Sometimes we focus so much on our pregnant bellies (as wonderful as they are) that we forget to give some thought, energy and planning into what we do once baby is here.
It can take you by surprise how much time in the day a baby can take up. They are the ultimate time wasters, especially if you don’t have a sleepy baby. I know that all the baby books say little babies sleep 20 hours a day. Well someone forgot to tell my babies that.
So I’d like to share some ideas that have worked for me and my friends in the “early days”..
The best advice I got from a friend who’s a midwife is:
- 1st week in the bed
- 2nd week around the bed
This really helps with getting to know your baby, resting (even if not sleeping), learning to breastfeed and ignoring the rest of the house. It also helps to keep visitors to a minimum as they may not want to visit your bedroom. It can be a bit harder with older children around but generally they understand and don’t mind coming in for a snuggle. Two weeks isn’t a long time to take but it makes a great difference to your body healing and general well being. You will need to recover. It also means you won’t go out too soon and overdo it, even though we are all desperate to show off our beautiful babies.
- Wear your baby in a sling /structured carrier. They love being close and you’ll have hands free to get more done. And if you have other children you can still tend to them.
- Have visiting hours: then you can fit in rests and keep the time to a minimum. Little babies don’t like pass-the-parcel and it can upset them. You’ll be left with this when the visitors go.
- It can be very hard for some of us to accept help but it’s a great time to start practicing saying “yes please” to offers of help. Food, cleaning, washing, shopping, looking after older children.
- Encourage people to bring food when they come. It’s hard to get around to cooking dinner at the end of the day when you’re tired and breastfeeding can make you starving. Eating properly will help you keep your energy levels and help you bounce back.
- If your partner can get time off work, great. My husband took 3mths long service leave. I know everyone can’t do this but whatever you can is awesome. It can be a wonderful time for them to get to know the baby. You never get the time back.
- Join playgroups/mothers groups/baby wearing groups/library story time/Australian breastfeeding association. It may take time to find one that suits you but stick it out because finding likeminded people to chat with or just to get out of the house can save you on a crappy day. Some good friends have been made in groups like these.
- Take it easy, prioritise, you can’t do everything. Having a shower, making sure you eat and looking after baby may be all you get done in those first weeks (you may not always even get a shower). We have all been there!
The early days are precious-my favourite time. It feels like forever when you’re sleep deprived and feeding baby or changing once again! But, believe me, its quick and it’s the time when you get to know that little person that you both made and have been waiting for. Enjoy it.
Remember, when you’re up in the night (again) that there are many other mummas up with their babies too. It used to bring me some comfort, even though I would have preferred sleep.
Best wishes and happy early days,