Books by Bloggers: Survival Guide for New Parents by Charlie Wilson

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Inspired by the many bloggers that have gone on to write books I have decided to run a fortnightly feature called books by bloggers.

My first blogger is Charlie Wilson. Charlie is a writer, a businesswoman, a wife and, above all, a Charlie Wilsonmum. Her family call her Macaroni Mum, because mac ’n’ cheese is about as far as her culinary skills stretch and is what her son, George, most loves to eat. As a mum and a parenting writer, Charlie believes very much in trusting and following instincts; in remembering that all that really matters in parenting is love and acceptance; and in holding firm to the basic truth that happy parent = happy child.

Survival Guide for New Parents is a reassuring and empowering book that provides practical advice to help you through pregnancy, childbirth and your baby’s first year, plus heaps of tips from the real experts – other parents! Unlike other parenting books, this one is unique due to its focus on the parent. After all, a happy mum/dad means a happy baby.

A 10% royalty from the book is donated to children’s charity RMHC, which provides accommodation for parents of seriously ill children near hospitals through the UK, keeping families together at difficult times.

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Charlie has put together a list of ten sanity-saving tips for your first week as a new parent:

They’re the best days of your life. They’re also among the hardest, thanks to exhaustion, adjustment and a whole host of emotions and thoughts you have to handle. If there was ever a time to find yourself standing blearily in the kitchen at three a.m. in mismatching pyjamas, babygro in one hand, stuffed bear in the other, wondering what on earth you came in for, and who on earth you’ve become, and why you appear to have lost the ability to string a sentence together… this is it. Don’t worry, though – it gets easier, much easier. And in the meantime, here are some tips for getting through that first week:

1. Set your expectations really, really low. Better yet, have no expectations – just go with it.

2. Don’t convince yourself your baby should be doing anything. All your baby should be doing is being a baby. And yes, that might mean staying up all night and refusing to feed or feeding voraciously 24/7. And yes, that’s hard on you, but your baby’s just being a perfectly normal baby.

3. Let go of everything (EVERYTHING) that doesn’t matter. As long as everyone in the household is safe and warm and fed and cared-for, nothing else matters. Not the ironing. Not the army of visitors banging on the door. Not getting dressed, even.

4. Focus on the positives, not the negatives. Think, ‘My baby slept for three hours solid last night. Hooray! That’s his best run yet,’ rather than, ‘My baby only slept for three hours solid last night. He’ll never sleep through.’

5. Look after Mum. Baby is the focus now, but Mum’s still feeling ropey. Make room in babydom for Mum to recuperate.

6. Be flexible. So you decided before the birth your baby wouldn’t have a dummy. But now she’s here, she’s stupendously sucky and wants to suck on a teat or nipple all day and all night. Is it worth revisiting the dummy idea?

7. Sleep when you can. It’s the advice on the early days that you see everywhere, and it’s the advice that most parents (myself included) cheerfully ignore at first – until they realise that sleep matters much more than washing dishes or watching Cash in the Attic.

8. Be a hermit. Your baby is really, really tiny and you’re really, really tired. There’s time enough ahead for outings; for now, hole up and rest.

9. Minimise visitors. Give yourself a chance to adjust before you open the doors to grannies and grandpas and aunties and uncles and godmothers and godfathers and that nice old lady who lives a few doors up and has knitted the baby a hat. And when you do have visitors, don’t feel you need to let them hold your baby for long (or at all, in fact) if you find yourself jittery about parting with your baby. That’s totally normal, and visitors will understand (if they don’t, that’s a good time to decide you and your baby need a nap so they’d better leave).

10. Talk, talk, talk. Whatever you’re feeling, other parents have felt it too. If you’re struggling with feelings, share them. And if you need baby advice, don’t be shy: pick up the phone to the midwife or health visitor.

Great tips thanks Charlie!

To find out more about the book and Charlie and to read an extract, visit Marcaroni Mum.

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If you would like to be featured on Books by Bloggers then email me at carol@parentpanel.co.uk

 

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