Eeeek first time mum needing help!(155 Posts)
I suspect this isn't the right place for this post but not to worry...
I was just looking for a bit of advice really..
First baby will be here any day now and I'm just feeling a bit anxious that I have no clue what to expect still. Never held a newborn baby without its fearful mother helpibg me or changed a nappy in my life :-/
When I ask family/ friends about what I should expect in the first week they will tend to pawn me off with some crap that their child has always slept well/ you'll instantly know what to do etc etc. just want to know an average 24hour routine/ or lack of for a newborn. Ie is there any logic behind why you'd choose to have a shower first etc. how often do you bath your baby? I know ill get into my own routine but just curious as to what you did.
There will be no proper routine for a fair few weeks, in the beginning you just rest/recover with baby near to you as much as you can. Have you bought any baby books? Gina Fords contented little baby book is hated on MN for being too strict but I found the routine guides useful, then adapted it to my needs.
You can bath your baby when you want to. It also depends whether you bf or ff. Good luck x
There won't really be any kind of routine for the first couple of months, just go with what your baby wants. As a general rule, whenever he/she stirs or begins to cry, offer a boob if you're breastfeeding.
The most important thing anyone told me is that babies need LOTS of sleep. Upto 18 hours per day for a newborn. And only down to 16 hours by 3 months. As a newborn, this means that your baby will pretty much only be able to stay awake for about an hour/90 at a time - just enough time to feed, burp and change nappy. Then it will be back to sleep for an hour or two (if you're lucky!) and then repeat again! Keep an eye out for your baby looking tired (yawning, jerky limbs, red, bloodshot looking eyes, rubbing eyes) and put him/her down to sleep in the moses basket, swaddled in a blanket, before he'she falls asleep on you if you can! This will instill good sleeping habits.
I found that my DS seemed to follow the Baby Whisperer's "EASY" (eat, activity, sleep, you - as in, time for you) schedule quite naturally at first. Ie he fed, then we did an activity (when tiny this was literally just changing his nappy, as he got a few weeks older it would include some playtime), then he would sleep, leaving some time for me to recover!
I also knew absolutely nothing about babies before DS arrived and 16 weeks later I still feel pretty clueless most of the time. But we are muddling through and doing quite well I think
Just remember: even if the sleep deprivation is pretty terrible at the start (and it often is), your baby will change and grow and become more settled, sleeping in longer blocks at night as the weeks go by. He/she will not sleep like a newborn forever, this will pass!!
Good luck and enjoy
Things change really quickly so just feed 'em and let them sleep/snuggle for the first week or two, then regroup and have a quick search online for routines/rhythms if that's what you feel you need. You can always ignore them after you've read them!
I did a vague Baby Whisperer thing - it went Sleep, then Eat, then Play. Then Sleep, then Eat then Play... etc. The main thing I learnt in the early days was that babies can only stay awake for a REALLY short time (sometimes only 45min!) before needing to sleep again, and feeding is tiring for them.
I was a total baby novice too. You'll be absolutely fine.
Congratulations in advance!
Oh dear, 50 million x-posts with Dangermousy
Ask for help with the first nappy change in hospital, they're quite straightforward. The key is to pull the ruffs out around the legs or they will leak poo everywhere!
Also ask them to show you how to bath the baby, there are tricks here to make it less stressful. Don't bath the baby every day, it's a bit much for their skin and dries it out. You only need to wash them in water, no Johnsons required.
Ask for a 0-5 book if you don't get given one.
YouTube is handy, as is mumsnet!
Newborns don't have a routine, feed them when they want feeding (hunger cues are sticking their tongue out, chewing fists, screwing mouth to the side).
I spent the first year of my baby's life googling 'is this normal??' It usually was!
We had a copy of Your Baby Week by Week Guide by Simone Cave and I thought it was fab with DS. It's not a prescriptive book that tells you how to get your new arrival into a routine or anything but it just tells you (in very brief, short, simple paragraphs your dazed mind can just about take in!) stuff to look out for (like cluster feeding, sleep regression etc) and from what I remember the book did say you could start into a very general sleep training routine (just differentiating night from day for the baby) when they are around 2 weeks. There's not much point before that!
