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!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 02-Apr-13 09:35:01

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

DangerMousey Tue 02-Apr-13 09:41:42

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 smile

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 smile

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 blush

noblegiraffe Tue 02-Apr-13 09:44:51

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 grin Can't wait to do it all again in the summer!

almonds Tue 02-Apr-13 10:12:44

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! smile Post back here anytime you need to have a little stress or rant!

sweetiesue Tue 02-Apr-13 10:15:08

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).

OhGood Tue 02-Apr-13 10:17:24

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.

FergusSingsTheBlues Tue 02-Apr-13 10:19:09

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!

GummyAdams Tue 02-Apr-13 10:37:35

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 hoursangry. 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 wasgrin
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!

EauRouge Tue 02-Apr-13 10:39:31

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.

onceipopicantstop Tue 02-Apr-13 10:42:04

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! smile

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Tue 02-Apr-13 11:15:04

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

StormyBrid Tue 02-Apr-13 11:26:52

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. smile

unlucky83 Tue 02-Apr-13 11:46:25

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) 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? blush
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 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!

oscarwilde Tue 02-Apr-13 11:50:01

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 shock
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 smile 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 smile

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.

oscarwilde Tue 02-Apr-13 11:51:19

Post natal clothes in white and cream are your friend - they don't show up the milky puke grin

EauRouge Tue 02-Apr-13 11:53:05

Here's something for your MIL grin

See if there's an LLL group near you, or some other breastfeeding support. It's nice to know what's normal even if you don't have any problems (and lots of women don't!). The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a really good BF book or you could just look on Kellymom.

OneLittleToddleTerror Tue 02-Apr-13 12:02:05

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.

coralanne Tue 02-Apr-13 12:09:19


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.

KB02 Tue 02-Apr-13 12:11:11

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 '

Pinkflipflop Tue 02-Apr-13 12:22:05

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!! grin

Pinkflipflop Tue 02-Apr-13 12:23:26

Oh and ignore everyone, except the doctor, who tells you he might need 'cooled, boiled water'.

almonds Tue 02-Apr-13 12:38:30

just on the breastfeeding, OP, if you can use these last few days to read up about it as much as possible, and have a look on the breastfeeding board here too - that'll help. Try to get your DH to get interested in this too - your job is to feed the baby, his is to feed and water you. He'll be refilling your pint glass of water constantly!

While you're still in hospital, get a midwife to show you how to feed lying down. If you can't get the baby to latch properly the first time you try to feed on your own, ring the bell, and say to your mw 'please help me to latch baby on again.' You're not bugging them - this is important.

Finally - that first night with your baby on your own. If you're in hospital, it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed and scared when your baby cries in the middle of the night! I had been told to clean new bums only with boiled water and cotton wool, but feck me I got out my pack of wipes very quickly at 2am when I saw the extent of the meconium poo! I also just brought baby into the hospital bed with me because it was the only way she would sleep. I didn't sleep much but I might have if I'd known that you can put up the sides of the hospital bed - duh! Some midwives won't like you co-sleeping in hospital but mine just turned a blind eye.

Re. MIL - practice smiling and nodding NOW grin. If she's the type to burst in and demand to cuddle baby constantly, let her cuddle a bit but then just be very specific about what else she can help you with, e.g. oh MIL is there any way you would whip us up a batch of your lovely soup, it'd be perfect right now...Etc.

unlucky83 Tue 02-Apr-13 12:39:05

coralanne/oscarwilde - I don't think nipple confusion exists...
DD1 BF exclusively until going to nursery at 3 months - part-time at first - she would take a bottle of BM from nursery staff no problem but not from DP looking after her at home - I (called home from work - and probably worst person in the world to do it) tried and it took a lot of screaming (and tears from mesad) before she did and once she did then she would from DP too - she then happily BF at home to 18 months and FF at nursery. (Actually if you do plan to express - do it early and build up a supply in freezer - I was never very good at it and ended up FF DD1 at nursery cos not enough BM).

DD2 - BF within 20 mins of birth but slept 'too much' for first two days ... she kept being 'jerky' when awake - MW sent her to hospital for glucose test- they didn't do it, said she'd lost too much weight, I should have woken her to feed her and if she didn't feed then and there I would have to give her a bottle of formula...cue tears (in their staff coffee room with people coming and going) as I desperately tried to get her to stay awake and BF. In the end they gave her a bottle of formula (I refused to do it and think she had actually just woken up more then) and I went to shops on way home and bought formula thinking she would never BF again - she did - in fact I had to stop her at 2 yo... (also discovered 1) she hadn't lost anywhere near 10% of birth weight - it wasn't such a big panic angry 2) that they'd changed the packaging on the decaff coffee I had been knocking back - it wasn't decaff - and that was probably why she was so twitchy blush

xlatia Tue 02-Apr-13 12:39:49

Congrats, first of all! I have to say that I'm a bit jealous, I'm due with DS2 in a couple of weeks time and know that I'll miss the snuggly cuddle time I had with DS1 in the first weeks. Don't think that'll be an option with a toddler wreaking havoc... anyway, I disgress...
Most important thing, try to enjoy it! Your world will change completely and for good but I found embracing that fact helped a lot. And YY to getting as much support as possible, not necessarily from family (your MIL sounds charming - not) but NCT, La Leche League (they're ace for everything to do with breastfeeding!). Did you do an ante-natal class? I know a lot of people despise them, but I'm still good friends with the people I met there and having someone to hand who's going to similar things can be very helpful, even at times if it's just for a good vent!
But then don't waste energy fretting over what others told you, if something works for you then it's fine, honestly! That basically goes for everything: sleeping, feeding, you name it.
If you like to do some reading, I found Miriam Stoppard's "baby care" book full of practical things (cutting finger nails and getting them dressed with minimum amount of faff etc.) and not patronising at all. also, "the womanly art of breastfeeding" which is published by La Leche League.

CrystalQueen Tue 02-Apr-13 12:52:27

I had never even held a baby before DD was born. There's lots of good advice here. One thing we did was have a bedtime routine of bath, feed, bed from quite early on - it made us feel like we were doing something, even if DD didn't quite grasp the sleep after bed part.
There's no right way of doing things - I remember being confronted by the 1000000 studs on DD's babygro and panicking, but she didn't care if the studs were a bit skew, or when I put her vest on backwards.

Quak Tue 02-Apr-13 12:57:30

OP, I'll outline what I did/what happened to me in the first few weeks.

Came home from hospital, sat on the sofa and fed tiny dd. Got up a month later.

Ok, a little flippant, but essentially that was all I did - sat and fed. When she was awake I talked to her, pulled faces at her and sang to her, all in my arms. I let dd sleep on me, I carried her about all the time. Dh brought me food but I hardly ate anything for the first month. I had no appetite at all, but was thirsty (bf does this)
No routine but I went to bed about 9pm and put her in the cot to sleep. I went to bed then and slept too. She woke every 3 hours for a feed and I got her up properly about 8am. I changed her clothes in the morning - an attempt at a cue for a new day. I didn't bathe her until she was a week old. It was suggested to me that all the sticky goo from birth is good for the skin, so I only cleaned her bum and face.
She was, and still is fed to sleep. I don't care if that is wrong or not. It works for us.
I cried every day for about 6 weeks but was anything but unhappy!
Take lots of pictures and videos and have lots of nice things to read and watch on tv.
Good luck and congratulations smile

Quak Tue 02-Apr-13 13:02:17

Oh, not changed all her clothes, sorry. I just meant I changed from a 'night' babygro into a 'day' baby gro. And re-use them if they're clean. I left her vest on for a couple of days at a time if it didn't get puked on.
Babies do not really like getting dressed and undressed so don't make more work for yourself!

xlatia Tue 02-Apr-13 13:09:56

quak your DD could go several DAYS in one babygro? shock My DS managed to puke and/or poo on fresh clothes within a matter of hours (and yes, we did have a muslin to hand all the time), so 4 complete changes of clothes were the norm at our house for the first couple of weeks. actually, come to think of it, make that months...

