Surviving with a Newborn.
It is hard to believe that Ruairidh has only been in our lives for 6 weeks. With his little chubby cheeks and chicken legs, he never fails to put a smile of our faces.
To say that having a baby is a major life change is an understatement. Going from being just the two of us to a family of three has been a great adventure so far. Don’t get me wrong, there has been many ups, downs and nappy explosions; but, all in all, I think we are adjusting and coping pretty well with the arrival of our little man and in our new roles as parents.
We are learning as we go on our little journey into parenthood.
Sometimes, I really wish they came with a manual so I could study, and swot up, on what to do when different scenarios present themselves. Unfortunately, no such thing exists- I’ve checked.
If I could write my own manual for surviving the first few weeks with baby, these would be my top 5 tips:
Have no expectations
Everyday is different. Some days Ru wants fed at 10am, sometimes he doesn’t; one feed he takes 5oz, the next he takes 2. Any routine you think you have is out the window. For the first few weeks, we had to learn Ru’s feeding cues and get to know his little idiosyncrasies, and not to freak out at every little noise he makes.
I have had to learn to take every day as it comes. If I manage to accomplish the three T’s (tea, toast and teeth) before midday, I am having a good one. If I get out of my jammies, even better.
Routine will come: we are just starting to fall into feeding patterns now. Learning to let go of expectations has been a really tough lesson as I live for the comfort of routine and planning. But we are getting there, one step at a time.
Get out and about.
The longer you leave it the harder it gets.
The first few days after leaving the hospital I was very limited to how far I could walk and was in a bit of pain from giving birth. We started heading out on short walks- starting with going round the block- then building up to walking round the country park that we are lucky to have right on our door step.
Heading out with a little one is like a military operation: Nappies, check; change of clothes, check; Bottles, check. It took us an hour and a half to get out the house the first time we went for a walk but with practice it takes less and less time.
Note: you will be just about to head out and Baby will projectile vomit or shit up their back and you will need to start the process all over again. It will happen : be prepared.
Find what works for you.
You will get advice from everyone, and their Granny, about bringing up Baby. While it is all given with the best intentions- like, ehm, this blog post- sometimes you need to ignore what people are saying and do what is right for you.
Every Baby is different and what might have worked for one child won’t work for another. Even if their swear by it. It is easiest to smile, nod and agree; then ignore everything you have just heard. No need to make a big deal out, which when you are sleep deprived and on edge, is sometimes easier said than done.
Also, don’t be afraid to say no to visitors. If it’s not a good day, you are well within your rights to cancel. You guys have just had a Baby and sometimes having people pop in can add stress that you really don’t need. If they go in a grump, well thats their problem not yours. You know what is best for your family.
You all need some you time
This goes for Mummy, Daddy and Baby. Looking after a baby is intense. Make sure you try and get some time to yourself. For me, I made sure that I could get time to go and unwind in a bath while J watched Ru. Other times, I would look after Ru so that J could play his video games. No matter what it is, make sure you are getting time away to catch your breath and recharge your batteries.
We also found that if we had lots of visitors, and Ru had been passed from pillar to post, he also needs a quiet half hour to himself. If he is becoming quite fractious, we put him in his Moses basket and he is usually quite content at staring at his hands or the light for a little while. We are still in the room with him, but he needs the time to bring himself back from being overstimulated and to be the chilled out guy we know and love.
Mummies, you will cry when you least expect it- and it won’t be pretty.
Giving birth is such an intense and emotional experience. Hormones are raging and they are pulling you from one extreme to another. Accept the fact: you will cry and sometimes you won’t know why. I started howling in the middle of the street because someone had the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree in their window. They were happy tears; but uncontrollable, and cried more when J started laughing at me. (It’s hilarious now, but not at the time…)
So there you have it, my words of wisdom from one new Maw to another.
But ultimately, the best advice I can give is : you do you, and don’t take any minute your time with your new family for granted.
Have you got any tips for coping with a new baby?