So the first few days / weeks are a very magical and exciting time but routines, meal times, everything is just completely out the window. If you're b/f, you will likely find it pretty uncomfortable at the start and it can take forever, either because baby is slow to latch on or just wants to feed alllll the time, people will visit and call in, make sure you have milk and biscuits for endless cups of tea, and you might be feeling pretty tired from lack of sleep and sore from delivery, so just make sure you have groceries ordered online with lots of easy ready meals and fruit to snack on, a few god magazines / boxsets to keep you entertained and lots of clean comfy clothes to wear as you will probably need to change several times a day (baby puke, boobs leaking, possibly some heavy bleeding down below).
Best of luck with it all - very exciting time Can't wait to do it all again in the summer!
If you're breastfeeding, you might be told by somebody well-meaning that the baby 'should' be stretching feeds to every 2.5 or 3 hours or whatever. This is almost always unrealistic. Put the baby to your breast anytime he or she squawks, and things will probably feel a lot less stressful for everyone.
Newborns crave closeness and contact with a warm body. If they always fall asleep on you and cry when you transfer them to a Moses basket, again, try not to get stressed about it and just give yourself over to being a human hot water bottle. They'll sleep alone in good time. (If you do really need a break and want to put them down to sleep, a good swaddle often helps. Google techniques for help with this.)
Accept all offers of help, but don't feel you have to hand over your baby if you don't want to. You are the mother. You (along with your OH) make the decisions.The best help is somebody stocking your fridge and doing your laundry. Do not feel like you should be looking after visitors.
The general gist of all my advice is try not to stress if the baby isn't a good sleeper, of if he/she wants to feed constantly, or if he/she doesn't like to be with anyone apart from mum and dad. Some babies are beautifully tranquil from the word go. Some, like my dd, aren't! They grow quickly, and I wish I hadn't wasted so much time and energy worrying that I was a terrible mum and had no knack for it just because she was demanding as a young baby. She's fabulous now and so easy. She just needed time!
Congratulations! Post back here anytime you need to have a little stress or rant!
Don't be afraid to ask, doesn't matter how silly the question sounds to you. In hosp the MW and HCAs have seen and heard it all so will point you in the right direction to begin with. After that MN, Community MW or HV are always about.
When you receive advice, try it and if it doesn't work for you "bin it".
Trust your instincts, and make time for you. Even if it is just five minutes putting your feet up instead of washing up/sorting washing/running duster round.
Take offers of help, all visitors make their own drinks and do a small job in return for a baby cuddle (worked for me and no one was offended).
noblegiraffe ha ha ha re 'is this normal' google - exactly the same.
OP, give it 6-8 weeks (or in my case 12 weeks) before the shock of suddenly being a mum to a real live baby wears off and you and your newborn get to know each other a bit and life starts to settle down.
Treat that first 3 months like the 4th trimester - stay in bed as much as you like, don't do any housework (or as little as possible to keep you sane), get all your friends to help you out, and - most importantly - do whatever you need to to survive. Baby in bed, fine; baby in a sling all day, fine; etc etc. You can always change things later and you're not 'setting up bad habits'.
If you plan to BF, prepare a list of people who you can ask for advice if you need it - local BF advisers, midwives etc.
Did you do antenatal classes? Get a list of people who will be new mums in same situation as you who you can get together with. Or look for new baby coffee mornings or whatever. Really useful to share th eexperience.
And remember they can arrive early so pack a hospital bag now (personal experience of being totally unprepared.)
Good luck - it's a whirlwind and I cried in the kitchen a lot but it's a hell of a lot of fun too. I had a year on mat leave and it was one of the best years of my life.
My biggest mistake was not putting my firstborn down to sleep all the time. My second was that I was obsessed with making sure house was perfect, i was perfect, dinner was perfect...and never caught up on any sleep. I never had one nap after he was born, so I was constantly tired, manic and stressing out, think I just slepwalked through the first year tbh.
