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The difference between expectations and reality when giving birth can be a scary thought for new mothers. There are many pre-conceived ideas that women have about motherhood before having their own children.

Here I share my personal insights and truths to the ideas and myths such as ‘motherhood comes easily and instinctively’.

Other mothers are coping better than me
All mothers experience difficult times. Whether it’s struggling with breastfeeding or baby not sleeping well during the night, these are all normal experiences and nine times out of ten, you are not the only mother in this boat. My advice is to tap into your support networks – friends, family and professionals and don’t be afraid to put your hand up for help. Every mother copes with the challenges differently and so it can be useful to take tips from others, including other mums who are likely having very similar experiences.

Breastfeeding will be easy from the start
It can be a surprise to new mum’s that breastfeeding may not always be easy and feel natural right from the start – sometimes there can be challenges. However, with the right preparation and patience is generally gets easier. I suggest keeping distractions to a minimum and trying to create a relaxing quiet environment initially also can help. Some mother’s find that they need some extra help, maybe using a midwife to teach and support you or having the right tools, such as a quality breast pump available to get you over initial hurdles.

You can’t breastfeed your baby while you’re sick
In fact, it’s actually recommended. It’s likely that at some stage you may become run down and even catch something during the first month of child-rearing. While you may think that you will pass something onto your baby, it’s not often the case. The antibodies your body produces to fight your own infection will be passed on to your baby through breast milk, protecting your baby from falling sick at all.

I’ll need to be accessible 24/7
Even if it’s just 30-minutes to duck out to the shop, or to meet with a friend it can be difficult to leave your baby with your partner or a trusted relative or friend. There are internal and social pressures to always be with your baby, however, it is really important to listen to your own intuition and if you need time out you should take it. In today’s world we now have access to a range of products like, breast pumps – such as the Comfort Double electric pump by Philips Avent – which can aid you to comfortably pump to enable someone else to feed your baby while you engage in some self-care.

Babies are always hungry
It may be tempting to search for hard and fast rules about when and how long baby will need to feed – but the reality is that the only rules you should be following are the ones your baby sets. In terms of feeding, most babies will naturally fall into a rhythm of between one and three-hour feeds, but an infant’s feeding patterns are as individual as they are. Good indicators of a well-fed baby include plenty of wet and dirty nappies and a healthy weight gain.  If you have an unsettled or unhappy baby, it may not be anything to do with feeding.  Speak to your midwife, a child health nurse or your GP if you are worried.

Liz Wilkes

Liz Wilkes  

Liz has been a Midwife since 1995 and an expert clinician with private practice experience for the last 13 years. Liz has established ten private midwifery practices across Australia (My Midwives Pty Ltd), aiding them in developing visiting access model in public hospitals. Liz also works with Philips as the Philips Avent Ambassador here in Australia // www.mymidwives.com.au