Xmasbaby11 Tue 02-Apr-13 13:11:39

Lots of great advice above.

The most important thing to say is that your baby is an individual, and you tend to learn the general truths, but these may not be true for your baby.

e.g. your milk can come in late (mine - 7 days)
newborns do not all sleep 18+hours a day. DD was very alert from the off and slept 16 hours max after the first week or two. There is nothing wrong with her and she quickly fell into a good routine, just never napped more than 3-4 hours in the day.

rungichungi Tue 02-Apr-13 13:13:49

My ds is 15 weeks old so I'm hardly an experienced mum but I really wish someone had told me:

1) not to stress too much about ANYTHING when they're tiny. My mum's a HV and put the fear of god into me about sleep routines but when they're tiny just enjoy holding them and cuddling them.

2) the first 6 weeks are tough tough tough (for me anyhow) and its okay to think 'what have I done??!!' I thought I had made the worst decision of my life ...and then he smiled and it was all worth it.

3) it gets better when they smile!

4) you might take a while to heal. I'm still not 100%, and that coupled with no sleep is hard, so take it easy and cocoon.

5) accept all offers of help. Have no pride! If close friends or family come around get them to Hoover / wash the dishes. Do not make them tea!

6) before visitors come around, tell them they have a time limit. I always made up something about feeding time / bath time / nap time and if they still didn't leave after an hour and a half, got out my boob which scared them off!

7) have lots of baths. This will help you heal and give you time to yourself.

8) you can read too many books! Trust your instincts, the experts aren't necessarily right for your baby.

9) try to enjoy it. Each day I have to consciously decide I am going to enjoy my baby and do everything I can to have fun with him... even if it means feeding him to sleep and carrying him around in a sling all day!

Phew, got that all off my chest! Just remember, you don't have to be the perfect mum, just good enough!

PetiteRaleuse Tue 02-Apr-13 13:31:47

Yes it really does get better when they start smiling. A night of red faced screaming (either you or the baby) is cancelled out by one gummy grin. Fact.

Don't worry too much about milestones. Both mine ignore them. Only be concerned if your doctor is concerned. You mum or mum in law's comments about what whoever was doing at whatever age should just be ignored.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 02-Apr-13 13:33:16

Bonding doesn't happen instantly for all of us. Please don't worry if at the beginning you look at your baby and don't feel the rush that people describe. It can come later, not having it immediately does not make you a bad mum.

happynappies Tue 02-Apr-13 13:54:33

You can feel like you are 'falling through the day' with your first, which is why so many people suggest having a shower, even if baby cries - get yourself ready and you'll feel better. Get out if you can - if mother and baby groups are a bit ambitious to begin with, get baby in sling or pram and walk around the block, it really helps you to feel 'normal'. Speaking as someone who has had four babies in the past six years, our 'routine' of having to walk to school in the morning and afternoon, and having a fixed tea/bath/bedtime for the older children helps you to manage a young baby. Not that a baby reads the routine, internalises it and falls in with it, but it gives you a sort of framework to work from. I have bf all four, and although is can be hard, it gets easier, and as long as you feed them when they squawk as someone said up thread, it is less stressful going with the flow rather than worrying about making a rod for your own back, which you honestly can't do with a teeny baby. When you're standing in a supermarket bribing you 5 year old to stop tantrumming, helpful bystanders will be happy to point out the rod you're making, but with a baby just feed lots, give lots of cuddles, buy a sling, when you are sitting on the bottom step waiting for dp to come home from work, sobbing (there will be times!) put your favourite music on loud, and dance your baby to sleep. They grow up far too fast so don't fret, ask for advice when you need it, but trust your instinct, and enjoy every precious moment!

somewherewest Tue 02-Apr-13 14:05:56

Not much to add to all the good advice here already, but here goes...

Its very hard to learn to breastfeed without actually doing it if that makes sense! We were lucky to have a very, very good breastfeeding support clinic at our local hospital, where you could drop in as often as you liked for help until you'd got it right. Find out what's on offer in your local area and be prepared for it to take a while to get right. Its also worth being aware of the signs of mastitis - I thought it was something only cows got until I got it myself grin.

I was very inexperienced too and I really did find parenting books helped. I didn't follow them slavishly, but I did need something that set out the basics - how to bathe, how to change a nappy, what to dress them in blah blah.

I will also go against a lot of Mumsnet wisdom and say don't get set against the idea of sleep training if you have a really poor sleeper. DS was a horrible sleeper and the lack of sleep can completely break you. We managed without sleep training in the end, but knowing it was there as a last resort kept us sane.

At some point in the first few weeks you'll quite possibly have an "argghhh what have we done, we've ruined our lives argghhh" moment. It will pass. It really will. Some people just aren't great at the newborn phase. It doesn't make you bad parents, it really doesn't.

somewherewest Tue 02-Apr-13 14:13:04

Oh yes, and has someone else has said. Not all newborns are sleepy little things. The 'sleepy newborn' phase lasted all of three days with DS. They really are all different. And the first night on your own with the baby in the hospital can be very strange.

motherhen1949 Tue 02-Apr-13 14:15:03

If you have turned out ok it means your mum most likey knows what she was doing so take advice from her and back away from any child care books who usually have never had a child

Oh and if you encourage fussy eating or poor sleep rountines you will likey have trouble evevr getting a babysitter

Lastofthepodpeople Tue 02-Apr-13 14:17:53

Don't worry. I was also terribly nervous when mine was due. I'd had no experience in looking after one and was one of those people who have no idea how to hold one.

The waking during the night is difficult in that it's constant and you're exhausted but there's not a lot to it really.
DH joked that your basic newborn care manual should just go:
Check nappy. Still crying? Feed baby? Still crying? Wind baby. Still crying? Snuggle baby to sleep. Still crying? Repeat from beginning.

The best advice I can give is don't worry. If you are concerned about something that doesn't feel right, ask your HV or call the NHS helpline but IMO most of the time by the time you've figured out what the issue was, the child will have outgrown it and you'll be worrying about something else.

As for bathing, you won't need to do that for a while. If baby is grubby, then wipe down with a damp cloth/cotton balls but you don't need to worry about a full bath for a few weeks (I think it's recommended you don't until the thing on its navel falls off)

I didn't breastfeed but I know that can be difficult at the beginning. If baby isn't latching you should be able to get help at the hospital, la leche league or simply google it. There are plenty of videos online to show you what it is supposed to look like and what problems new mothers face.

Oh, and I really recommend getting a moby or other stretchy wrap sling. That saved my life when DS wouldn't stop crying. They're magic for getting little ones comfy and sleepy.

And of course, there is always mumsnet. I can guarantee that if it's 2am and you have no idea what to do, someone will always be up and willing to give some advice. It worked for me.

TheFallenNinja Tue 02-Apr-13 14:21:25

Don't forget to meet your own needs.

Just keep feeding, patting, walking, rocking etc. you'll start to see patterns.


Realise that sleep will come.

You'll be grand.

LovelyWeatherForDucks Tue 02-Apr-13 14:23:23

Aww how exciting. My baby is nearly 6 months and I still feel like I'm just finding my feet! I found it tricky once he got out of the eat/sleep newborn phase (after about 3 months) and became a bit more wakeful and wilful! I'm now referring to various baby routine books (baby whisperer and gina ford) purely to get a rough idea of how much he should be sleeping in the day / how often he should be feeding which in turn should help with nighttime sleep and his overall temperament. In hindsight I think I spent a lot of time stressing because he was crying and not latching on...when in fact he was probably too tired and needed a sleep - I didn't have the 'fall asleep anywhere' type baby that some people have, and wrongly assumed he would sleep when he needed to!

Thurlow Tue 02-Apr-13 14:43:39

Loads of good advice already. I just wanted to say - do whatever you want to do. Well, bar leaving the baby in the garden for the cats to raise, of putting whisky in its bottle...

