Coping with mum guilt in early newborn days

Cover Image for Coping with mum guilt in early newborn days

When we got home from the hospital after the birth, we did not know we were in for surprises! We thought Benji would easily sleep on his bedside crib and we would have well rested nights in between feeds. Could we be more wrong?

Benji didn’t want be put down on his back in his crib. He would toss around and cry, we’d pick him up and sway him back and forth and soon after, he’d calm down and fall asleep. Then we’d try putting him down again and we are back to soothing him again. So it was hard and tough. We were at lost as we have read how not okay it is to co sleep/contact nap with a newborn in the guidelines. We were worried that we were causing him harm so we ended up taking turns. If I contact sleep with Benji on a chair/couch, my husband would be up keeping an eye out on us and vice versa. It was for our peace of mind.

There was so much guilt that came with that, we felt like we have somewhat failed but we soon realised ‘fourth trimester’, being new parents, navigating this new journey is never going to be textbook perfect. We needed to do what was best for baby and us, the new parents.

They don’t really talk about the mental health aspects of postpartum in antenatal classes. When they do, it’s usually about signs to look out for if you feel a certain way. It’s awesome we have a safe space to discuss that during the class.

But when you are in the midst of postpartum, it can feel really hard to really zoom into those feelings. You are exhausted, possibly sleep-deprived and trying to keep up with all the baby appointments you need to attend all at the same time.

I was coping with mum guilt when I couldn’t put Benji down in his crib. I felt like I have somewhat ‘failed’ to do a good job as a mum. Looking back, I should have reframed that thought and challenge it, “What do I mean by a good job as a mum?”. At the end of the day, being a good mum isn’t what the textbook or guidelines tell me. I cannot measure my value as a mum based on a guideline that were gathered from various research and resources. Maybe I should have reframed my inner thought to:

I may not be able to put him down in his crib, but I am doing my best to help him sleep and soothe him.

I was so worried that people would judge my parenting. I was anxious someone was gonna caught me co-sleeping with him and had this crazy idea that I’d be told off by my health visitor.

I soon realised, people are going to judge either way. If you contact sleep, they’ll judge and tell you that you are putting your baby at risk (even though there are also safe co-sleeping guidelines out there!). If you put baby down in the crib and let them cry out, they’ll judge and tell you that you are doing it wrong.

So if you are going to be judged either way, maybe doing what’s best for our little family and our mental health is all that matters.

We are never going to be the perfect mums, we are still the same person before the baby arrives – we have our shortcomings and we can only do our best. The newborn phase is challenging but if we put so much pressures on ourselves to do exactly what the guidelines tell us to, our mental health is gonna take a toll and we will lose our focus on what really matters.

What really matters is the wellbeing of you, your baby and your little family unit.

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

Thank you for reading this far.

Hope you enjoy reading the blog and find learnings and useful things in my blog posts.

Lots of love,


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