So: Put him down as much as you can, and get back into bed as much as you can.
Or else you will end up like me, looking ninety and with a toddler who is still an awful sleeper!
Also I highly recommend using one of those toys with the hearbeat - my second son is so far a dream baby, and we play that at night time to help him sleep - it works wonders. We have really pushed sleeping this time around, and its all been so much easier. Good luck!
Google is great, but guaranteed to worry you to death too!
If you're breastfeeding, you may be feeding almost constantly at some points, especially in the evenings. As long as your baby is having wet/dirty nappies then you are okay and producing enough. Don't let family tell you otherwise!
Your milk might not come in until day 3.
Slings are great. A mei-tai or stretchy wrap or something that spreads the weight would be a good idea. Lets you get on with stuff.
The midwife mentioned letting them sleep in the moses basket or whatever during the day, rather than on you, so that they get used to sleeping by themselves IYSWIM. Honestly, I followed this about half the time and cradled the rest of the time and ds has no problems now. I found he would fall asleep anywhere as a newborn- don't think he cared as long as it was warm and soft.
We didn't bath DS for a week, just wiped with a warm cloth and dried immediately. He was fine and not smelly!
There is no routine in the early days. Just snuggle and watch some good box-sets and enjoy it. It is hard sometimes, almost surreal because it's so different to any other time in your life, but so, so lovely.
Most importantly, and this is a rant, RESTRICT VISTORS. If you can have even a day after you come home from hospital just for you and your new family, DO IT. I feel so strongly about this. When DS was born, I was so glad we had that day to get to know (stare soppily and snuggle with) DS first, before relatives came round. Unless you're living in a tribal society, where your ILs/parents will be looking after the baby from day one, you are the one who needs to bond with your baby first.
Of course a few days later, you may find you are standing in the corner of the living room with 7 of DH's relatives hogging all the seats passing the baby round for 2 hours. In this case, just say 'I'll take her/him now' when baby starts to cry and feed it. DO NOT wait for FIL to do his 'magic calming baby dance' in an attempt to quieten it. Or for MIL to try wind LO again. In other words, don't be a pushover like I was
New mother hormones are so strong- I honesty found this the hardest part about the early days. That you just know what is wrong with your baby and the more experienced GPs have forgotten what this is like. My MIL was always shocked when DS stopped crying when I took him. She couldn't work it out. 'What did he want?', she'd ask. I felt like saying 'His Mother, obviously!'
They love your baby and just want to help, but show a confident front and it will help in the long run.
Sorry for the long post,
Best of luck with everything OP!
Lots of great tips already. Remember your baby has been in a safe warm place for 9 months and has never been cold, hungry or lonely so there's nowt wrong with keeping them close and feeding whenever they make a squeak- you cannot spoil a newborn and you can't overfeed a breastfed baby.
If you decide to co-sleep (and it may save your sanity) then make sure you look up the safety guidelines. It's perfectly safe if you take a few precautions. Learning to BF lying down is also very helpful but takes a few goes to get the hang of it.
Slings are great for fussy babies but avoid the crappy Baby Bjorn types. Cluster feeding in the evening is normal, just relax on the sofa and get someone to bring you food and drinks.
The most important thing I'd say is to ENJOY it!! They really do change so quickly and that lovely sleepy, cuddly newborn phase is very short! Don't stress about sleep routines etc initially - just go with what feels right for you, there's plenty of time to adjust things. If you haven't read any books I found Gina Ford useful (hated the idea of a strict routine and didn't actually follow the programme but some of the advice is good, and I found it helpful to know vaguely what sort of sleeping pattern they should be in at each age) and also The Baby Whisperer. Only other tip would be to try swaddling if your baby doesn't settle well - DS used a swaddle until he was a few months old. We didn't get on well using a blanket - found one of the purpose made velcro types much better. Good luck!