There is no absolute right or wrong at all. If you want to leave the house and start going to groups and meet-ups when your baby is 3 weeks old, do that. If you don't feel like leaving the house for the first 6 months, do that instead. If you feel like you are struggling without any order to your day, try a routine (like others have said, I found the Baby Whisperer a godsend). If you adore just following your baby's lead, do that.

Don't believe anyone who tells you that you are doing something 'wrong'. It takes time to learn who your baby is and what they want, so take the time and then do whatever feel right for all of you. Some babies love routines and hate not knowing what is coming next; other babies will scream blue murder at being encouraged to sleep or eat when they aren't ready. Some babies love be carried around in a sling all day; other babies want to be on the floor or in their bouncer watching the world go by. Some babies will sleep for days; others will barely manage 30 minute catnaps. Some will love feeding themselves; others will want purees off a spoon. Every baby is their own person and will want something different. Just do what works for your new family.

Skygirls Tue 02-Apr-13 14:46:45

Top tips? All of the above. The MW in hospital are invaluable. As mentioned before, get them to show you how to get baby latched on properly, and don't be shy getting your boobs out in front of them (let alone grabbing your boob to show you the right shape and pushing baby up to your nipple, as mine did)

Chill out on the sofa when bf. It's a lovely time! Make sure you are comfy with your back supported. Use a cushion so you don't stoop/ bend towards the baby.

Expect your hormones to be all over the place, so don't be at a loss if you start crying at everything 3-4days after delivery.

Accept offers of mum did all the cooking for me for 3weeks after baby came home, which was great, as all I had to do was heat it up and there was dinner all ready for when DH came home from work.

Take advice with a pinch of'll find what works for you.
I didn't read any books, just went with the flow. Didn't want to second guess myself, but if there was something, I asked my health visitor or my NCT group of mums.

If you bath your baby, don't get the umbilicus wet, because it will smell. If you do get it wet, make sure it is dry before you cover it with a nappy. This will drop off by itself in about a week to 2 weeks.

Poos will be very watery and if ebf, will start to have the appearance of millet seed-looking soft pellets. This is normal. Also after the initial meconium poos, the colours can vary greatly- yellows to oranges are all normal.

If your baby has arsemaggedon where poo explodes up the back, sides of the legs, tummy get your DH to change baby while you watch him, trying not to laugh you can de-robe the bodysuit downwards if it has an envelope neckline, so no fear of poo ending up in baby's hair.

Poo does stain so treat stain with spray vanish, and soak in powder vanish for at least 36hours, then wash.

Most of all enjoy and cherish the newborn time. It is all over so quickly as before you know it, they're 6months old!

atrcts Tue 02-Apr-13 14:56:25

Holding your own baby is very different to holding someone elses. They feel like a part of you, like your arm or leg. It’s not as scary as it seems.

Probably the best thing I can tell you is that no one is born fully knowing their baby or even how each different baby ticks (they’re all a ‘little’ bit different) and there are times (an awful LOT of times) when the baby cries and you have no idea why, even when you’ve done EVERYTHING you can think of that they might need. Some babies are more like this than others, but its important to know you are not a bad parent if you can’t always figure out what’s going on. Fingers crossed you don’t have a complicated baby!

My husband and I made a joke ‘algorithm chart’ in our heads and used to say to each other: Number 1, nappy CHECK, number 2, feed CHECK, number 3, burp CHECK, number 4, too hot or cold CHECK, number 5 overtired CHECK, number 6 needing a cuddle CHECK….. we sometimes got to number 10 and baby was still yelling at the top of his lungs, so we just bundled him into the car seat at 4am and drove down the dual carriageway until he fell asleep. That would buy us about 2 -3 hours sleep!

You will find so many people have completely different ideas about how to look after a baby, and many bits of advice completely disagree with each other! I think it must be because like I said not all newborns are the same – I was surprised to discover that they don’t wait until they’ve grown up to have their own personality. I assumed because hubby and I are both laid back then so will our baby be, but he was quite a high-maintenance little fella as far as babies go, and so it doesn’t always work out that easy parents equal an easy baby and vice versa.

The bottom line is, its “horses for courses” and what works for one family and newborn doesn’t always work for another. Even within the same family, a baby can act completely differently and so needs to be treated accordingly. Until you’ve got your baby out you won’t know what sort of newborn you’re dealing with and so it’s hard for you to decide exactly what sort of parenting you’ll do. It will be a degree of trial and error.

One example of this is; a previous poster said they regretted not putting their baby down to sleep more, and feel that they are paying for it now, at the toddler stage.

My experience was the opposite! I was so desperately tired I fought hard to put the baby down as much as possible, and I really regret that now. He was a forceps delivery and so started life with a bruised painful head, and I think he needed a huge amount of comfort. He might have been that sort of baby anyway (I will never know!) but I do regret not snuggling up with him more than I did. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to be a good Mum and meet all of his needs, and did give him comfort, but I spent an awful lot of time feeling like death warmed up and not coping with the physical demands, so tried to put him down to sleep so I could get my much needed rest too.

I’m expecting my second baby now and would try to cuddle more than put him down all the time. Like the poster who regretted NOT putting the baby down more, I have found the toddler years have been rocky sleep-wise as well, so what I am saying is, it can happen anyway, whether or not you try to put the baby down a lot in the beginning.

The other thing that many people say, is to feed the baby as soon as it makes a noise. Not sure if you want to breastfeed or not, but my baby was latched on to me for 12 hours at one point in the early days, and every time I tried to remove him he woke very quickly crying again, which meant I got very little rest. Also all that excessive feeding with no break made me VERY VERY sore indeed! Some experts seem to think that they need a little rest between feeds to properly absorb each feed and not get too colicky/windy, and so that the milk quality can have time to replenish and not be so watery. I’m not an expert so I don’t know, but I can tell you that feeding without proper breaks did not make for a satisfied baby.

Since then, I’ve learned through a professional breastfeeding consultant, that you shouldn’t over-feed a newborn or you will become terribly sore. Try if possible to give them a good feed then have an hour’s break. Obviously if they haven’t fed properly then you shouldn’t wait the hour as the baby needs to feed and stimulate your milk production (by sucking). It can be a little bit sore but if it is excruciatingly painful then usually the latch isn’t quite right, so always seek professional help if it makes you cry to feed.

You sound like you come from a family of good sleepers so good luck with your baby, I hope you get a good sleeper! But if you don’t, then that’s pretty common too, so try not to worry. It feels at the time as though you will never have your life back but you will. No stage lasts forever, even though it’s hard to feel that in the middle of the night!

My health visitor advised me to do a little night routine at 6 weeks old. This involved feeding him by his cot, after a warm bath, with dim lights and no TV, around 7:30pm. I was completely sceptical as I thought you wait til they’re school age to worry about bedtime routines! But I tried it out of desperation and it worked like a dream. He lasted for the longest time before I picked him up around 10:30pm to give him a sleepy feed (in dim lights, by the bed), and then he lasted much better overnight sleep-wise. I can’t say why it worked but it did, so it’s worth a try.

My Mum had a large family and even she didn’t always know what to do with my baby when he cried. So I got some comfort from that fact. Parenthood is richly rewarding, but there is an element that is a guilt-trap (always doubting if you’ve done everything correctly!) and I think that’s just part of the package deal with being a parent.

sleepyhead Tue 02-Apr-13 14:58:22

You'll become the expert on your baby pretty quickly (even though you'll be faking it most of the time). You'll be the anxious mother hovering over the person who's never held a newborn before grin.

Don't become the only expert in your house though - this is absolutely crucial for your sanity imo. Make sure your dh gets lots of time as well. No, he can't bf but he can do lots of the other stuff. He might not do it the same way as you do but bite your tongue - it's not the end of the world if the baby goes out occasionally with a vest on inside out. You'll get waaaay more rest if he's on board and doing as close to 50% as possible - more than 50% of nappies and baths if you're bf.

