If you’re expecting or just had a baby then you’re probably well aware that people will delight in telling you how hard it will be.
You won’t get any sleep. You’ll be sore, bruised and battered from the birth. There will be a small infant permanently attached to you. Forget about eating, washing, cleaning, shopping or anything else you might want to do. You won’t have any time to do anything. For the rest of your life…
Ok that’s getting a bit dramatic but you get the idea.
Now I’ve had three kids and yes, unfortunately, I can confirm that it is indeed hard. But each time it’s been a little less hard because I’ve learnt what can help make life easier.
So here are my top five tips to help you enjoy the early days of having a newborn.
Everyone loves babies. And everyone loves going to see babies. But this is a royal pain in the arse for new parents. Not only do people descend on them when they are most likely absolutely exhausted but often they want to be entertained too.
Be firm on this one as even if you think it will be wonderful having a trail of people coming through the door, you’ll have times where you just want to curl up in the corner and cry – something that is usually frowned upon when you have company. Warn family and friends in advance that you might not want to see them and if you do, they are to bring cake and put laundry on for you. Be very clear on the boundaries you want and don’t let anyone pressure you. It’s your baby and your post natal recovery so you need to prioritise what is best for you and baby. What anyone else wants comes second.
Batch cook in advance
I didn’t do this the first two times and ended up living off take aways for the first few weeks. This was expensive and often not really what I wanted. This time round I batch cooked enough food for a small army. I spent two days cooking about 3 weeks beforehand (in the sweltering summer heat I might add) and made enough food to last around 7 weeks. I was quite fortunate to have a spare freezer to put it in but even making enough meals for a few days will be a massive help.
As well as meals, I also prepared a lot of ingredients too. I chopped chicken, sliced meat and bought packs of mince for the freezer. I bought frozen vegetables and even cheated by buying packs of pre-chopped garlic, ginger and coriander. That meant that if we fancied a fresh meal and not spag bol (again!) then it wasn’t too much effort.
Stash stuff around the house
We don’t have a big house but even so, I made sure there was baby changing stuff in each room as well as muslins, play mats and anything else that could come in handy. This meant that when baby was sick I could just reach out and grab a cloth. When he needed changing I could just pull the stuff towards me and get it done. It also meant that I didn’t have to be too physical after my c-section which was really handy. This also ties in with…
Make a nest
Find a spot in the house you like and set up camp. If it’s in bed then make sure you’ve got things to keep you entertained whilst you are feeding or cuddling baby. If it’s in front of the TV then bring pillows and a duvet down so you can be cosy. Where ever it is, make sure you’ve got snacks, water and your phone to hand. That way you won’t have to move or put baby down for anything except going to the loo.
Once in your nest aim to stay there. Even if you have visitors. Ask people to bring you what you need including cups of tea, meals and the occasional square (or bar…) of chocolate.
This is simple. If someone else can do something then get them to do it. Mother in law offers to cook – let her. Friend offers to go food shopping for you – let them. Sister suggests she puts washing on – tell her where the wash bin is. Don’t feel guilty about letting people help out or worry that you are imposing. You really should do nothing except care for your baby in the first few weeks so put your feet up and let other people run around for you. Ask family to look after the baby for a bit too so you can get some rest or maybe even get out of the house and do something nice.
And if you have the money, get paid help too. Consider hiring a post natal doula to support you and help out a bit. Definitely get cleaners in for a few months if you can afford it. And if you really want to splash out think about getting a night nanny to give you a bit of a break.
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