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This was my first ever post back when my little girl, Lily, was just 10 weeks old. It is still one of my very favourite posts and one that I’m proud of as it’s an honest and (I hope!) helpful guide of what those first weeks are like (or were for me, anyway!)
OK. So BB (my amazing, wonderful, gorgeous little miracle that is our ‘Beautiful Bear’) is 10 weeks old today and I’ve been thinking about what advice I would offer to other new mummies and what tips I’ve found to be really useful since our teeny tiny cherub was born.
MAKE YOURSELF A LITTLE STASH OF SNACKS AND DRINKS NEXT TO THE PLACE YOU’VE CHOSEN TO FEED YOUR MUNCHKIN (I.E. THE SOFA)
Your baby will feed “on demand” i.e. whenever they want to.
Yes, some babies go 3-4 hours between feeds but hardly any do this straight away.
Your baby only has a small tummy (the size of a teeny marble when he/she is born) and so for most of us, it seems like you are CONSTANTLY feeding them.
They quickly digest what we give them (all that energy is needed for growing!) and so you may find that no sooner have you put your little one down and rushed for that toilet break you’ve needed since you can’t remember when, you’re picking them up again.
I was silly, I didn’t get anything ready beforehand and so when my partner came in from work and saw a frazzled mess on the sofa where his fiancé used to be, my answer to his nagging “What have you eaten and drank today?” question would be “A biscuit and half a cold cup of tea”.
“Well that’s not good enough.”
And he was right – it wasn’t.
Especially when you’re running on no sleep and if you are able to breastfeed, supposedly passing on all of the goodness in your food to baby.
No food, no goodness.
Plus, breastfeeding is thirsty work. Literally, you will be parched.
I found myself running to the kitchen and guzzling down full pint glasses of water several times a day.
Make sure you’re taking some vitamins as well (Pregnacare do a pregnancy and breastfeeding combo) so you can just carry on taking them when baby comes) – if you’re breastfeeding, it will ensure that baby gets what they need if your diet isn’t the rich, healthy menu of foods that you want it to be and anyway, regardless of how you are feeding your baby, you need to look after yourself – particularly with the sleep deprivation that you will be trying to get used to.
Did you know that breastfeeding apparently burns an additional 500 calories a day? 😮
So, if you’re lucky enough to be able to BF, you’ll definitely need to make sure you’re eating and drinking properly!
Back to my point – when you get a second, go to the cupboards and pick out some healthy snacks that you can reach for whilst feeding baby – cereal bars, apples, nut mixes, crackers etc.
Also, some bottles of water or isotonic drinks with the sports caps you can just pull up with your teeth and if you want a hot drink, make it in a insulated cup or a flask to save it from going stone cold.
I used to say that I couldn’t find the time to prepare but if you can just spare a few minutes to do so, it really does make a difference to your day.
And don’t keep on reaching for the sweet stuff and energy drinks like I did just for the sugar high because it will go away again and afterwards you will feel even worse than you did before…
I only got Netflix over the weekend and oh my gosh, do I wish that I’d had it before in those first few weeks!
You’re going to be sat down feeding your baby for A LOT of the day so why do what I did and sit there watching the same old re-runs of FRIENDS and Rules of Engagement (together with the usual crappy daytime TV) when you can have access to absolutely tons of TV series and films?
And if you don’t have Netflix you can’t watch Orange is the New Black and believe me, you need to!
IF YOU’RE FORMULA FEEDING, GET A PERFECT PREP MACHINE
Before I had BB, I remember seeing these in Mothercare and thinking how lazy! Who would be bone idle enough to want one of those? (How innocent and up my own arse was I, eh?)
Ummm…everybody, including me, and by no stretch of the imagination does having a PP machinemean you are lazy.
What it actually means is that you can’t stand your baby crying like he/she’s never been fed before whilst you fumble around with flasks of cooled boiled water to make your bottle with and then jugs of cold water to cool the made-up bottle down because its too hot and so on, so on…urgh.
Again, I only got mine this weekend but it’s a godsend and I wish I had ordered it the day BB switched from breast to bottle because it is well worth the money.
Make sure you don’t pay more than £60-£70 for it though, it RRPs at £110-£120 but it’s ALWAYS on offer somewhere…Amazon, ASDA, Boots – shop around.
I never knew that I could have so much gratitude and appreciation for a machine that makes a body temp. bottle in under 2 minutes.
But that’s motherhood and its small pleasures… 🙂
YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE COTTON WOOL FOR BABY’S BOTTOM
Yes, you’ll be told that when you have a newborn, you need to stock pile the cotton wool and use it together with cooled boiled water to clean baby’s bum for the first few weeks but really, you don’t.
It’s fluffy, it’s messy and it’s not effective, especially with the black tarry meconium that your baby will pass for the first few days after birth.
Water Wipes are perfectly fine.
My Midwife even recommended them in place of the cotton wool!
They are expensive though so I only used one pack before moving on to normal wipes. I probably didn’t even need to do this, so many wipes are suitable for newborns nowadays but the Water Wipes were wetter and I would say that they would be better for wiping up the meconium until you reach the normal poop.
Also, make sure you hold baby’s feet up as soon as you take their nappy off because if you don’t, they’ll probably put them right in the mess they’ve just made for you. Yayy! 😐
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, DON’T RELIGIOUSLY FOLLOW THE BOOKS OR BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET
“In my day we didn’t have Google for every little problem that came up.”