When he gets home from work in the early days, hand over the baby and lock yourself in the bathroom for a good soak. I used to feel all touched out by the end of the day and just longed for 15 minutes by myself. I felt a million times better after a soak, and dh loved having a cuddle after a day away from ds. He also did all the cooking in the evening so I could concentrate on feeding and hopefully getting ds to sleep - obviously this doesn't work for people whose partners work really long hours.

All babies are different though, so take any advice with a pinch of salt. If it doesn't work for you and your baby then that's ok. Enjoy smile

lovetomoan Tue 02-Apr-13 15:10:22

Congratulations, I would say stay in your pyjamas for as long as you can. And practice 'smile and nod' when someone says something about your baby you do not want to do.

Babies cry a lot and it's usually hunger. They like to drink milk VERY often.
Enjoy the fresh baby smell smile

And what they say: you will know what to do, it's true. You learn to interpret your baby's signs for sleeping, eating, etc.

I could even tell his cry in the hospital when I had to go to the loo.

Kellymom website useful if breastfeeding. If you are not breastfeeding for any reason, do not let anyone make you feel guilty. Same if you end up with epidural/c section, etc. Tell them to f off if necessary.

lovetomoan Tue 02-Apr-13 15:13:36

The most important: Whatever kind of delivery you end up with, make sure you have lactulose and ask your family and friends to get you dried fruit and nuts. And drink LOTS of water.

motherhen1949 Tue 02-Apr-13 15:16:44

Oh and be kind to your dh many women give ther husbands a hard time they cant work 12 hours and have no sleep

My sister in law was dertemined to make her oh do night shift (she took advice from here to her shame) after being up all night then doing a 12 hour shift at work he promptly crashed his car on the way home and shatttred his femima then she had to contend with a small baby and a sick husband

Try getting him to do night shift at weekends

curryeater Tue 02-Apr-13 15:25:48

If you want to bf and your nearest relative (MIL) is not keen, then look up now who can give you some help and support - even peer support, not necessarily a qualified lactation consultant, can be helpful if you don't have people around you who are bfing. You probably have people in your area who can talk things through with you and it would be easier to look up where they are and collate that information now before you have the baby.
Otherwise - go with the flow, rest now as much as you can, and don't forget to enjoy your yummy snuggly baby.

sleeplessbunny Tue 02-Apr-13 15:51:43

Online shopping
You will never get your old life back, just accept it and don't fight it (like I did)
Your new life will be even better once you give in and get used to it

Quak Tue 02-Apr-13 16:07:43

xlatia - I'm not being very clear today grin I think I am just trying to say, you don't have to wash everything after one wear. DD wasn't that sicky a baby so I got several wears out of her babygros. And if it was just a little dribble I spot cleaned!

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Tue 02-Apr-13 16:10:03

Girls this has been so helpful to me! I will be bookmarking this page for sure! Bf and mil aside I am really excited and hope I can bluff my way through smile x

Xenia Tue 02-Apr-13 16:21:14

Just relax. It is mostly all instinctive including breastfeeding. I fed all the babies myself. It's a lovely thing to do.

Get as much rest as you can. If people want to visit suggest only after 5 days. If they must come then have them put on the washer and make food. Do not let it result in your having more to do, Make sure everyone who comes makes things easier not harder for you.

I went to back to work full time at 2 weeks so that worked really well for us all but I accept not every woman wants to do that!

curryeater Tue 02-Apr-13 16:25:32

It is true that with tiny babies there are very few decisions to make, so don't worry about not knowing what to do. Your new baby will not need counselling about friendships, or potty training, or any kind of tough love. Just the softest cuddliest kind. That is hard at times, when you are very tired, but never confusing or complicated. and always rewarding.
the baby's head releases chemicals that make you feel better so when you are strung out, smell the baby's head.
But then you might not get strung out - some people just don't.
If you do, just sniff the baby's head and remind yourself if it not like this for long.

shufflehopstep Tue 02-Apr-13 16:34:33

Firstly, congratulations on your impending arrival. Being a mummy is lovely. My first baby was born last May and I was in exactly the same situation as you. I was really apprehensive beforehand. She was overdue and I didn't do anything to move things along as I didn't know how I was going to cope. When she was born, I was a little bit scared to hold her for the first couple of days and I hadn't got a clue what I was doing changing the first nappy. One of the midwives in the hospital even told me off (in a friendly way) for not being firm enough because I was terrified of damaging her. I was treating her like she was made of porcelain and was really worried I was going to do something wrong. The thing is, your baby doesn't have any expectations; you're both learning together and everything will just fall into place as you get used to each other. Listen to the advice you need (for me I struggled with bf so took the advice of midwives and lactation specialists until we'd cracked it and I topped up with formula until I was able to feed her completely myself) and ignore the stuff you don't need (mil was surprised that I was leaving weaning until 6 months as she started giving DH rusks crushed up in his milk at about 7 weeks old!!). Just take each day as it comes and respond to baby when they cry - it's usually because they need their nappy changing, they're hungry or they need winding. If people offer help for things like cleaning or baby sitting for an hour or two so you can have a nap, take it. They don't need bathing every day when they're really tiny but you'll be able to judge when it's best. Most of all just enjoy your baby. My little girl is 10 months old now and is already starting to act like a proper little person with her own personality and isn't a little baby anymore. Although I love watching her grow into the person she's going to be, I miss those first couple of months when she was curled up on me like a little frog. The best advice anyone gave me was my mil who just said "Drink it in. You'll not get this time back again and you can't bottle it." Routines will happen as and when you need them to - just enjoy every minute of being with your baby smile.

1789 Tue 02-Apr-13 17:09:08

so much good advice on here already. you will figure it out! my only advice is that, in my experience, bf was excruciatingly painful for 3 days and then totally fine and remarkably easy. also, if you want to go somewhere far away (think nice sunny holiday!), then book it now because small bf babies are remarkably easy - totally happy to be held and fed for a long flight. if you go before 6 months, you don't even need to bring any food with you! 1 year olds are mobile nightmares on planes!

pocketandsweet Tue 02-Apr-13 17:13:14

First of all congratulations. Don't worry about your lack of previous experience it's all about On The Job Training smile. My advice is just try and not get to overexcited about getting things "right". Babies don't read parenting books..... Use them if it helps but but don't get too excited if it doesn't bear resemblance to you and your situation. There is not one right way to 1) give birth
2) breast feed/bottle feed 3) get your baby to sleep ( to give only3 examples). I would have a certain amount of suspicion of anyone who tells you different ( anyone who has had more than one baby can testify for how different babies can be).

Try and take care of yourself and carve a tiny bit of time for yourself. You can't really "prepare" for what it is going to feel like but even though you will probably be besotted/happier than you could have ever believed you will also probably cry a lot. Hormones and sleep deprivation are powerful things. I was not a person who cried much before and was initially upset that I seemed to find this whole mum thing a lot harder than other women seemed to. Rubbish. The woman you see who has apparently regained her pre pregnancy figure in a nanosecond and manages to appear at baby groups looking immaculate probably has a weep as often as you do. You will be just fine. Oh yeah.... "Everything is a stage". What you worry about one week will probably not be what you worry about in two months. You will be fine. smile

And don't forget to put a top on when going out of the house.... I once nearly walked out the door in only a nursing bra after a particularly gruesome night of feeds ( luckily I have a kind postman who reminded me before I crossed the threshold ).

almonds Tue 02-Apr-13 17:51:54

pockets that is hilarious!

My DH says his overriding memory of those early days is of both us at the same time changing dd's nappy as she mewled piteously and I sprouted big wet patches on my --already puke-stained--nightie...

