I have always loved children and even as a professional with a career, was happy to quit my job when my son, Caleb, was born some 15 months ago. I cannot describe the overwhelming love I felt for him. I also cannot describe the overwhelming fatigue and frustration I've experienced since.
Nothing quite prepares you for life as a first-time mother. I received a lot of good advice from family and friends, but as a computer-age 20-something, I found the internet useful in ways they couldn't be.
“Sleep when baby is sleeping,” was the best advice I got from my mum.
“The washing, cleaning and cooking can wait.” But not all infants fit this simple formula. BabyCenter (www.babycenter.com), for example, suggests, “When it comes to sleep, one size doesn't fit all, because every baby is different.”
By following the links from the BabyCenter home page to Baby Sleep, you can find information on sleeping basics, problems/solutions and how to establish a bedtime routine. Kidspot (www.kidspot.com.au) is another website that offers valuable information on infant, toddler and adolescent sleep. Breast feeding for a new mum can be a beautiful—but sometimes painful— bonding experience! Most women I have spoken to have experienced difficulties with breastfeeding. Home from hospital and without midwife support, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by issues relating to nursing.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (www.breastfeeding.asn.au) provides information and support to new mothers. This site not only provides current, relevant information but also facilitates discussion between mothers in forums. It also has a free helpline (1800mum2mum) for when you need personal contact.
For new mums (and dads), being bombarded with advice, opinions and expectations of others on how to raise your children can be overwhelming, as well as annoying.
I've read a variety of excellent parenting books, some of which I obtained from the Adventist Book Centre (www.adventistbookcenter.com). Their books offered invaluable information on how to help my son develop socially, emotionally and, most importantly, spiritually.
In my opinion, the best source of information and most helpful website is Kidspot (www.kidspot.com.au ). This Australian website is comprehensive, covering all aspects of parenting, a truly “one-stop shop.” It covers aspects of parenting from becoming pregnant to school-age children, and includes a wealth of information on child development and care, age-specific activities, sleep, food/nutrition— anything you can think of. They even email you daily parenting tips that are age specific or you can browse areas of interest or concern to you.
My favourite feature is the Kidspot social link. Click on “Kidspot Social” and you're sent to a page that describes itself as “Where mums meet.” You can join a forum and chat with a group of mums with kids of similar age; mums who are breastfeeding; working mums; or Christian mums. It has helped me.
So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed by the tasks at hand and sleep deprivation, it may be more helpful than a nap to spend 15 minutes looking at some of the sites listed below. And there's a bonus: you get to pick the advice you feel is helpful without feeling pressure from your relatives.