I’ve had a few friends become new Mummy’s the last couple of weeks and it got me to thinking about how I found it having my first baby. I was pretty adamant that I didn’t need a book to tell me what to do or expect, because in my eyes, every baby is completely different; I chose to learn ‘on the job’. Brave or stupid? I’m still not sure!
One thing I wish I had been told about was how to cope with my new body shape, boobs that sprayed milk, hair that completely changed and how to deal with these issues when you have no time for yourself anymore.
So, here are my top tips to help you through those first, tiring few months (or years!)
Face – you are gonna be tired and at times this is going to show. Make sure you have a good concealer, foundation or BB cream that is quick and easy to apply to the areas you need. The bags under your eyes are gonna be an obvious problem, but often the cheeks can look a little pasty and the forehead can become a little shiny. If you breastfeed you may be lucky, like I was, and find that your skin actually glows (plus all my spots completely cleared up! Bonus!) Once I gave up feeding him my skin began to suffer, so the makeup bag made a reluctant comeback. To brighten up your face use your foundation on the areas needed (or concealer etc), brush your eyebrows – and if you can, don’t forget to pluck! Add a lick of mascara to your lashes, apply a teeny bit of blush and just use simple Vaseline on your lips. Don’t bother with anything heavy, you won’t have the time. If you nap it will end up all over your sofa or pillows and your baby will probably wipe their little hands all over you anyway!
Eyes – Some days you are gonna have the biggest bags you have ever seen. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water to help with dehydration and buy a good refreshing eye gel to reduce puffiness and revive the area. Sleep is your biggest answer, yes, it gets really annoying being told to ‘sleep when they sleep’ but I wish I had done it more.
Breasts – First off, whether you choose to breastfeed or not, everyone will have leaking boobage after giving birth. Breast pads are the answer but when you have never bought these before and you are stood in a shop that is offering you disposable, washable, different prices, different sized boxes and you are sleep deprived you can be forgiven for feeling a little confused. I remember standing in Boots talking to myself about the options and reading the information out loud as if saying it to myself would solve my problem! I came to the conclusion that I could not be washing any more items so I opted for disposable pads. However, that wasn’t the end of my issue as I found some brands were not very absorbent and I had some leakage. So it can be a case of trial and error, depending on how much milk flow you have. All I can tell you is that my favourite was Sainsbury’s own at £1.50 for 40 pads.
Breasts again – This is for those of you who are breastfeeding, clothing can become such an issue. You want to look good, be comfortable and obviously have good boobie access. The tops can be quite pricey so my biggest tip is to borrow as much as you can from friends and family who are the same size (also do this with maternity wear). Be wary of buying cheap items on sites such as ebay the quality is poor and I found some items lost their shape too easily. I personally found the best shop for nursing tops was Mothercare. Do not end up ruining lots of your current tops in your wardrobe through pulling and stretching them to try and gain boobie access, you don’t want to have to buy all new clothes. The breastfeeding vest tops turned out to be one of the most pricey items. I didn’t buy any of these, instead, I chose to wear boob tubes in the summer months.
‘Builders bum’ or ‘The Mum bum’ – yes this will happen! You may be back into your normal jeans but you will still be carrying some that baby weight and it seems to stick to the belly and hips (it may never shift so you need to learn to love it!) The problem occurs because you end up spending lots of time on the floor with your bubba and the jeans slip down on the extra puppy fat, revealing your beautiful bottom. Invest in belts that is all I can say, this is your best option until the weight begins to hopefully disappear.
Rough knees – This is something you will probably never think of, but as I said before, you spend much more time on the floor and us Mum’s seem to always do it kneeling. We change bums, play, pick up toys, encourage tummy time and dry our babies after baths, usually, all on the floor. Try and be aware of how much time you spend on your knees. Buy a good body cream and rub in as much as possible – my best tip would be to buy a foot cream as these are designed to soften rough skin.
Tracksuit Bottoms – The answer to this is just no! Just because you are now a Mum does not mean it is ok to start leaving the house in tired, baggy trackie bottoms and trainers – yes even if you are going to the gym, get down Primark and buy some nice workout gear (just coz it’s cheap). You are still you, so dress like you!
Use your oils and creams – Even after birth, especially if you had a C-section, keep using your bio-oil, buttercream, E45, body butter etc. Your body will continue to change shape and the skin will start to tighten. Keep those stretch marks at bay and help to reduce your scar.
Bodyspray – Use your fave spray every day, you will help cover up the lovely smell of milk and if you haven’t had time for a shower!!
Hair – Your luscious locks become thick and glossy during pregnancy (for most people- mine kicked in during breastfeeding) but once all that is over it begins to fall out. I have always had fine, flyaway hair, but my hair became amazingly thick, shiny and much more manageable when I was nursing. Fast forward nine months when I stopped breastfeeding and I gradually began to watch my lovely hair fall out, often in quite big clumps. It changed in texture and the worst part of it all was the start of grey hairs! Not only was I now a stay at home Mum, I also had to start forking out to have my hair regularly highlighted – although it is a nice break and they bring you a hot, yes a hot, cup of tea!
Invest in a good shampoo, Bedhead Elasticate, has restored the strength in my hair and I have continued to use it. Speak to your hairdresser for advice on care and treatment.
Your lifesaver for bad hair days will be dry shampoo. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically shampoo in a can. If you don’t have time for a shower or the front of your hair looks a little greasy after a sleepless night, just spray this onto the roots, give it a rub and Voila refreshed hair!
The decision to cut all your hair off hits all of us at some point – usually around 3 months old when your baby decides it’s a great thing to grab and wrap its fingers around and just become so entwined that you don’t know whether to scream, cut the hair or yell for help!
The trouble with suddenly going short is:
a) You can’t put it up when it’s a mess
b) It will require more styling
c) It will need more trips to the hairdresser as it begins to ‘grow out’ of style
d) If it’s above the shoulders and you decide to go long again, you get that annoying period of when it just hits the shoulders and flicks!
My lifesaver item for messy hair is the basic clasp, just grab, twist and clasp it into place. Honestly, they grow out of the hair grabbing stage so don’t go too drastic at the time!
Good luck ladies and here’s to more yummy Mummies!!