In an interview with Today, mother of three Caroline Chambers opened up about the difficulties she endured with her first-born child. Although it’s very normal for mothers to experience certain symptoms related to postpartum, Chambers’ year of anxiety after delivery felt particularly difficult.
“The first year of my child’s life was plagued with so much anxiety and fear,” she said. “Of course, I was obsessed with him and had so many amazing moments of just loving it, but there was also just a lot of fear around the unknown.”
Despite the cookbook author’s prior struggles, she was still keen to grow her family. By the time her second child, Callum, was born, she’d gained a new perspective on being a parent. “None of it matters. They’re going to sleep eventually. None of it is actually a pattern. You can’t actually diagnose it. You can’t actually Google your way into better sleep. It just takes time,” she recalled to the outlet.
Chambers is a mother to three sons: Mattis, five, Callum, three, and Cashel, one. While feeding schedules and nap times for her son Mattis were overwhelming and stress-inducing, Callum’s care was a “more joyful” experience for her, having already known what works and what doesn’t for newborns.
The intuitive mother recognised that both parenthood and being a mother is “terrifying the first time because you don’t know what to expect”. Still, she explained that welcoming more children into her life helped her learn that babies aren’t the “precious little fragile creatures that we think they are.”
Chambers took to her Instagram account last April, revealing her tips for raising your first child like your third. First, she suggested taking opportunities to “leave your baby”. Chambers emphasised the importance of taking time for yourself and allowing babysitters to take over for a few hours, so you can either go on a solo date or enjoy time with your partner. “Your husband isn’t the enemy. The baby is the enemy,” Chambers jokingly wrote.
For her next tip, she said that “this too shall pass.” According to Chambers, each phase for a baby is fleeting, lasting around “two weeks and it’s on to the next thing”.
Chambers also told her followers not to leave the house chores for when your baby asleep. Not only will this feel like you’re being overworked without any breaks, but Chambers pointed out how babies don’t mind watching you vacuum or do the dishes.
“Put on your oxygen mask first,” she continued. “You can’t take care of your baby if you can’t take care of yourself. Take a shower. Eat delicious meals with lots of greens and protein. If you feel sad, call your OB and tell her about those feelings... Get a blowout. Go get lunch or dinner by yourself.”
Lastly, Chambers urged mothers not to fall victim to the “four Bs of a bedtime routine” and maintained that following the sequence of “bath, boob/bottle, book, bed” isn’t necessary. “As long as the baby is fed and in bed, they will not care how you get them there. Dunked in the bath once a week, they are FINE,” she wrote.
Many thankful mothers chimed in, adding their own advice and experience after Chambers encouraged them to do so in her caption.
“Love this!!!!! We bathe our baby one to two times a week. MAX. I’d also add: the whole eat, play sleep order is BS! Don’t stress about it. Feed when they need it. Love following you & learning mama,” one mother noted.
Another commented: “For the toddler phase: Tell them, ‘I’m going to close my eyes and when I open them, I’ll see… (insert whatever you’re trying to get them to do)”. This ALWAYS works for my kiddo when I need him to put on his clothes, go to the bathroom, etc. It’s magic!”
The Independent has reached out to Chambers for a comment.