You are home with your precious bundle of gorgeousness and then reality hits! You have a completely dependent human being and that to me was quite terrifying.
Obviously, everyone’s experience is completely different but this is how I felt and what we did over the first couple of months to try and make our lives a bit easier.
I actually was really excited about visitors, I was desperate to show off my new baby but I was also tired and sore so I had to be more vocal about what I needed. I learnt that visitors are more than happy to hang your washing out or make you a meal in exchange for cuddles with your tiny baby and accept all the help that is offered! Also, don’t be afraid to say what you need, someone might want to help but don’t know what is best so make sure you tell them, and stock up on tea and biscuits so they can help themselves and bring you some too. My siblings visiting and bringing or making us meals was one of the best bits of those early weeks as it enabled my husband and I to just concentrate on our tiny new human, plus I had new people I could bore with the birth story and if you are anything like me you will want to share every tiny detail of it!
Don’t expect to do anything
Once I got out of hospital I tried to do too much but quickly learnt that wasn’t a good thing. Those very early days are just for sitting on your sofa, eating your favourite foods and holding and feeding your baby. Don’t try to do anything else. Your partner can sort the washing, friends and family can bring you meals and grandparents can help look after older children if you have them. I didn’t realise just how quickly those days fly past so make the most of them. Trust me, the housework will still be there but those teeny tiny baby snuggles won’t be as they grow so quickly. Go easy on yourself and don’t worry about a messy house, you have just grown and given birth to another human being, you are a superstar and nobody cares about the fact you haven’t hoovered and there are cheerio’s down the back of your sofa.
Get into a routine
You might think this is hard and it can be as a baby doesn’t understand routine and will have no idea about night and daytime to begin with but this is important to establish as soon as you can. Keep everything light and not too quiet during the day. Chat to your baby during day feeds, they will still go to sleep but it will be a different routine to your nightime one. During the night keep the room where your baby is as dark and quiet as possible. When you feed them stay very quiet without engaging them so they will feed and then hopefully drift back off to sleep. That doesn’t mean you can’t cuddle them back to sleep though! Hopefully they will soon learn the difference between being awake and playing at the right time and you might get a few hours of precious sleep at night!
Try and start and bedtime routine as soon as you feel able. This can be as simple as a wash, change of clothes and a bedtime song or story. Babies love routine and they will very quickly understand what these set of procedures mean and this makes them feel very secure.
We started the routine of a bath before bed every night which my son loves. He has the bath with one of us so gets that lovely oxytocin inducing skin to skin contact, then he has a quick massage, gets put in to a snuggly baby grow and his sleeping bag and then gets fed to sleep. I am not sure if it is the routine or just because he is quite a chilled out baby but this normally means we get a solid four hour chunk of sleep before he wakes up for another feed and this has made a real difference.
Slings wonderful slings! My son slept better in a sling than anywhere else. It is a surefire way of getting him to sleep, calming him down and stopping him from crying. Both my husband and I loved the Stretchy Wrap when my son was tiny and he was in this from 1 week old. We used this on a daily basis from taking him out to walk the dog with us as it is super cosy, to just having him close to us when we needed to get things done. I soon discovered that you also don’t need to worry about coats and pram suits if you are wearing your baby in a sling. They are more than happy in their indoor clothes, just make sure they have a hat and an extra pair of socks or moccasins to keep their feet warm.
Now my son is 8 weeks and really getting quite heavy, he is quite a chunk, he is spending more time in the Woven Wrap. This is still super comfortable for us both and it looks amazing. It is great having the option of both as I find the stretchy wrap great for short periods of time if I need to soothe him or get him off to sleep and then the woven is ideal for longer walks as it doesn’t need adjusting after a while due to the weight.
Obviously I have a lovely selection of Funky Giraffe Bibs but these were all in a drawer waiting for the teething period to start. I realised that they were actually incredibly useful from birth after changing my sons third top of the morning after he had been sick all over it!
Changing outfit after outfit after milky vomits is not fun for you or baby, plus it means a lot more washing. Popping a bib on and off saves all this hassle and plus it is so much fun picking a bib to match their outfit for the day!
Keep their cot warm
After taking my son out of his sleepyhead for a feed, he would struggle to settle back down in it. We started having a hot water bottle next to the bed so while I was feeding him the bottle could keep his bed warm for him. This really worked and now most of the time he stays asleep once we put him back down.
I hope some of these helps you, every parent and every baby is different so we all have different tips and tricks. I would love to hear yours so please let me know in the comments below!