Note to self – Mum Knows Best

Me in 2006, with L, me in 2011 with L and G

Did you trust your instincts as a new mum?  New mums are bombarded with advice and information, and rarely celebrated for knowing best, or following their instincts. JOHNSON’S® baby have a new campaign, Mums Know Best, all about this very issue and asked me to write a letter to my self as a new mum…

Dear me c.2006

I just wanted to say all those decisions you’re making, they’ve turned out really well. I have two very happy, healthy and confident kids here. I’ve been thinking lots about everything you are going through…

I held my five month old nephew this week, yes your brother has a beautiful baby too now! It is over six years since I first gave birth, it suddenly hit me that my internal baby monitor was silent, that impulse to analyse all the data to come up with a new theory for his dissatisfaction had left me. I was in the privileged position of cuddling and jiggling a baby, without worrying about the never ending cycle of routines, feeding, sleeping, changing. It’s hard isn’t it, all those nuances to analyse, the unwanted advice, the comparisons to what other’s are doing? Tune out of that noise, it’s like a radio, if you don’t like what your hear, change channels.

I realised too, had I been in my sole charge of my nephew, I would have switched my internal monitors right back on, but as a mum I defaulted to the best people to know what a baby needs, his experts, his mum and dad. I want you to know you’re making all the right decisions, for you, for your baby, for your family. You know your baby best.

I watched my brother and sister in law in awe at the amount of information they possessed about my nephew in their heads.  I tried to communicate just how amazing I thought they were. I can’t believe I too had all that going on in my head once, 3 and 6 year old routines are a much less constant flow. Yes, you’re going to have a second child, but don’t let me spoil that suprise!  But it never seems like anyone truly believes in you when you are a new parent does it, that or they expect you to have all the answers?

Your babies will both turn out brilliantly, of course that wonderful bonus hindsight shows me just how different they are, and that different things work for them. The foundations for sleeping well you’ll give them are perfect, hindsight now lets me see one is a night owl and the other an early bird. Likewise, despite being weaned and fed the same, one eats anything and one is a complete fuss pot. Distractions work brilliantly with one, but the other doesn’t move on until the issue is fully resolved. One cries if they falls over, the other just carries on. You do know the answers, your judgements are the best ones, for you, for your baby, for your family, for the time.

Whenever times get tough, they both like to regress back, to snuggle up close and be fussed over, to crawl back to being a baby. If I could do one thing over again I would say cuddle more and do less. But that’s hard when you life is taken over by baby things, you want to get out and feel like you’re achieving things…So the second thing I would say is, babies are more adaptable than we give them credit for, make sure you hand them over from time to time, only to people who have a finely tuned internal baby monitor of course, and make time to be you.

Most importantly, you are, and always will be, the person who knows their child best.

love Penny


One of the big decisions you make as a mum is what to use on your baby’s skin. I remember Mr A being told off by the health visitor for using a wipe on my son’s bottom while she visited. We’d followed the instructions to use water and cotton wool, but amid the chaos of juggling two children the odd wipe had snuck in for convenience. Fast forward four years and my brother is now facing the same dilemma with his baby.

Something that could ease that decision for mums who do want to use wipes on newborn skin is a clinical trial on real babies bottoms, carried out by midwives in babies’ own homes, and analysed by researchers from Manchester University. The study found JOHNSON’S® Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes and Top-To-Toe® Bath are just as safe as using cotton wool and water or just water to cleanse delicate newborn skin.

This video explains more:

How refreshing to hear that the world isn’t going to end because of a baby wipe, more time to cuddle and less time to worry.

“I have been asked to work with JOHNSON’S® Baby to write a “note to self” to coincide with their Mums Know Best campaign which aims to empower new mums and women in the last stage of pregnancy to trust their instincts and have confidence in their own convictions, supported by the groundbreaking new independent evidence proving that JOHNSON’S® Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes & Top-To-Toe® Bath are as safe to use as water alone on newborn skin.  They have paid me to write this post”

4 thoughts on “Note to self – Mum Knows Best

  1. Great post Penny and particularly as my young daughter in law (21) is suffering the doubts of a new mother faced with so many people trying to tell her what to do. I shall forward this letter to her and make her see she is doing the right thing and to trust herself.

    Funnily enough with my last pregnancy back in 2008 I was told by midwives to stay clear of Johnsons and they made it feel almost ‘dirty’ luckily enough I had enough experience to not listen but I’ve always questioned WHY they said that.
    Mari recently posted…Gingerbread house – easy ‘how to’ plus recipeMy Profile

    • Thanks Mari, if that helps any new mum fab! I used as little as possible of anything on my kid’s skin, I wanted them to smell like real babies, but I also got so fed up of being made to feel guilty about every decision I made. I wonder if modern parents bathe kids more than people used to, like everyday, and that’s where this comes from? I hate being told not to do something without being told why! Skin is such a personal and individual thing, which is where instincts are so important :)
      The Alexander Residence recently posted…Note to self – Mum Knows BestMy Profile

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