Girls thank you so much for taking the time to reply! Just so helpful to read honest experiences!
I'm definitely giving breastfeeding a good go. I'm totally determined to make it work for us!
Unfortunately me and hubby are living a plane journey away from all our support group (apart from mother in law who is 45 mins away groan) so we're pretty much totally alone for now. His mother is already interfering about bottle feeding etc saying how much better it would be as bf gives her 'the heebs and ruins your boobs'... Charming.. I should add she looks like a leather handbag from too many years in the sun (think magda from something about Mary) ... Actually can we just make this post slmewhere for me to rant about my mother in law?!? Hahahaha
Routines are fine, but don't go hoping for a schedule. Babies don't do them! Seconding the Baby Whisperer as a very helpful book even when not followed strictly.
DD is three and a half weeks old, and so far the routine seems to be: wake up a bit, wriggle and whimper, snooze a bit more; join the wide awake club and start shouting for food; eat, whimper, burp, cover mother in milk, eat, burp, fall asleep with bottle in mouth; nappy change and looking-around-and-wriggling time (that counts as activity, right?); reapply swaddle, insert dummy, baby in basket, keep reinserting dummy for half an hour, consider investing in duct tape; sleep for a couple of hours. This seems to be a pretty standard routine.
Also seconding swaddling - it's hard to sleep when random flappy things are flailing around and hitting you in the face! Also the nappy ruffles. If they are caught in the elastic it will be messy.
Expect a massive attack of hormonal weeping in the latter half of the first week. And if you're planning to breastfeed, bear in mind it's not always as easy as just opening mouth and inserting nipple - on the March postnatal thread it's amazing how many of us have had problems, and while there's support available you have to push for it. So realistic expectations there will help in the long run.
I cannot advise on baths. DD's father does them as I can't cope with the screaming. But after a few baths they get used to it. You'll be fine.
Go with the flow ...enjoy it ...get the hospital to show you how to change a nappy, feed and bath them before you go home...but actually you can't really get much wrong - don't worry about outfits for them - just leave them in their babygrow...and feed, cuddle to sleep as much as you like.
You will get baby blues a few days after birth - crying for no (or not much) reason...it is not PND! (although obviously if you are worried tell the MW/HV)
I had really no idea - in my early 30s, no family around, had been a professional person - thought I should be able to do this - it all seemed so complicated!
Remember getting DD1 dressed to take home (with 3 day baby blues) and being in floods of tears asking a MW if you put a vest and a babygrow on - did they wear both at the same time?
Don't bath them everyday (this played havoc with DD1s skin - sorted at 4 yo when started doing 2 baths a week!) - don't be afraid to get a bit of water in their face (DD1 was a nightmare at baths etc cos of this - poor DD2 got submerged from birth)
And take it easy ... really don't do more than you have to - housework is so unimportant...as is washing - don't wear your best clothes and don't get DC or you changed cos of a minute splash of milk - you will get more puke/poo on you - and it will get worse with snotty noses and weaning time...and small stains on clothes aren't the end of the world...
When DD had leaked poo out the side of her nappy and left a small mark on my bed- home visit midwife turned up as I was changing the sheets and told me off - I should have just put an old towel over it - I was horrified! (I've just put a towel over a small amount of DD2s (6) watery vomit on my sheets and slept on it with her - know better than changing sheets at 3 o'clock in morning with a sick child who is more than likely to do it again ...and you will cope better with said sick child the next day if you have at least dozed a bit... )
Oh and the MN tip I see flagged up a lot - (can't believe people didn't realise this) - baby vests can be taken off over their bottoms - you don't need to struggle getting poo soaked vests over their heads!
Speaking as someone who has/is mixed fed two DD's try not to get too hung up on breastfeeding as some sort of symbol of success or failure in your skills as a mother. If you run into any problems, you will just give yourself unnecessary angst. BF is best imo but formula is not poison and it is more important that you have a thriving child.