Well today we do and if something comes up that I’m unsure of when it comes to BB, I like to know that I can see what other mums have done or seek advice via Dr. Google (obviously not to be relied upon for anything worrying, that’s why we have real Doctors – do use them!)
It can be useful and if used right, can make you feel less helpless about the situation you’re in.
However, not everything you read whether it be online, in books or advice from well-meaning family/friends will be right for you and your baby.
It’s true what the say, you know your baby better than anybody else so only you can know what you think is best for them.
The NHS and BabyCentre websites are probably the most reliable for looking up options/information when it comes to your little one but it’s up to you and your partner to make your own decisions as to your baby.
Don’t let know-it-all trolls get to you either!
There are some people who skulk around the internet telling everybody the right way to do things when it comes to their babies but whilst it’s nice to be given advice and tips from others, you might not agree and at the end of the day, they should respect that it’s up to you.
And yes, older people will tell you that they did it differently and their babies were just fine but when new guidelines are introduced it’s usually for a reason.
Note the word ‘guidelines’ though.
BB is a very hungry baby and has been on hungry baby milk since week 6 or 7. It’s not recommended until 4+ months to avoid weaning but she’s not constipated or overweight and we know that it’s the right milk for her.
When I was breastfeeding, I didn’t sleep and neither did she because she was never satisfied. We maybe had an hour or two in every 24.
I was getting unwell and she wasn’t happy!
The first infant formula helped when we moved her over to bottles – but not much.
So we took advice from our Doctor/HV, did what we had to and never looked back.
Do what works for you and baby. You know best! 🙂
YOU PROBABLY WON’T BE THE GLAMOROUS NEW MUM YOU HOPED YOU WOULD BE
I remember watching a TV show about new mums and one of the women said “I thought I would be wearing a full face of make-up and be out every day but now I just live in my PJs”.
No way, I thought, I’ll at least get dressed!
After BB was born, some days I did but most days I didn’t and I definitely didn’t wear any make-up, I didn’t even have the time to think about putting it on!
Just remember that it’s not forever…and spending precious time with baby is more important anyway.
You’re not Beyoncé. You don’t have a bunch of nannies and a personal make-up artist to magically wish away those dark circles and jazz up your tired face!
PLAY CANDY CRUSH TO HELP YOU STAY AWAKE WHEN BABY NEEDS YOU IN THE NIGHT HOURS
When my eyes were drooping and I was just about to nod off with baby in my arms (not good!) I reached for my phone and started playing Candy Crush.
Yes, the chocolate levels are awful and infuriating, yes you always need one more move than they’ve given you but it focuses your eyes and helps you to stay awake. Lifesaver.
Just make sure you put it away and get some sleep when baby finally goes down. It can be scarily addictive, right?
PREPARE FOR THE FACT THAT YOUR BABY WILL CRY JUST AS YOU PICK UP YOUR KNIFE AND FORK TO EAT YOUR TEA OR JUST AS YOUR HEAD FINALLY HITS YOUR PILLOW TO GO TO SLEEP
It’s like they know…
…but they don’t and their cute wobbling pet lip will melt your heart and you probably won’t care that much anymore anyway.
But if you do get fed up at tea time, try distracting baby by putting him/her in their bouncer and rocking it with your foot whilst you eat. I wouldn’t have my dinner unless BB was sound asleep to begin with but that soon changed…I was bloody starving!
JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT AT WORK, DON’T THINK THAT YOUR HOME WILL BE SPOTLESS AND YOU’LL HAVE TEA ON THE TABLE WAITING FOR YOUR PARTNER WHEN THEY GES IN FROM WORK TOGETHER WITH A BATCH OF COOKIES THAT YOU MADE EARLIER…
“Oooh I’ll get to play housewife when I’m on my maternity leave, I’ve always fancied that, when baby sleeps I’ll clean and bake cakes and make recipes from my new cookbook…”
I’m just starting to find time for these sorts of things now and I still don’t make myself any promises.
I sometimes clean in the middle of the night or my partner takes BB when he comes in so I can finish the jobs I started during the 20 mins she slept that day.
It’s a good idea to batch cook meals before baby comes and freeze them ready for those first few weeks because sometimes you’re just so tired your choices seem to be JustEat (when you should be saving money for when your SMP kicks in) or beans on toast, again (whoop de doo…how exciting!).
They say sleep when baby sleeps but in reality, it’s often not that easy.
Some people just can’t sleep during the day, some have other children to look after or maybe they just can’t settle for fear that baby will wake up at any moment.
When baby sleeps I brush my teeth and run a comb through my hair and often, I count that as an achievement…!!!
ENJOY THIS PRECIOUS TIME WITH YOUR BABY
Because unfortunately you won’t get it back. And that’s something we all know oh too well.
Your baby will grow so quickly and will change every day before your eyes.
Don’t stress too much about the washing up or how tired you look, it really doesn’t matter.
BB is still only 10 weeks old but I already miss some of her newborn traits and mannerisms.
I’ve enjoyed lots of “firsts” – first smile, first roll over etc. and there’s a million more to come so just enjoy, motherhood is the best job in the world and we are so lucky to be able to experience it 🙂
Do you have any tips that you’d like to share with new mums and dads?
Like me, were you a walking zombie for those first few weeks? (I’m guessing most of you were, right?!)