Eeeek first time mum needing help!

(155 Posts)
Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Tue 02-Apr-13 09:22:44

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.
Many thanks!

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Tue 02-Apr-13 23:12:43

Haha tinysleepy my mother in law is already asking when ill move on from breastfeedingand baby isn't even here yet!
Very glad I started this thread, lots of help! Thankyou! Xx

goingwildforcrayons Wed 03-Apr-13 01:24:39

My advice

1. Buy truck loads of dry shampoo
2. No unplanned visitors - it will drive you mad the way people want to pop round all the time. I made DH send away his brother and GF once.
3. Everyone thinks they are an effin expert. No-one will know your child better than you. Trust your instinct. You will learn to spot clues. My MIL doubted that my DS was teething, as she'd had 4 kids and so was an expert. Guess what appeared in DS mouth a week later...
4. Frequent mumsnet visits - to confirm that a) its normal, b) someone will have/had it worse, and c) quite frankly some of the funny stories will help you keep your sanity.
5. Kids are like little versions of us. Whilst routines are great, sometimes baby might want a bit more/less food, be a bit grumpy if they have a cold etc.
6. Teething sucks.
7. Calpol
8. Don't bother with loads of cute clothes that are fiddly to put on a squirmy baby and a pain to dry. Vests and sleepsuits are great and can usually go in the dryer if needed.
9. Dirty nappies are not as bad as everyone makes out, when it is your own child. When its someone elses, it makes you want to vom.
10. You will cry over bizarre things. It is normal.
11. Get used to drinking a full cup of tea now, it won't happen again for another 9 months.
12. You do not need to get them weighed and measured religiously every week unless there is a medical issue. It is unnecessary faff to strip them off to then have them pee everywhere and the HV look at you as if you have committed a terrible crime.

Enjoy your little treasure when they arrive.

Chottie Wed 03-Apr-13 07:14:56

Please enjoy getting to know your baby and just spend time being a family together. I did not have a 'text book baby' who slept through the night, they both fed on demand and I spent a lot of time cuddling them and sniffing them.

Fast forward 25 years and they grew up fine, despite their mother and her inexperience. grin

PetWoman Wed 03-Apr-13 07:48:15

Congratulations, and best of luck for the birth. Lots of good advice here already. I just wanted to add that before I became a mother, I didn't realise how important a baby's sleep was - for the mum, never mind the baby! If your baby sleeps well at night then so do you, and you can retain a vestige of your old life / interests during the day while they're napping. However, a baby that sleeps well seems to be more down to luck or their personality than anything you do. So fingers crossed you get a sleepy one! But one thing which I wish I'd known is that most babies don't just fall asleep when they're tired - they cry instead. So you have to help them - maybe with a feed (though you can end up being used as a dummy and unable to put the baby down, in which case your smartphone is your friend wink ) or with cuddles, or rocking, or a vibrating chair, or a car / pram journey, or a swaddle, or a dummy... Whatever works for you and your baby. Good luck!

waterrat Wed 03-Apr-13 09:23:45

I had read all the books on breastfeeding, but still found it agonising at first - I was very lucky that my local area has great support, including a specialist BF midwife who came to our home and sat with me just to help - without all that help, who knows whether I would have kept going?

If you want to do it, then I want to pass on my personal advice which is to make sure you have real life support - it gets so, so much easier after the first month but it does take a few weeks sometimes (not always) to settle in, cluster feeding is normal, there is no set time your baby 'should ' go between feeds - read the Kellymom website and be prepared to ignore your MIL.
having said all that if you feel absolutely knackered, want a break and want to give a bottle then do it! stay sane, do what you need to ..

and ..prioritise sleep above all else.

HeavenlyWineandRoses Wed 03-Apr-13 09:50:00

If you want to breastfeeding, read "The food of love". Wonderful book, funny and helpful.

My best advice is that you ignore the rest of the books. I was a very insecure first time mum and read too many books and they all made me feel like I was getting it wrong. It's been said a hundred times but you do really need to try to trust yourself and your instinct.

Good luck!

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 03-Apr-13 09:56:35

I haven't got time to read all messages, and sure this has been said before, but I WISH someone has told me that babies shouldn't be awake for more than 90 mins or so. Lots of babies will fall asleep when they need to, but neither of mine did, with the result that dd1 got horribly overtired and cried constantly. With dd2, I have forced her to sleep often (by rocking, bouncing, feeding, sling, whatever!) and I can't tell you how much easier it has been.

