old at 7am precisely that did it. WAKE my sleeping baby? REALLY?!)

  10. Oh this made me tearful as I too have the same thoughts looking back and I just wish I could get those months back again and just chill about EVERYTHING. That would be my advice to any new mum – just stop stressing – enjoy it – easier said than done but I wish i could do it all over again with my babies. Lovely post though #coolmumclub xx

  11. This is a great list and I would agree with a lot of them. Asking for help was a big one for me – I was just as bad at not doing it second time around and why, oh why, is it so difficult to trust your other half’s judgement when it comes to the baby? I’ve never tried a baby cam – in fact, I barely used a baby monitor second time round. Would definitely agree with not tiptoeing around – it’s meant that the children happily sleep through concert rehearsals held at our house in the evenings in the run-up to Christmas. I did take both my girls for cranial osteopathy and I think it did help – especially with Sophie who barely slept and cried a lot in those early newborn weeks. Hindsight is a wonderful thing – what a shame we don’t have the benefit of it sooner though!

  12. Never, ever tip toe around. Baby has to get used to domestic noise from day one or you’re storing up problems for the future! As for gas and air, well, the one puff I had reminded me of…something else. Moving swiftly on, Talya, Talya, Talya, you must have faith in your OH from Day One. Thankfully this wasn’t an issue in our relationship. Us guys may not be able to breastfeed, but that is our only limitation and it’s a message I’ve been banging on about since I started blogging. It sounds, however, like things will be different should you expand your family further. Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub

  13. aww so many things similar to what i would have done differently there to there.
    I definitely learnt a lot from when i had my first and put it to use when i had my second. Though saying that i i have another i would probably of learnt even more.
    The breast feeding i especially agree with.. i was so sure i would breast feed with my first but after so i long and complicated labour i just couldnt do it. I kept trying and trying and for weeks i was ending up in tears as it just wasnt happening eventually ended up bottle feeding and felt so much better. So when it came to having my second i knew from the set go breast feeding was a no go.. so saved myself so stress xx

    great post hun #coolmumclub

  14. This is an amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing – as a new Mummy these things will really help me! I’ve quickly learnt I must ask for help if I need it, not always the easiest of things to do. Thank you so much for writing this xx #coolmumclub

  15. Great post! You’re being hard on yourself I’m sure, but yes to at least half of those here too. I bet if we asked every mum blogger out there for their list – we could write 100 books…but no new parent would read them!
    Your 1st will have benefited from the undivided attention. You need some sleep, a facial and ‘day off’! xx #coolmumclub

  16. I think that “worry less” and “Google less” absolutely go hand in hand. I had (and read) every baby book going with my first. With my second, I didn’t read a thing. You are so right – there is a reason that we mums have instinct.

    Brilliant advice.

    Dawn x

  17. Such a good list – I could’ve written many of them myself! I especially agree with nr 4 , 13, 15 & 17 (damn google!) Will be interesting to see if things will be different with a (possible) second child πŸ™‚ #coolmumclub xx

  18. This is spot on!
    I’ve had three and I am still ticking off every one of these with my 3rd – it’s not just 1st timers with these same ‘regrets’
    I eventually did take my oldest to a cranial osteopath when he was about 5yrs old, because as the same as you I was worried that the ventouse could have had some lasting effects. In the end she said his head was actually fine but it put my mind at rest!


  19. I would have asked for help with the sleep thing. LOL! My oldest was not a good sleeper and he fed from me ever hour so I was very exhausted the first two months. Popping over from #coolmumclub

  20. I think soooo many first time moms can completely relate to this post, especially about being more confident in your own abilities! I think most mothers have a tendency to doubt themselves and wonder if they’re doing the right thing or not. We all need to trust our own instincts and believe in our mothering skills. πŸ™‚

  21. Oh my goodness I can relate to almost of all of these from exclusive pumping or being awake every half an hour and the rocking!! Oh how tough it was – the plus side the beauty of hindsight stood me well for baby 2 – by some miracle I even managed to worry less and be more chilled…most of the time… Fab post! #coolmumclub