Both my DD's lost too much weight and needed supplementing. I had a CS with the first and my milk took 5 days to come in. She was rapidly developing a bad case of jaundice. The second was a VBAC, milk came in immediately but she was 3 weeks early, tiny and just not interested. Because there was lots of milk and she was suckling but not feeding I thought all was well even as she turned yellow, was hospitalised and bottle fed bm and formula for 3-4 weeks. In both cases I beat myself up, compared myself unfavourably to peers who seemed to be finding it v straightforward.
So - my lessons learned the hard way
Plan on BFing and read about technique and behaviour before you have the baby - try Kellymom website it is very very useful.
Have a starter kit of Aptamil in the house or similar (it has presterilised teats)
If you plan to express, you will need a sterilizer or microwave bags anyway.
Read expressing instructions and pre-sterilize stuff and have it ready. Have a play if you want to induce labour We had to take my expressing machine to hospital with DD2 as there was only one on the whole ward so I was constantly hunting it down for the marathon express, feed, 30 mins off, clean and sterilize start again.
If you are in any doubt as to whether the nappy is wet, then it isn't wet enough - talk to your HV and get the baby weighed. It should feel heavy so don't listen to any guff about the miracle absorbancy of disposable nappies.
Start expressing as soon as you have the energy and can find a window between feeds. Switch the suction back and forth between breasts a couple of times. Medela USA website is useful. Ignore stuff about creating too much supply, you can't have too much of the stuff unless you like a crying baby and your supply will settle down in time.
If you plan on having more children, write stuff down - you'll forget most of the useful stuff before the second one turns up
I honestly think that nipple confusion is utter bollocks if you will excuse my language and that was the opinion of the paediatrian at the hospital. My DD2 was bottle fed for 4-5 weeks and as soon as she was strong enough to bf well, made her preference for feeds with snuggles pretty strong. I can hear her right now refusing a feed with her nanny so I had better scarper.
Best of luck. I had loads of experience and still screwed lots of it up. Mumsnet is your friend especially at 3 in the morning. Buy a smartphone - it's essential.
Post natal clothes in white and cream are your friend - they don't show up the milky puke
Don't get too hung up with routines. I tried doing Gina Ford and the Baby Whisperer. DD didn't agree with both at all. So don't get upset if your baby decided she doesn't like EASY. My DD preferred ESESESES without any A. Even a nappy change cannot keep her awake (I see many people recommends these two).
My only advice is if your newborn cries, 1) check to see if nappy is pooey, 3) check if she is too cold/hot by touching her chest, 3) try feeding. If it's none of the above, then probably you need a bit of rocking, cuddling etc. I don't believe you can spoil a newborn.
I can tell you from experience that "nipple confusion" is not utter bollocks.
My DS would not under any circumstances drink from a bottle. When he was christened I expressed milk so someone else could feed him while I was running around.
He would not take milk from the bottle. He only stopped screaming when I took him and B/F him. He still wouldn't drink from the bottle when I tried to give it to him.
Back then, it was generally said that you fed the baby every 4 hours. No one told me that it took 3 hours to feed him and then one hour later you had to start all over again. (This did settle down after 8 or 9 weeks).
DD on the other hand was the same in that she wouldn't drink from a bottle but she would feed really quickly and then sleep for 4-5 hours then wake for another feed.
I really thought that there was something wrong with her because she went so long between feeds.
Lots of great advice on this thread. I second making sure you have the green NHS birth to five book. I also found a breast feeding booklet really useful, called 'mothers and others guide '
Expect to cry at everything about 3/4 days after you have the baby.
If they are crying, they probably ARE hungry again.
The first night home from hospital will be horrendous and the baby probably won't sleep but it will get better the next night and progressively better in the following nights.
Don't worry about tidying the house.
You will get irritated with people telling you to rest when the baby does.
Stay in your pyjamas and don't offer to make visitors tea.
Don't feel you have to pass your baby round like an ornament to visitors, keep him close to you and sniff him all day!!
Oh and ignore everyone, except the doctor, who tells you he might need 'cooled, boiled water'.