Oh, and you will be feeding constantly if bf. It's shit, but it does get better so hang in there.

I also quite like Gina Ford's sleep schedules - not for the v early weeks, and not adhered to strictly, but both of mine responded really well to having a decent routine, and the timings of her books are good, if a little restrictive for you! Feeding routine is useless if you are bfing IMO.

Ooh, exciting times and congratulations in advance on your pending new arrival. Much has already been said, but here's my tuppence-worth too:

I bf-ed all the time. All the time for weeks and weeks.

I was very tearful for weeks too. Keep an eye on this however, as although I was ok by 10 weeks, I was a bit low for a while (turned out, my LO had severe reflux, so our first three months were a challenge at times).

Don't let if possible others hog the baby/hold him/her/generally fuss too much for too long when still tiny. It's so much for them to cop with and they can get so overwhelmed. We still have this issue with PIL 7 months in and it's a nightmare at times, as he never gets any peace when they're about.

Take LO into the bathroom in a buzzy chair. Mine loved the noise of the shower, the warmth and the general ambience. And it meant I could wash...

Look after your boobs. Pop on Lansinoh nipple cream all the time, as it really makes a difference. It's a wierd yet amazing feeling when your milk arrives around day 3! I was so excited and woke up DH to show him my wet vest top smile Kellymom website is very good.

Everyone will tell you to sleep with LO does. I never really managed this, but rest if you can sometimes.

You can express milk from v early on, and it can help if you'd like LO to take a bottle later on. We didn't have any nipple confusion (Mam bottles are very good). But this is a matter of personal taste and one for you to decide as and when.

We didn't bath our baby that much at all for first two months. In the first few weeks, it was maybe once a week, with a swab over each day with a clean warm flannel. once he was about 7 or 8 weeks, we upped baths and by 3 months, every night.

Don't let HVs or GPs bully you. I was asked in mid Feb when LO had his first bad cold and cough if I was a first time mother which bugged me. It turned out to be a chest infection that needed antibiotics, so even if I had 12 children, I'd still have called in. Ring them as often as you need to to get your baby looked at. You'll know instinctively if something's not right. We were in the surgery a lot when he was tiny due to reflux as he was miserable for weeks and weeks.

Sorry, this is very long!

Lots of luck with everything, you'll be great smile

Teachercreature Wed 03-Apr-13 11:48:56

Great piece of advice someone once gave me - write off the first three months! They do more or less pass in a sleepy blur - don't feel bad, don't worry if you stay in your pjs, just go with it.

Re breastfeeding - always good to try but DON'T beat yourself up if you can't for whatever reason. The nipple/bottle confusion may happen to some babies but not all - my DD had both from birth (she couldn't latch on, we thought due to a very difficult birth) and she was fine. One bottle of formula at bedtime helped her go longer between feeds. Others can struggle though - they are all different.

Have confidence in yourself and your instincts. I was petrified at first but I soon learned - you will be the one who knows your baby best. Yes use Google, but don't overrule your own common sense.

And be aware there are different schools of thought re baby care, hence some conflicting advice on here. In summary, here they are:
1) Baby led - baby sleeps and eats whenever and wherever baby wants/needs. Pros - happy contented baby, cons - if baby's natural routine doesn't fit yours you may end up utterly exhausted. Oh and if you then want to put baby in a nursery can be a very tough transition. NCT produced a book called something Contented Little Baby on the theory.
2) Routine led - the Gina Ford school of thought. Pros - you know exactly what's happening when. Cons - a bit like boot camp for baby. And what do you do if baby does NOT sleep for those 45 mins precisely?! And you can be a slave to routine since one of the requirements is sleeping with blackout blinds etc.
3) A more flexible pattern/routine - like Tracy Hoggs Baby Whisperer advocates. So you keep to a pattern of eating/activity/sleep, but don't worry too much over the timings. Pros - you and baby both tend to know what's going on. Cons - some babies don't fit to any routine or pattern, and again there is the slave to routine risk.

There are passionate advocates of all three, so I am not going to preach one over the other. I've seen that all three can work for different people. But I will pass on some more great advice someone gave me - which one sounds more you? Are you flexible and laidback and happy to co-sleep? Or are you someone who feels the need for structure - and if so to what extent? Also be happy to mix and match a little as suits you - so try one, and if it doesn't work - don't do it! (I read all three books before deciding.)