QueenBee245 Tue 02-Apr-13 18:17:42

Not sure if someone has already said it but the number one rule IMO is

Always trust YOUR instincts

If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't and after a few days you'll be feeding and changing nappies like a pro

Good luck smile

SpectorL Tue 02-Apr-13 18:26:00

None of us are experts when we start. It's all brand new. Doesn't matter how many children you have look after before- it is very daunting when it is your own child! I probably speak for most women when I said with ALL my children- I was terrified!

My oldest has just turned 5- and well, she is still alive so I think we have done OK!

In the early days if baby cries- bottle/boob, check nappy or put down for a nap! You can't go far wrong from there.

Shagmundfreud Tue 02-Apr-13 18:42:05

Feed the baby. If you can't feed the baby get help IMMEDIATELY.

You will need to sleep. This may mean putting your baby next to you on the bed while you sleep if he or she won't settle without you. Follow the safe sleeping rules. here

The anxiety you may feel, and the niggling feeling that you have no idea what you're doing? Normal. That's your parenting instinct, cunningly disguised as feelings of cluelessness. Actually what you're really experiencing is an extreme focus on your baby and wanting to do everything possible to keep them safe and happy.

None of the rest is really that important.

thanks for all the great advice on here - another imminent (ish) first time Mum who's starting to wonder WTAF I do when I get home from hospital x

onceipopicantstop Tue 02-Apr-13 19:17:56

Our first night home - DS was 5 days old - we had no idea what to wrap him in to sleep. In hospital they had him bundled in umpteen layers in a really warm room. But at home we were terrified of overheating him!! So we put a sheet and a blanket on him, plus his clothes. As soon as he was in his crib he yelled, picked him up he'd settle straightaway. Took us several hours of this to realise he was cold!! Duh!! A friend had given us a swaddle so we used that plus a couple of blankets and he settled instantly!! Even though I had done a fair amount of reading beforehand, there was definitely alot of trial and error in our case!! smile

mummymafia Tue 02-Apr-13 20:43:11

If your friends want to come round in the first week get them to bring a cooked meal. My friend recently had ds3 & I set up a meal & cake Rota amongst us mums for the first couple of weeks as I know that is what I really appreciated - a home cooked meal instead of ready meal as too knackered to cook. Dh' s idea of cooking was to bring a pizza in!

scriptbunny Tue 02-Apr-13 21:06:08


Congratulations. I am very excited for you and reading all these posts is bringing it all back to me. I too had never held a baby, didn't know what I was doing, was miles from my own family and had my MiL on attendance. She had formula fed all three of her own children, plus all four of her previous grandchildren had been exclusively ff. Luckily she is very sweet, so I just had to be focussed and be clear that we were all (baby, me and Nana) going to learn about this new-fangled breast-feeding thing together and make it happen!

The only thing I would add to everything that has been said already is that I partly stayed sane by holding onto a little thread of my old life. I did this by listening to Radio 4 - a lot. I listened to the news like a newsjunkie. I listened to all the arts programmes, Woman's hour, everything. I heard about all the films I wasn't seeing. I heard about books I wasn't reading. I got ideas for holidays I wasn't going to go on. This sounds mad and a bit sad and like it should be frustrating. But actually I liked the drip-feed of non-baby information because when I finally did get together with old friends (as opposed to new baby friends) I could talk about something other than babies and this made me feel like myself. Motherhood was such a profound shift in identity for me, with everything so disorienting, it was comforting to be able to sit for 5 minutes and have the kind of conversation I might have had before the baby landed. It also helped me to feel connected to the world because those 2am feeds can be quite isolating.

Good luck. It might be a bit of a roller coaster at times, but it will be a wonderful, life-changing time.


joanna1985 Tue 02-Apr-13 21:10:37

I was exactly the same as you op. its so daunting when you dont knw whats coming and everyone tells u its so hard etc, but you really do just get through it and it is flyinnggg by for me. my lo is 6 months now and i was so nervous and thought i wouldn't know what to do and the baby would pick up on it and be fretting and crying and i would be shit. It really will just come to you though. I woudnt even worry about reading books and stuff every baby is different and most of the ones iv looked at are too strict on both you and the baby.

I only bathed my lo once a week when he was only tiny ..i just washed him everyday.

The only thing i would say is listen to the midwives when they say put the baby down before they fall asleep because i cuddled mine to sleep at nights and now hes in the bed with me with his fingers wrapped in my hair angry and struggles to go asleep on his own.

awwwwmannnn Tue 02-Apr-13 21:46:31

best advice, enjoy every single moment, good or bad as its so true the time goes wayyyy to quick!

when i first brought my DD home (my 1st and only), we popped her on the floor in her car seat and i looked at my DH and said "what do we do with her now". totally clueless blush

was pretty much clueless for a while but we muddled through without any major incidences lol just do whatever feels right for you and don't ever be afraid to go with your instincts, they are always right!!

one thing i used to HATE was at baby clinic or wherever for the first 6-8 weeks, and there would be other mums going oh that's xx hungry cry/tired cry...i would be like WTF all my dd's cries sound the same to me! went into see the HV in bits saying i was an awful mum as i didn't know what cry was what and what if i was getting it wrong, she looked at me and said she's 2 weeks old she hasn't got different cries yet lol


shufflehopstep Tue 02-Apr-13 22:10:06

Just read some of the other posts on here and need to add that the most important advice I can give, which others have alluded to, is be strict with visitors about when they can and can't come round.

DH was off for 3 weeks and in all that time, there were only about 2 days we spent on our own as a family as people kept dropping in. We tried to ask people to all come together but some people couldn't make it on the day we wanted so came at other times. Then they stayed all hours and wouldn't take the hint that I wanted them to go (it was my birthday a few days after DD was born and I'd said to family that we were having an open house in the afternoon for a few hours however certain members of the family arrived late and then stayed until half past nine at night! DH had bought and cooked a lovely meal for me with lots of food and drink that I couldn't eat when I was pregnant and we had to eat it off trays while people had conversations around us about various dead relatives who had missed meeting DD angry).

Decide when you want people to come round and don't feel rude about telling them to get lost when you want to go to bed. Anyone who's had babies of their own should appreciate this. hmm

Phineyj Tue 02-Apr-13 22:28:48

Lots of good advice here so I'll just offer a few practical tips.

I found my short term memory completely went due to the lack of sleep and all the new things I had to remember, so lay in some note pads and ideally a small whiteboard and pens. It really helps to write down the last time you fed the baby/how much they ate/when you last did a nappy/stuff you need to remember to buy etc etc.

Set up a couple of changing stations in the rooms the baby will spend most time in e.g. bedroom and living room with a basket or box containing everything you will need most often - nappies, wipes, nappy bags, changes of clothes, muslins, bibs. Then you won't need to go searching.

Changing baby clothes is horridly fiddly, at least to begin with. So if like me you end up with a baby who can sick up over multiple clothes a day, these are wonderful and a lot easier to change than the entire outfit -- and the sick actually lands on them unlike normal bibs (these ones say from 4 months but as my DD is a chunker I used them from 2 -- there is a newborn version too although I haven't tried it):

Get a pram/buggy you can lift, fold easily, fit through doorways and get up steps or on public transport if applicable. You do not want to do your back or wrists in or end up not going out because you can't face wrangling the monster pram. Slings are great for shorter trips but mean you don't have anywhere to lie the baby down if you go out for an extended period.

Finally, if bf doesn't work out for you the main thing is to feed the baby.

Phineyj Tue 02-Apr-13 22:31:57

Also we found this really useful to watch in the early days -- it is a bit stressful when you can't work out what your baby wants! (my DH said despairingly at one point 'I've done all her service points and she's STILL crying...)

Your baby will gets loads of bugs in the first 18 months and so will you. Expect to call the doctors in a blind panic umpteen times a week. They never mind.

My best source of knowledge was always Mumsnet!

tinysleepy Tue 02-Apr-13 22:41:58

Congratulations & best of luck with the delivery.

Cuddle, cuddle and cuddle your baby as often as you want. Older generations can be weird about this and you will get the "rod for your own back" comments. It's crap. Baby and mum get lots from skin-to-skin contact.

