It takes new mums four months and 23 days before they feel able to cope with being a mum, it has been revealed. Researchers found the first few months with a new member of the family to take care of passes by in a flash of incomprehensible confusion for the 2,000 mums studied.
But, after nearly five months, Mum bounces back and she’ll have her routine nailed, with the confidence to be able to deal with every eventuality thrown at her.
She will learn what her baby’s different cries mean, stop worrying about dealing with her child in public, forever be armed with snacks or spare clothes and no longer break down in tears from exhaustion or sheer frustration.
The research, which was commissioned by award-winning international baby brand Munchkin, found key markers like the baby sleeping through the night and not panicking when baby has a temperature were crucial to a mum feeling as though things had clicked into place.
Claire Rayner, spokeswoman for Munchkin said:
“Becoming a mum for the first time leads to a flurry of mixed emotions and it can naturally be completely overwhelming. It’s one of the best things that can happen to someone but it can understandably be very scary too.
“What the results show is that, no matter how daunting motherhood can seem, mums have incredible resources to get through the early days and feel like they have things under control.
“It’s a massive change and the flood of self-doubt or worry as to how they’ll cope is perfectly natural – but the fact they care so much only proves what good mums they eventually will develop into.”
During pregnancy, half the study were nervous and scared of becoming a mum, while one in four felt overwhelmed.
That increased after giving birth, when over half of the study admitted to being overwhelmed with the prospect of being a mum.
A frazzled 57% admit those first few months after the birth passed by in a bit of a blur because they were so worried about getting everything right.
In fact, two thirds of mums admitted the worry and exhaustion of being a new parent even led them to burst into tears.
Although, looking back, six in ten say they wish they’d not worried as much as they did at the time.
47% were actually surprised at the amount of time it took for them to properly get the hang of being a mum- six in ten mums went through a period of worry where they felt they just weren’t capable of becoming a mum.
A third felt so worried that they had, at some point, told a friend or family member that they didn’t think they were a good mum- a fifth of Mums instead didn’t talk to anyone about their worries because they didn’t want to be thought of as failing, or seen to struggle in their new role.
One in five new mums thought their partner settled into the role of being a parent quicker than they did, which led to feelings of envy.
Claire Rayner continued:
“It’s perhaps reassuring that so many mums went through the same period of worry as it shows just how common a reaction it is to feel that you might not cope.
“What is important is not being afraid to voice those worries and let your friends, family and support network help you as much as they can.
“It’s always going to take time to adjust, but the more ways they can find to help them cope, the quicker that feeling of confidence in being a mum will develop. Those first few months can be understandably a real struggle, but it’s important to try and savour them too – as the results show, in hindsight most mums wish they’d been able to worry a bit less.”
TOP 10 THINGS THAT LEAD TO FEELING LIKE A ‘PROPER MUM’
1. Getting a good routine sorted
2. Knowing what to do when her baby cried
3. Not being worried about dealing with her baby in public
4. Trying not to panic when her baby was under the weather or had a temperature
5. Always leaving the house with a spare change of clothes for the baby
6. Always leaving the house with milk/food/snacks for the baby
7. Being able to change a nappy quickly
8. Having the baby sleep through the night
9. Feeling able to keep on top of the housework
10. Always having a toy or something to entertain the baby in their handbag