  22. Wow! those were the happy moments, isn’t it? When I got my first child, I worry a lot… even when he was crying for hunger, I used to think it was something serious and that stressed me out a lot. I was just being silly and idiot! Have learned a lot though with my second one. Great list! #coolmumclub

  23. Great list, I can relate to so many of these things!! The biggest one for me was the pressure to breastfeed, I swear that it triggered my PND with my middle three children as I felt like such a failure when it didn’t happen for us. With my youngest I said from the get go that I was formula feeding and he is the only one I didn’t get PND with, I just let go of all of that pressure and went with the flow and he is actually the most chilled out of all my kids! Thanks for hosting! xx

  24. You need no.21 – don’t be so hard on yourself when thinking with hindsight! We’ve all done at least some of those things, most of us all of them, it’s natural. I think your best one is to learn to go with your gut instinct. We always know best! (looks knowingly at husband) Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub

  25. Being a new mum can be extremely difficult. We really do put far too much pressure on ourselves. I have a three year old and a 10 month old and I am still reluctant to hand over the responsibilities to my partner. He is perfectly adequate but there is always a part of me that says what if? He doesn’t know first aid as good as me or he doesn’t understand the cries as well as I do. Well done for writing such an honest post it’s fab #coolmumclub

  26. I love all this advice and I wonder if I wrote this to my old self would I have listened, I would wish I could have, but I was honestly so wound up with Aspen was born I don’t know if I would have heard any advice given even from the future and far more sensible me lol.

    I too nearly killed myself over the breast milk thing, I worked so hard at it. I would love to tell the old me to be more relaxed, if you don’t make enough milk don’t worry, top ups with bottle won’t lead to her being unhealthy or unintelligent!

    Trust n hubby, let someone else mind her, don’t wait 9 years before you have night away with your husband (yes I did that)! What was I thinking?

    Great tips I hope new mothers listen. #coolmumclub

  27. I love this, such a great list and I wholeheartedly agree with many of them, having fallen into many of the same traps as a first time parent! But if it helps you feel any better, our little one was pulled out with a ventouse cap and had cranial oesteopathy which in all honest I think made no difference πŸ™‚ Emily #coolmumclub

  28. Wow Mrs! I can’t believe you went back to work after 3 months! I couldn’t string a sentence together then, nevermind think!

    Great list and I agree with the camera completely, and google is just one big spiral! #coolmumclub

  29. Wow this is super helpful. For one, I can relate to almost every single point on this list and two, did the cranial osteopathy work and what do they do? I’m considering doing this for my little one but don’t know anyone that has done it so was a bit worried. I think I need to bookmark this post and remind myself to make these moments count as he is only a newborn once and to stop googling everything! #coolmumclub

  30. Great post – I can relate to almost all of these – especially being the sleep police. I’m not sure if it was my anxiety getting on top of me or my worry about his naps fueling my anxiety… which every way it was a pretty sad and exhausting time. So glad I’ve let go of that now. Thanks for sharing. #coolmumclub xx

  31. Google was my best friend post babies too – and it was the same after all 3 of them! New issues came up for each child. I think making time for yourself & getting yourself checked out if there are any concerns are super important. As a new mum we tend to put ourselves last which is crazy. And yes – bring on the gas & air. I learned that by the time I had my third lol #coolmumclub x

  32. Great post, I wish I knew this before me 1st. We’ve just had no 3 after a 7 year age gap and it’s great. Like being a 1st time mummy but knowing all of this. I like no 21, took her to a cranial osteopath last night and already a happier little girl. #coolmumclub

  33. I nodded along to so much of this, especially points 2 & 9! And your counting the nap hours is my counting the ounces he’s drunk! I’m just starting to let go a little bit on that at 8 months in…I’m not sure what’s changed, but perhaps it is that confidence kicking in… Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub πŸ™‚

  34. I found myself agreeing with you on all of these. The thing I agree on most is getting a sleep expert in, rather than keep suffering hoping it would all come together at some point! #coolmumclub x

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