Breastfeeding can hurt to begin with, you aren't necessarily doing anything wrong. Even with a good latch it can be stingy! However if you can get through the first week it just gets better and better. I am still BFing my 2.5 year old and when he is poorly or fed up there is nothing like it (no disrespect to FF mums - just my experience).

It's fine to feel completely weird emotionally in the days following the birth. I cried, felt deliriously happy one minute then had very low mood the next. It passed quickly though. thought I was alone in this until I discovered mumsnet. It will even out.

Getting out of the house once a day makes a massive difference with your first baby, obviously when you are past the first week or so. And people will love cooing over your beautiful baby.

I know you didn't ask for the next bit of advice but I am giving it anyway (coz it makes me MAD!)...Ignore all the "when are you going to..." which will range from stopping BFing to weaning to dummies to toilet training and it goes on and on. Everyone seems to be in a mad rush to move your baby on to the next stage. Sod them all and do it when it feels right to you and baby.

Right, rant over...good luck!

joanna1985 Tue 02-Apr-13 22:46:30

Southsea is right i was down at the doctors a few times the first few weeks over nothing. I rang the hospital too which was really stupid when i think back lol. I was playing with my lo in his bouncy when he was 8 weeks and pushed it back and let go and he just flew into my face (i basically heatbutted him) he was really crying and so was i ( with guilt)
Rang the hospital in a panic and once they confirmed he wasnt knocked out, marked..or even crying, they kindly told me to go away lol.

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!

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 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 talk calm gentle,comfort feed to make baby more 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 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 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.

LadyEdith Thu 04-Apr-13 11:29:34

My advice is: keep fridge and cupboards well stocked with your favourite foods and snacks, have your favourite newspapers and magazines delivered, have your feelgood toiletries/face creams/make up to hand, because when you hit a tough patch all these things will really cheer you up!

ninipops Thu 04-Apr-13 11:45:13

haven't read the whole thread so someone has probably put this already but here's my tuppence worth. First everything is a phase good and bad so don't stress it, second there is no 'right way' to do anything when it comes to babies (other than avoiding the criminal and downright negligent of course!) so find what works for you, you can always change things later if something stops working. Babies are pretty resilient!

Good luck and enjoy!

sherbetpips Thu 04-Apr-13 13:21:39

As ninipops said there are phases and when they are newborn they dont last that long. Will feel like bloody ages at the time but when you look back its only a couple off weeks.
The total exhaustion knackered phase is 3 months at most.
I found 'What to expect in the first year' a brilliant book it literally told you week by week what to expect and also what was happening to you and your body (which is another slightly icky subject).

PreciousPuddleduck Thu 04-Apr-13 13:36:56

Aw, enjoy every moment & try not to worry too much about anything. Let baby wears baby gros all day till at least 3 months & get out for lots of walks when the weather warms up. Saved my sanity! Don't feel guilty about still being in bed at midday with your baby. Enjoy brushing your teeth, it's probably the only thing you will do for yourself all day!
Most importantly, put baby down in cot/ Moses basket AWAKE so they learn to settle themselves.
Believe in yourself, I had no baby experience either and our DD is now almost 11 months old. It's the best adventure of your life (and bloody hard work) smile

Eleri9 Thu 04-Apr-13 13:42:48

I had a beautiful baby boy 4 days ago and he was breastfeeding excellently whilst the colostrum was in, but last night the milk came through and he is now refusing to breastfeed. He will latch on maybe once, but immediately come off. He's getting really agitated and upset if I continue to try and breastfeed. I bought a Brest pump and he has drunk expressed milk from a bottle, but can anyone give me any advice on why this might have happened and how ip can try and get him to latch on to the breast again? Any help would be greatfully received. Thanks again.

noblegiraffe Thu 04-Apr-13 13:55:56

Eleri, if your breasts are engorged then your little boy might be struggling to latch on and slipping off. If you hand express a bit off first to make the areola soft, he'll be able to latch on properly.

Ask for a midwife to come and watch you feed, they should be able to help.

TwitchyTail Thu 04-Apr-13 14:04:15

Get to grips with how stuff works. Like the carseat and pram. Now is the time to watch youtube videos and get it wrong, not when you're standing by the lifts outside the postnatal ward.

<bitter voice of experience>


AMR73 Thu 04-Apr-13 16:48:09

I had never had much contact with babies either before my Son was born (I wasn't worried about giving birth, it was the looking after part which worried me!). My hospital let me stay for a couple of days and were v helpful if I needed help with nappy changing, deciding how many layers of clothes required, feeding, bathing and winding. One of the best pieces of advice was try to relax and stay calm as your baby will pick up on it if you are anxious). For me, was nervous about looking after him at home but midwife visits for first 10 days so if you have any worries, she is there to help. The hospital also said I could phone them if I had concerns. After the first couple of days at home, was much more relaxed and confident. Try to get out for a walk as soon as you feel ready- it will stop you feeling cabin bound and the movement of the pram relaxes the baby.

Baby now 7 weeks and we are both still here! Babies are much smarter than I realised and you will start to learn her cues just by spending time with her.

People do offer advice and I remember feeling that they thought I wasn't doing things right- they are just trying to be helpful but you will know your baby better than anyone. Your body knows how to make a baby so trust your instincts on her care.


AMR73 Thu 04-Apr-13 17:15:49

ps also practise folding up and setting up your pram. I spent a tearful 15 minutes in a carpark trying to suss mine out!

DrGarnettsEasterMixture Thu 04-Apr-13 19:00:31

Some great advice here-I didn't have a clue what to do either! DS is now 10 months old, so we must be doing something right smile

I breastfed. Sometimes I hated doing it, especially in the first few days, it felt like DS needed feeding every 20 minutes, I just wanted to go to sleep and poor DH would bring this shouty baby into the room and I would just think 'Oh, for FUCKS sake, AGAIN?' I may have said it too blush I Everything hurt-I had stitches, so sitting up was painful, and I couldn't get him to latch on by myself, but we got through it and I fed him for nearly eight months before I went back to work. I'm glad I stuck with it, but did feel pretty shit as a mother for hating it so much at first. It was nice in the end-sometimes even lovely!

Babies get knackered really fast. DS just used to spark out on the floor when he'd had enough. I thought he was bored blush and didn't realise he was tired so much. They're meant to sleep that much.

Cuddling a gorgeous squishy baby and remembering you're his or her mum is just one of the most extraordinary things ever. I still can't get my head round it.

Don't worry about a routine for the first few weeks-as others have said, just work through the hungry/tired/nappy/wind checklist and you'll almost certainly solve the problem.

I used the Gina Ford book when DS was a few months old to get an idea what a normal routine looked like, and followed two of her principles-babies get up at 7 and go to bed at 7, and have a morning nap starting at 9. The rest of it I made up myself (and disagreed with her on a lot of things-DS often had a morning nap of 2 or 3 hours, and she is very strict on naps of 45 minutes!)

Good luck! You'll be fine. And the babies haven't read the books, so don't know what they're meant to be doing-you'll work it out together smile

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Thu 04-Apr-13 20:26:29

Ah I love this thread! Thanks for all the responses girls! Congrats to all the new mummies too x

almonds Thu 04-Apr-13 21:30:26

Eleri congratulations on your new baby smile There's a really good board here, Breast and Bottle Feeding. You'll get help with your feeding much quicker there. But definitely agree that the main thing is getting somebody in real life to watch you feed. Babies find it really hard to latch onto rock-hard boobs and the coming off and crying is fairly normal (if worrying and overwhelming!) - the hand expressing might help soften your boobs a bit, and a warm flannel.

almonds Thu 04-Apr-13 21:32:28

p.s. and taking him to bed with him in just his nappy and you in your top off for skin-to-skin contact will encourage him to latch. keep the room nice and warm though! x

multitaskmama Fri 05-Apr-13 00:47:59

Don't worry about routine, just use your time to rest, recover and bond with your baby.

