There’s no one like another mum to provide support and guidance when you need it. We asked 44 mums for their top parenting tip. Here are the responses in their own words (and in no particular order):
1. Olive oil is great for banishing cradle cap. And it’s cheap too!
2. Try and make some meals up pre-baby to put in the freezer. Or if you’re not that organised, then ask everyone who visits to bring a dinner with them.
3. If you are bottle feeding buy a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine. It’s worth its weight in gold and will save you lots of time and hassle!
4. If breast feeding wear a bracelet on one wrist then swap after a feed to the other side so you know which side you need to feed from next.
5. A few drops of tea tree oil in the bath helps you heal after the birth
6. Baby towels are too thin; using an ordinary towel is much better and means you don’t have to waste money on more stuff you won’t actually use!
7. Sudocream can be used for more than just nappy rash – it works wonders on eczema, rashes, spots etc
8. If a baby is drawing his legs up to his tummy it is often an indication that he has wind.
9. Make a proper photocopy of your scan pictures as over time they will fade
10. Get some fresh air- is easy to get stuck in a rut at home. Going out for a walk helps baby sleep and you clear your mind
11. Buy sleep suits with built in scratch mitts, much easier than trying to keep the mitts on.
12. When you’re about to feed your baby get the remote control, a drink, a little snack and your phone or tablet close to hand because it can take longer than you think!
13. Dream feeds (feeding your baby in his or her sleep at around 10 – 11pm or just before you go to bed) work wonders.
14. Once your child has a favourite comfort toy make sure you buy a couple of spares in case of loss, sick, dribble etc.
15. Always leave a small changing bag in the car and another on the pram in case you go out and forget something
16. Read Baby Bliss by Dr. Harvey Karp. It will really help you understand your newborn and how to comfort and help with colic. It was a lifesaver in my house!
17. Make use of toy libraries, charity shops car-boot sales, nearly new sales etc. Your baby doesn’t know the difference between new and nearly new.
18. Always have a plastic bag with you – this is handy to wrap up dirty clothes
19. Keep plenty of muslin cloths and bibs to hand to mop up dribbles, sick etc
20. Have a changing unit – mat, nappies, cream etc ready to use upstairs and downstairs to avoid constantly running up and down.
21. Baby proof your house before little one can actually move around, they start to move when you least expect it!
22. Try and give your baby as much time as possible every day on their tummy. It does wonders for their development.
23. Baby sleeping bags (e.g. Grobags) are a must. This prevents covers from being kicked off during the night. Consequently, baby won’t get cold and you won’t worry!
24. When nappies are on special offer at the supermarket stock up in all sizes. Nappies don’t go off and your baby will fit the bigger sizes eventually. You can save a fortune with buy one get one free deals!
25. Never be afraid to ask for help and advice from health visitors, doctors and other professionals
26. If breast feeding, stock up on nipple cream before your baby arrives. Breastfeeding can be painful and the cream really helps. The last thing you’ll want to do is traipse round a late night chemist with sore boobs!
27. Let your baby have a bit of nappy free time every day if possible. You can lay them on a changing mat. This helps their skin breath and helps with nappy rash.
28. If the baby is screaming, put the hoover on. Babies love white noise and you don’t actually have to hoover anything…
29. Listen to all advice given by well-meaning friends and family members and then disregard 90% of it. You know best.
30. Breastfeeding may be best but at the end of the day if it doesn’t work out – don’t beat yourself up about it. Do whatever works for you and your baby. Happy mum equals happy baby. Fed is best.
31. When introducing older children to a new baby for the first time, make sure the baby is lying in the cot/Moses basket and you are not holding him or her. This gives you both hands free to give your older child a big kiss and cuddle and a present from the new baby.
32. Also, if you have older children, have some little presents ready to give them when visitors arrive armed with gifts for the new baby. That way they won’t feel left out and resentful.
33. Don’t wait till baby is old enough to understand books to read to them. Read from day one – babies love hearing the sound of your voice and this will establish a lifelong love of reading.
34. Always, always have plenty of baby wipes stocked up. You can seriously never have too many of the things!
35. When you first try to leave the house with your new baby it can take ages! Don’t despair, you’ll get much quicker with practise.
36. Make time for yourself. A soak in the bath can do wonders. And make time for your partner. Try and find someone to babysit once a month so that you can have a ‘date night’.
37. When potty training don’t bother with pull ups. Kids just think they are nappies.
38. Create an email account for your child and then email pictures and memories of things they said/did. When they reach 18 you can give them the email address and password.
39. Try and find other mums with similar age children for friendship, advice, playdates and (when needed) a shoulder to cry on.
40. If people offer help – TAKE IT! Especially accept offers from friends and family to look after the baby for a few hours while you nap and/or take a bath.
41. You think you will remember everything – date of first smile, first word etc but you won’t in the years to come. Make sure you write it all down (keep a notebook handy at all times)
42. Trust your instincts! You are mum and you know best!
43. Try and enjoy the experience and don’t worry about being supermum. You can use up so much energy trying to look like the world’s most perfect mum in front of others. What really matters is that you enjoy your children while they are small and smother them with love.
44. ‘The days are long and the years are short’. Never a truer phrase has been uttered!
What are your tips?