Also, I know this sounds a bit strange right now, but bear in mind the baby part is actually a fairly small part of your child's life. Once you're past the first real baby bit - start as you mean to go on. You as a parent will be the most important teacher your child ever has, and will look to you for guidance. Think about what you hope for your child as an adult, and aim to get there on a gentle gradient. You're not just having a baby - you're having a person.

And finally, having my DD was the best thing I ever did. I never knew I could love someone like I love her, and I wish you all the very very best and much joy!

joolsangel Wed 03-Apr-13 12:28:25

this sounds like a cliche and not very helpful - but just enjoy the first few weeks/months and you will find your feet perfectly well on your own. everyone wants to give advice based on their experience. you dont have to listen. do what suits you. i was totally useless around the house before my baby was born, i was rubbish at housework, couldnt cook at all. the minute my baby was born i suddenly got into housework and can now cook. its so important that you dont have a house full of visitors all the time. this was something that i deeply regret. from the day i came home from hosp with my baby my inlaws were sitting in my front room waiting for us and i had asked that they give us at least one night so i could get to know my baby. they didnt. everyone completely ignored my wishes. i had both families staying with us at different times and friends coming round for hours on end. the first day i didnt have a houseful or people staying over at ours was when my baby was 6 weeks old and i felt so resentful of everyone. i just wanted a bit more time to relax and get to know my baby and for everyone to stop telling me what to do all the time. your hormones will be all over the place and its such a special time. enjoy time with your baby, when he cries, feed him/her. top him up just before you go to bed at night to help him sleep and rest at every possible moment you can when he is sleeping. and give him lots of cuddles and allow him lots of time to rest on his own so he doesnt rely being snuggled up to you all the time to sleep. the rest will fall into place. and good luckk!

orangebuccaneer Wed 03-Apr-13 13:32:18

Not much to add except that you should learn how to smile and nod.... When MIL/random strangers give you 'advice' which you think is a load of rubbish, just smile and nod. Smile and nod. A lot less effort than debating it..

And I never ever had a routine. I found that the baby would need changing, by which point I'd need to put on some laundry, by which point it was feed time, whereupon the baby feel asleep etc etc. So my day kind of just fell into place.

And I agree that you should limit visitors. Just. Say. No. Enjoy the first few weeks of your new family. Then let other people in.

Honestly within a week or two you'll be a pro.

orangebuccaneer Wed 03-Apr-13 13:42:52

Oh and this might be controversial or confusing for you (hope not), but I still don't believe in mother's instinct, at least not for me.

I was told repeatedly that I'd 'know' when something was wrong and I don't. I thought #1 was struggling to breathe and rushed her to A&E - turns out she was just very deeply asleep. And I thought #2 was doing fine - turns out he was developing severe jaundice. So my radar is rubbish (although I don't regret taking #1 to A&E - better to be safe than sorry).

Not sure what my advice would be here other than to always go to your doctor's appointments (where #2's jaundice was spotted - at a routine check-up) and not to worry if you're not sure about something: get a second opinion.

freddykins Wed 03-Apr-13 13:57:06

Great reassurance from everyone here! First baby due in 2 weeks and you've all helped a lot. Making sure to restrict visitors is a great tip and one I'd not thought of, so thanks everyone.

FergusSingsTheBlues Wed 03-Apr-13 15:00:12

I agree about the visitors and restricting them, but would ad that if you are having a c section, it would be MUCH easier to have daily help and not to worry about it. We stayed with my mum for ten days, it meant that there was room for the inlaws to visit without us all being on top of eachother and it took away a lot of pressure ie i got to spend loads of time with my eldest who was v jealous.

My husband got frustrated but I knew that he would not have been particularly proactive on emptying loading dishwasher etc and that would have led to frustration. At the end of the day, you made the baby and no matter what method he is born - its your body that goes through the process so do what feels right for you.

MrsMarigold Wed 03-Apr-13 16:57:10

Breastfeeding can be hard but do what you want not what everyone tells you if it isn't right for you give a bottle and don't self-flagelate.

Also have lots of cuddles on your chest - that phase is so brief.

Get some good ready meals in before you have the baby chances are you won't feel much like cooking.

Have lots of snacks in your hospital bag.

