This is part of a series of blog posts I'm calling “The Mammy Lists”
(co-sleeping on a sofa is NOT recommended... but sometimes it happens... and the Husb0t was not going to risk waking either of us up..... )
Postnatal/Living With a Small Baby
The big lie about pregnancy is that labour is the mountain to climb, once you've done it, you've WON! .. sorry... living with a small baby is going to be the hardest thing you've EVER done, and you're going to have to do it while recovering from that other hardest thing you've ever done, enjoy!
- LOOK AFTER YOURSELF - you will find it hard to do much more than cater to your basic physical needs at the start but you must. this includes;
- Eating - if you're alone in the house during the day make yourself a sandwich (or, better yet, get your husband to make you one when he's making his sandwiches for work) and keep it in the fridge for easy grabbing. Surround yourself with fruit bowls.
- Going in the bath DAILY in the early days and showering after you've recovered is a RIGHT not a PRIVILEGE. If you don't have a partner around to supervise while you do this you'll have to put the baby in their moses basket and get on with it.
- If you've had an episciotomy wee in the bath too. I know, I know, gross, but morning wee can be very concentrated and very stingy, give yourself a rinse in the shower if it makes you feel better.
- Avoid using baby soothing objects/technology until it actually helps you (nightlight/lulaby machines, dummmies, stage 2 baby formula....) the effects of these 'helpers' can wear of over time and you don't want to play your whole hand to early in the game.
- You are the best person to make decisions about your baby, once you've conceded to using bay sothing objects don't let anyone else make you feel that you should have held out for longer.
- Although you are the best person to make decisions about your baby, you might be a better decision maker after a bit of sleep.
- Try not to compare how much sleep youre geting to the amout of sleep your husband/partner is getting, it wil make you feel bitter, especialy if you're breastfeeding.
- Do not be tempted to do housework when your baby has a nap during the day. You have a nap too, your husband/partner can't do that! haha!
- Don't get angry, with yourself, with your partner or with your baby. Everyone is trying their hardest to get through the day. Focus on the positives.
- Crying? ......... feed, burp, change nappy, try to soothe to sleep, repeat.
- Still crying? put them somewhere safe and go get a cup of tea. They're probably just tired/overstimulated. Everyone needs some alone time, even babies! (I'm not suggesting you let them 'cry it out' but you have to accept that sometimes there may be no discernible reason and your stress may be exasperating the situation)
- Don't make any decisions during a growth spurt. Growth spurts occur between one and three weeks and between six and eight weeks. After that, you can expect more at three months, six months, and nine months.
- Until your baby stops producing meconium cover his/her bottom with vaseline every chance you get. it will make nappy changing a lot easier!
- Nothing lasts forever, don't rush to assume that everything will become part of a routine, some behaviors just disappear by themselves, theres no point in getting stressed out about them.
- Go to your dictionary and tipp-ex out the world "Routine" prefer the word "Pattern" instead. patterns are less rigid than routines. Patterns can change and it's no big deal. babies enjoy patterns but they can't tell the time. And for the love of all that is holy don't wake your baby up for a feed unless you *actually* fear they might starve to death :-)
- While you're there get rid of the word 'guilt' you can feel guilty about everything as a parent, guilty for working, guilty for not working, guilty for hugging too much, guilty for hugging too little. Just let go of guilt, it does not help you.
- Don't listen to other parents (that includes me!). Some lie about their baby's sleeping/feeding habits, some just prefer to ignore the bad bits, and some are just plain lucky. They have the right to be proud of their 8 week old that sleeps for 6 hours straight through, but because yours isn't doesn't mean you're doing something wrong.