You’ve had your baby, and now you’re at home without an instruction manual for this new member of the family! If you’re wondering what’s supposed to happen now, don’t panic! Here’s our guide on how to survive the first 6 weeks with a new baby.
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Life with a new baby is a whirlwind of nappy changes, feeding, sleeping, and those utterly amazing newborn cuddles. Read on for our tips on getting through the first six weeks.
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Life With a New Baby
Don’t Pack Away Your Maternity Clothes
For as much as you can’t wait to get rid of your maternity clothes, you may still need them after giving birth. Look at it this way: It took about 40 weeks to grow a baby, so don’t expect to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothing overnight. It will take time, but you will get there! If you happen to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes immediately after birth, we can’t be friends…!
Collect Takeout Menus
Even if your name is Julia Child, you will be in no mood to cook – let alone have the time. Start collecting takeout menus from local restaurants that deliver, or make and freeze meals in advance.
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Set Up Automatic Bill Pay
No matter how organised you may be, setting up automatic bill pay will mean one less thing to worry about. This way you can focus on your new baby and avoid late fees.
Line Up Your Boxsets
Before you had your baby, you never watched television, right? Prepare to watch the most television of your life in the next few months. Boxsets, on demand TV, Netflix and being able to record your favourite programmes comes in handy. Don’t be surprised when you start watching the Disney channel and actually like it. You may even find yourself singing the jingles in the shower (when you finally get to take one).
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Set One “Big” Goal Every Day
This will help you feel productive when you’re home all day in your pyjamas with your hair up and no makeup on. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, you’d be surprised how hard it is to do this otherwise simple task. Things that were once done without thinking have now become challenging with a new baby to factor in. Tell yourself: “No matter what, today I am going to…” – this could be to take a shower, put the dishes away, go for a walk in the park. Do one “big” thing every day, no matter what.
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Learn How to Use a Breast Pump Before Baby Arrives
You may have your mind set on exclusively breastfeeding, but plans don’t always go as you want them to. Learn how to use a breast pump (many are fully covered by insurance, so be sure to check in advance) before your little one arrives.
Your breast milk supply may be slow to come in, and pumping can help encourage it. You may also consider having a couple of bottles handy if you want to share the feeding.
Set Up a Meal Train with Family & Friends
Ask a friend or relative to set up a ‘meal train’ for you. This will eliminate the stressful question: “What’s for lunch?” or “What’s for dinner?” Not only is this a great way to avoid cooking, but also an opportunity for friends and family to meet your new baby!
The first few weeks may be hard to get out and about, but luckily you can buy just about anything online. Ordering online, whether it’s your supermarket shopping or new clothes and supplies, will save you a headache or two. Take advantage.
Have the Changing Table Stocked
You won’t know how big your baby is until s/he is actually born. Be sure to have your changing table stocked and ready to go with newborn and size 1 diapers – you just never know. The same applies to clothing, as lots of times many newborns move straight (or very quickly) into 0-3 month sizes.
Keep a Poop Diary
Yes, your days will be spent counting how many times a day your little one “goes”! Make your life simple and download an app to track your baby’s eating and pooping schedule – or go old school and use a little notebook.
Never mind that you have the memory of an elephant, you will be pooped (pun intended) beyond recognition. You may say to yourself, “I’ll remember”. Trust me, you won’t. Do yourself a favour and keep a record.
Your doctor or health nurse may ask how many wet and dirty diapers your baby has in a day. You should also know what’s considered “normal” for poop colour and consistency, so do your homework.
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Something to Hold You In
Whether you prefer an ab binder, a corset, or even a formfitting tank top, you’ll need something to hold you in. Your belly will feel like there’s a hole in it. It will dangle and jiggle and you’ll feel anything but glamorous. You may feel more comfortable if you have something to hold your belly in/up.
Ask For Help – and Take It
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It doesn’t make you a bad mom if you get help from a friend or family member. If someone offers to bring you food, pick up your mail, vacuum or do your laundry, let them! Take the help. You will be glad you did.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Rid yourself of any guilt now. The dishes are dirty. The laundry is piled to the ceiling. You haven’t cooked one meal in the last three weeks…so what! YOU JUST HAD A BABY!
That is physically and emotionally strenuous on the body. From the moment you gave birth, you are immediately tending to your little precious miracle, trying to keep him or her alive, whilst simultaneously trying to make sense of what the hell just happened. Not to mention, you need to heal both physically and mentally. At the same time you are recuperating, you are caring for another life. This is how we know women are designed for this. While it will take time to heal, your body is resilient.
Take time. Take all the time you need. Let yourself off the hook.
Listen to Your Body
Some new moms are ready to get out and about that same week. Others, several weeks after – and other moms won’t feel ready until several months later. Some moms are cooking the next day, and some don’t ever cook again!
Don’t compare yourself, because everyone moves to the beat of their own drum. Listen to your body and go at your own pace. Don’t feel bad for moving at a different pace than other moms, and never apologize for the choices you make.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
No. Just No. Practice this one.
Nod Your Head & Smile
Everyone will have an opinion and will be eager to give you their two cents on how you should raise your new baby. Be prepared to get all sorts of advice and be told what is right and wrong. Remember that this is YOUR baby. Do what works and feels right for you and your baby, not what works for anyone else.
If someone who doesn’t have any kids gives you advice, tell them where to go. Don’t stress yourself out when your mother-in-law says you shouldn’t co-sleep, or have your baby sleep in your room at your bedside. It’s nobody’s business but your own.
What should you do if you get some unsolicited advice? Nod your head and smile. Silently cursing them out in your head is also optional!
Love Your Baby
…and everything will be alright.
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