Don't worry about a messy home. You can sort that out when you are upto it.

Breastfeeding or bottle. Totally your choice. I tried so hard to breastfeed but struggled due to not producing enough milk and being very anaemic after C-section blood loss. After one month I combined the two, after three months switched to bottle as baby wasn't get enough milk.

Sleeping? Each child is different. Some sleep 2 hours, some 4 but hardly any sleep more than that. Anyone tells you that may be exaggerating. Ensure baby's feet are close towards cot end. Avoid cot bumpers.

Bathing: Top and tail daily, bath once or twice a week. Babies don't get dirty. They are not on their hands and knees. Just make sure you wipe well in the crease of their neck and behind their ears where milk might trickle into.

Clothes. Buy lots of sleepsuits and babygrows and a sleeping bag is great to prevent baby kicking off blanket in the middle of the night.

TIP: I used to politely ask visitors to wash their hands if they came from travelling on public transport. They will understand. Last thing you want is your newborn getting an infection.

Overall, do what works for your. Listen to advice but it's your choice whether you abide by it. Every baby is different and I'm sure you'll do great with yours. Best of luck x

multitaskmama Fri 05-Apr-13 00:51:16

Oh and a multigym thing where he/she can look up and move his arms and legs about. Will keep baby entertained when you are doing a few chores around them and it will tire them out a little for a better sleep!

pollypandemonium Fri 05-Apr-13 01:29:20

You'll spend about 3 weeks snuggling, after which you might want to venture out.

Do whatever you can to get to know other mothers with babies the same age as yours. It makes life so much easier to be able to share and compare.

Show MIL that you are in charge and perfectly capable. If she offers advice, take it and smile and just play the game. You may need her help if you are isolated so you don't want to put her off.

Remember that the child's father is just as capable of changing nappies as you. As soon as you can, leave him alone with the baby so he can bond and take responsibility on his own. Make sure he looks after you too.

milk Fri 05-Apr-13 09:26:38

Do what is right for you and your baby and no one else!

If you find it better to FF, just do it! If you want to leave your baby in a baby-grow all day, just do it!

BreastmilkCrucifiesAFabLatte Fri 05-Apr-13 12:47:48

Try and relax. Try and enjoy the newness of your newborn.

Don't take the advice to imply that things will necessarily be tough. (For example, you should be offered a lot of help with breastfeeding and in identifying possible PND. This does not mean that you will find breastfeeding hard or will develop PND - most women don't.)

Don't take the advice you are given as a guide to what all newborns 'should' be doing. (For example, my DD only slept on me or in a sling for the first 6 months. It really helped me to consider this as 'just what she did' rather than to be a problem.)

With regard to nappy-changing, it really depends whether you have a boy or a girl grin. (DS was born whilst DD was still in nappies, and it took me a while to work this out..)

mummytime Fri 05-Apr-13 13:05:11

My tips: have a hat even if the weather suddenly gets warm.
Sleep whenever you get a chance.
Have lots of easy to eat food, especially if it can be grabbed and eaten with one hand. Lots of drinks too. Essential as I was always starving when feeding.

It's easy with your own baby, because there is no Mother hovering to tell you you are doing it wrong.

WandrinStar Fri 05-Apr-13 13:53:46

OP I was in the same position as you 9 weeks ago, had never changed a nappy or held a tiny newborn.

There's masses of great advice on here already but this helped me:

1) Get lots of babygrows. DD now lives in babygrows, specifically the ones with the poppers all the way down the front and along the inside legs. They're just so much easier to deal with than any other clothes, especially the sort you have to pull on over their heads (scary stuff with a floppy-headed newborn!). Plus if they nod off during the evening you don't have to wake them up to put them in their jammies, because they're already IN their jammies! DD only wears "proper" clothes now if she's going out visiting...

2) If it's cold and horrible and you don't feel like contending with the shops, don't contend with the shops. Order everything online instead! Plus I found I could bulk-buy wipes, nappies etc online much more cheaply than I could get them in the shops. The internet - yay!!

And enjoy it, as everyone has said upthread, sniff and cuddle them as much as possible, that's the best bit smile

Some awesome advice here - thanks so much for the thread and all the info!

Can I ask a controversial question on this theme too?
What is the ^one^ piece of advice you'd give for ensuring you get the right level of support from DH/OH and ensure he is getting his needs met too? IME men don't always SEE what needs doing and I suspect they might feel isolated from the process quite easily?

TwitchyTail Fri 05-Apr-13 15:07:45

^ Straightforward approach has always worked for me - just ask in a friendly and direct way for whatever you want/need, and show appreciation when he does it. Even if he does it a bit wrong.

Don't wait for him to notice/offer/mind-read, or you'll be a simmering mass of resentment and the washing up still won't be done grin

Taffeta Fri 05-Apr-13 15:25:30

I haven't read all the posts but the single most useful thing that I could have done was actually have someone else's baby ( with them there for guidance ) for a couple of hours, to include a nappy change.

The other thing I wish someone had told me is when they do a poo that leaks and goes all the way up their back, you can pull the vest down over their shoulders and torso ( its why they have envleope necks ) instead of from bottom up, getting poo etc in their hair.

I am another great advocate of wipes, despite advice. I used them on DD from the day she was born, having had a one hour first change in hospital with DS trying to use cotton wool and water.

Taffeta Fri 05-Apr-13 15:27:31

re OH/DH. I would have times you are responsible, and times he is. During their time, the one responsible does everything - nappies, cuddles, etc. So its never one person able to do one thing, and the baby getting used to that one person doing that one thing.

Find a secure, comfortable sling or carrier and use it during the day. I nearly went nuts to start with as dd has reflux so needs to be held upright after feeds. I found it impossible to get a meal, do chores or deal with the dogs. Now I just pop her in the carrier and can cook, eat, clean, dog walk etc without a problem. I feel like I've got my life back!

Thanks Twichy and Taffeta smile

mikkii Fri 05-Apr-13 21:32:40

I would suggest you listen to all advice, nod sagely, say thank you and immediately ignore any you don't fancy.
Remind yourself that people are only trying to help (often said through gritted teeth!)
My firstborn hated being put down at first, he wanted to stay in foetus position, my midwife suggested letting him sleep in his car seat for the first week.
Remember that if you don't eat/drink then you can't make milk.
There is nothing that you cannot eat one handed if you cut it all up while DH holds the baby (DS had silent reflux for 7 months and I became expert at eating one handed while balancing him on my other shoulder). If what you are acting is messy, cover yourself/baby with a tea towel or muslin and invest in some vanish.
Finally, I agree with the othe poster who said to bite your tongue when DH does something differently (I still do now, ds is 8, dd1 is 6 and dd2 is 2) different is not wrong (well sometimes it is, but get over it!) just different.

Ok, I said finally, but enjoy the baby, you can neve ave too many cuddles or too many pictures....

mikkii Fri 05-Apr-13 21:38:19

If you want to bf, make sure the mw helps as much as you need. With dd2, I was sent home feeding her by syringe with expressed milk. I guess they just assumed as I already had 2 that dd2 would know what to do. This was after dd1 had to have supplemental bottles as she lost 15%of birth weight. The thing was, having had complicated pregnancies and pending loads of time in before the birth (3.5 weeks with dd1 and about 6weeks with dd2) I was just desperate to get home.

mikkii Fri 05-Apr-13 21:38:52

Remember, however bad things get, it's only a haste, this too will pass.

babies.. feed them, change nappies and let them sleep thats about it, if you want to bath them do it, if not wipe them down, sleep when they baby sleeps and if anyone tells you are doing the wrong thing ban them from your, and dont listen to anyone that tells you your newborn should be sleeping through the night...

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Fri 05-Apr-13 22:36:11

This might be a stupid question but do breastfed babies need burped???!