Phineyj Wed 03-Apr-13 17:09:01

This is good for avoiding dehydration during labour & afterwards, especially if you end up having a c-section. Hospitals are so hot!

www.nctshop.co.uk/The-Hydrant-Maternity-Pack/productinfo/2050/

racheael76 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:00:21

a babies main need is for food,comfort and love.provide all 3.when she cries she certainately needs attention. give it to her .a loving ,caring relationship between mother and baby is the first step of making a happy contented child.
if baby has fed,burped and is still crying often rocking is all thats needed to calm her down.if she is still crying try the elevator move .
hold baby facing you firmly against your upper body.then try and duplicate the effect you experience when you are on a elevator and stop gently.do this simplyby bending your knees 5 times or 10 times.
when a baby comes into the world he is hes figuring out where am i?whats going on?whats going to happen next? thats because he cant see ,he cant hear well and he cant feel well.so talk calm gentle,comfort feed to make baby more comfortable.it is hard work for a new mum to do as you dont have time for yourself.but baby will soon feel loved and confident giving him 100% attention this means no showers ask parents/friends for help support.you and your baby both need time to recover i wouldnt like to be in another world not knowing what was happening i would be scared especially with no sight bright light after being in the dark your baby might like things he heard while inside you patting his bum will remind him of your heartbeat,rocking will stimulate when you use to walk,he may like your voice and the sound of the hoover and hairdryer these sounds and actions may calm him as he may remmeber them.your baby will need so much love and attention this will make you tired ask for help and support from friends .good luck and enjoy every precious moment.x
tip---held,cuddled,warmth,security,your undivided attention.babies have no understanding for the first five months so you cannot spoil them.

MrsMarigold Wed 03-Apr-13 21:01:59

Also I feel obliged to say this - not all mums feel love for their babies straight away. I absolutely resented my DS until he was about eight weeks old and did not feel much love towards him, same with DD - now I love them both to bits so don't feel guilty if you don't feel a sudden overwhelming rush of love.

Also over the next few years you will wash your hands more than you ever have before - so bulk buy some good but inexpensive hand cream.

And finally the weather might be freezing at the moment but hospitals are often very hot so prepare for various micro-climates and take a summer nightie just in case.

Shakey1500 Wed 03-Apr-13 21:04:00

I know you've asked for newborn advice but can I just throw this one in for toddlers for you to store for later on? It's a well known one but it helped me ENORMOUSLY and once I'd "mastered" the art it was like a light going on grin

Pick your battles.
Pick your battles.
Pick your battles.

So good I wrote it thrice. Congratulations grin

orangebuccaneer Wed 03-Apr-13 21:23:02

Last one I promise.

Smell your newborn. They have a beautiful beautiful smell in the first few weeks, and then they smell beautifully of milk... It's amazing.

SkyBlueSky Wed 03-Apr-13 21:41:12

If in doubt FEED. Keep spare change mats all over the place in case you need to put the baby down somewhere safe quickly. Get a comfy sling and use it as much as you can, win-win as baby feels snuggled and you have two spare hands to eat/text/read/origami. I'm not pro routine in general existence, but actually having a reasonably firm bed time and routine (dead simple = nappy off, bath, drink, story, bed) from two months was a sanity saver for the whole fam. It could go to sh!t all day, but at least we knew where we were come 6pm. Congratulations too BTW.

flaminhoopsaloolah Wed 03-Apr-13 21:50:25

Don't be hard on yourself, follow your instincts, take visitors when you feel ready to, so long as there isn't mould growing in the kitchen or toilet don't worry.

bealos Wed 03-Apr-13 21:55:12

Stay in bed with baby for the first week if you can. Don't give a fig about housework and visitors. You'll never get that time back. Just snuggle, feed and sleep!

Babies breastfeed for more than just hunger - it's comfort, it's reassurance, it's their world!

I wish someone had told me before having my first, that lochia (bleeding) after having a baby for 4-6 weeks is normal.

Some babies love baths (mine does) and I enjoy taking her in with me in the big bath (with dp on hand to help) as she loves to kick around in the water.

Oh, and breastfeeding can be REALLY BLOODY HARD WORK. Stick at it if you're determined to bf and ask for help or go to drop ins if you're finding it hard.

cuppateaanyone Thu 04-Apr-13 06:53:14

If you don't immediately love or like your baby it's okay......it took me a couple of months, yes I looked after him and did my best and would never have let him go but I didn't particularly like him.
Looking back I had huge issues with loss of control and felt very frustrated all the time.

RuckAndRoll Thu 04-Apr-13 11:10:30

Thanks for this thread, I'm reading with interest. DC1 due to arrive in August.

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