This week, Sock Ons talked to three generations of women about what they learnt as new mums, and the tips they wished they had known in the initial weeks after their first child was born.
What kind of help did you find useful in those first few weeks?
Julie - I asked for specific help, such as asking my mother to pop over so that I could take a shower or if she would help with the laundry and cooking.
Sarah - Friends were really helpful. I could do a click and collect food shop online, and then they could pick it up for me.
Jane - If you feel you need professional advice such as breastfeeding support or you're feeling overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask for help. I spoke to my health visitor and midwife as my baby wasn't latching on properly at the start.
How was your post-birth recovery?
Julie - Nobody tells you about the discomfort you'll experience after birth; those first five days were difficult. I even had to ask for help to be lifted from the sofa and bed.
Jane - I felt very bruised, so I really needed to take it easy. I found that putting maternity pads into freezer bags and freezing them until they were cold gave such relief.
Sarah - I hadn't realised that I would bleed for quite a few weeks after birth, but I'm sure it's different for every mother. Be prepared by buying maternity pads before baby arrives; if you've had stitches as I did, I would say that the non-woven pads are the best.
What advice would you give to new mums about your postpartum body?
Julie - Take it slowly, remind yourself your body is still recovering and you'll start feeling like you again once the discomfort has eased. The more care we give ourselves, the better we can care for our baby.
Jane - Be kind to yourself, your postpartum body is nothing to be ashamed of, just think about what your body has experienced, it's going to take time to get back to what you feel is your usual weight, and that's ok.
Sarah - The healing process is different for everyone, try not to compare yourself with people on social media; our timelines are all different.
How did you take care of yourself nutritionally?
Sarah - I can't recommend batch cooking enough or buying nutritious frozen meals. Having something healthy in the freezer to reach for on the days you are completely drained is so much better than existing on toast and biscuits.
Julie - When your baby is asleep, make yourself something to eat for later, even if it's making a sandwich when you make your breakfast or chopping up fruit to have throughout the day.
Jane - Anything you can eat easily with one hand is good! When you make a hot drink for yourself, make two so you can fill up a thermos and have a hot drink on hand.
Did scheduling work for you as a new mum?
Jane - Going with the flow is probably the best advice I could give. A loose schedule worked for me. I noted down the times my baby fed and slept, but this changed as my baby developed.
Julie - Let your baby guide you to what they need; they will develop their own routine. Your baby's internal clock will tell you when they need to be fed or sleep. Take the pressure off yourself and don't focus on what the books say about strict scheduling.
Did you find babywearing worked for you?
Sarah - Babywearing is great, it leaves your hands free, and you have a closer connection with your baby. It also makes feeding on the go much more straightforward. But also don't be worried about letting your partner and family hold your baby from the start, let them make their connection so that you can take a break.
What advice do you have for mums who want to incorporate more self-care into their lives?
Sarah - Self-care is something you need to commit to for maintaining your wellbeing. By making sure you have a healthy mental state, you'll be more ready to tackle those sleepless nights. Self-care means different things to everybody, but for me, it began with asking a family member to help so I could take some time for myself to take a gentle walk or just have an hour to take a nap.
Jane - Well-meant advice and comments of comparison that make you question how you are taking care of your baby can really affect your wellbeing. Go with your intuition. You know what your baby needs more than anyone else does
Any final tips for new mums?
Julie - Make a list of the gifts you receive and who they're from; this makes sending thank you messages so much easier.
Jane - When bathing your baby, put your bottle of lotion in the same temperature water, so that it's warm when you apply it.
Sarah - Once you get home from a day out with your baby, replace what you have used up in your changing bag, so you have everything you need for the next time you leave the house.
You're doing a wonderful job!