Taffeta Fri 05-Apr-13 22:36:42


shufflehopstep Fri 05-Apr-13 22:48:11

Yes they do but they get less wind than bottle fed. DD was both and her burps were always worse after a bottle. There's more air in a bottle than in a boob so the baby will swallow a bit more.

mikkii Fri 05-Apr-13 22:56:32

Regarding burping, as already said, yes, bf babies need to be burped, if bottle fed (formula or expressed) then colic bottles can help. I used mam with both girls even though they didn't have colic. Dd1 was on combined feeding then exclusively bf until I was going back to work and I think we tried every bottle until she accepted the different shape of the mam teat. Dd2got the same as I liked them, although I bought new as the others were pretty grim after toddler hot chocolates......

noblegiraffe Fri 05-Apr-13 22:58:24

Babies are sometimes sick. Some babies are sick a lot. This is what muslins are for, and also bibs (later on when baby is teething, bibs are good for drool). If you have a sicky baby, double over a muslin and wrap it around the mattress under the baby's head, then when if they're sick when you lay them down, you can change the muslin instead of having to change all the bedding. Muslins can also be laid on the changing mat to keep baby warm, and to soak up wee if baby wees during a nappy change.

If your baby is sick a lot and also appears to be upset by it, see your GP. If your baby is sick a lot but happy, then it is just a laundry problem (mention it to your GP anyway)

shufflehopstep Fri 05-Apr-13 22:59:18

Another point, I struggled with my milk supply for a few weeks then 2 weeks after DD was born it was our wedding anniversary and we went out for a meal. Over night, my milk came in and boy did it ever. I realised that I had been eating like a sparrow and that doesn't help with milk production. Someone once told me that you need an extra 500 calories a day to produce enough milk. I don't know how accurate that is but I did start eating more and DD piled on the weight and I surprisingly didn't (didn't lose any either mind you). I developed a real sweet tooth but didn't want to pig out on junk food as I figured that whatever I ate, baby ate and I wanted her to be healthy. I ate loads of fruit but found that it didn't fill me up so I made up big bowls of fruit salad and had it for pudding after each meal, pouring lots of cream on it, and it was amazing. It satisfied my sweet tooth, my calorie craving and ensured I was having more than my 5 a day smile.

Radiator1234 Sat 06-Apr-13 03:23:56

How exciting that your new baby is due soon :-)

A few from me:

- if you want to try and encourage your baby to sleep at night, don't talk to her or offer to play with her when you feed her at night. Just feed her then put her back in her cot.
- routines are more for the parents than the baby. Don't feel you have to do a routine. Do whatever works for you (personally I am a big fan if reclaiming my evenings at around 7.30 and knowing when she will next feed etc, but others are more relaxed and that's fine).
- it's fine to use a dummy! (From a few weeks old they suggest) and may save you from being a human dummy. Some babies are especially sucky.
- during the day make sure you get the baby used to people making noise around him when he sleeps.

Feel free to ignore though just do whatever suits you!

forgetmenots Sat 06-Apr-13 12:54:29

Brilliant thread, marking my place as I'm expecting dc1 soon smile great and sane advice here ladies!

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Sat 06-Apr-13 17:40:59

Congrats forgetmenots smile it's such an exciting but overwhelming time! X

serin Sat 06-Apr-13 22:57:18

If it cries stick your nipple in its mouth, works every time smile

EXCEPT when it needs a nappy change!

Put on some gorgeous music, light your scented candles and let DP do everything.

wafflingworrier Sun 07-Apr-13 15:25:05

asda own brand little angel nappies are fab, if wanting biodegradable ones the cheapest are at waitrose

white noise can send babies to sleep so if at a loose end try putting your washing machine or extractor fan on

sleep deprivation is a form of torture so be kind to yourself and lower your standards when it comes to everything-if youre dressed and showered by 3pm its a good day

if crying go thru this list- hungry? nappy?too hot or cold? if none of above then baby just wants a hug.

your sex life will one day return to normal. honest. however bad things are down below you will heal and enjoy sex again.

Zara1984 Sun 07-Apr-13 15:27:36

Get lots and lots of help learning how to bf - from midwives, here on Mumsnet, LLL groups etc. In a lot of cases you really do need a lot of help to get started - so don't be afraid to reach out and say I NEED HELP. Buzz for those bloody midwives if they're not there helping you! I mistakenly thought that if they weren't there I just had to get on with it myself and if I buzzed for help I would be diverting them from people with poorly babies etc. And if BF is not working you don't need permission from anyone to stop and switch to formula. BF not working is sheer hell on earth, and if it's stopping you from enjoying your baby and recovering from childbirth there's no point carrying on. But if it IS working that's great, carry on going and feed feed feed, don't let people try and make you feel you have to give bottles etc to "let others have a go"! In summary, feed the baby however you can and that's all that actually matters.

IT DOES GET BETTER. Much much much better. The first six weeks are very hard. But after that it gets PHENOMENALLY BETTER.

Don't worry if you don't feel anything for your baby at first. It's such a shock - you don't know what love for a child feels like until you learn it, if that makes sense.


But ultimately (this is not helpful, but true), there is ABSOLUTELY FUCK ALL you can really do to prepare with what it's like to become a mum for the first time. I am the most organised person you will ever meet, total Type A personality, and it totally floored me. So - just roll with it! Take it as it comes! Feed, change nappies, cuddle babba, look after yourself. You sort of just muddle along and learn how to do the parenting thing on the job.

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Sun 07-Apr-13 18:40:26

Thanks for the honesty Zara ! I'm a very unorganised person so hoping some kind of mum instinct kicks in soon!

forgetmenots Sun 07-Apr-13 18:50:14

smile thanks Ilovecheese! You must post and let us know when your LO arrives - you've been organised enough to post here after all.

And thanks too Zara for the honest advice!

almonds Sun 07-Apr-13 19:54:39

Just on the question regarding DH/DP - in my experience the single best thing you can do for both your baby and your OH is to give over the baby to your OH as much as physically possible. Leave him to it. You go and have a bath. Just let him do it. He can. The only thing your OH can't do is breastfeed.

He can do everything else.

He can do everything else.

He can do everything else.

Even if your OH seems a bit startled at first by this sudden high level of parental responsibility (he might have sort of assumed that you had some kind of womanly 'instinct' that meant you had more of a clue than he did!), he'll be glad of it in the long run. The result is a very deep bond with his child and just so much fulfilment.

If there's loads to do, don't be a martyr and try to run around doing it all as soon as baby naps. Say to him 'do you want to put on a load of washing or strip the beds?' etc. Give him a choice, so that he sees what needs to be done. Sounds a bit infantilising but the alternative is exhausted martyrdom or fights and neither of those things make sense.

Finally, don't fall into the habit of thanking him when he does a baby-related task. E.g., if he gets up to resettle the baby at night (at the stage where they are a bit older and not necessarily needing a feed that is), don't thank him in a grovelling grateful way. Acknowledge it by saying 'nice one' and giving him a cuddle or something. You're in this together!

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Tue 09-Apr-13 21:59:47

So baby is finally here 8 days overdue!
Fern Caitlin smile just rereadkng all these while shes asleep for some tips before we head home tomorrow!!! Eeeek!!

forgetmenots Tue 09-Apr-13 22:27:54

Awww huge congratulations smile lovely name too. Enjoy!

sleepyhead Wed 10-Apr-13 15:15:32

Congratulations Ilove! I hope you're settling down at home now with Fern.

Ds2 arrived 2 days early on Sunday so think of me in the middle of the night - you're not alone at 3am, there are thousands of us all over the country with a fractious newborn! Once I remember how to feed and mn at the same time I'll probably be on here in the wee hours more often than not.

Oh, and sleep when she sleeps (I keep forgetting that) - I would be right now, if the community midwife wasn't due round any minute.

Zara1984 Wed 10-Apr-13 17:36:17

Congrats ilovecheese!! Beautiful name! Well done you!!

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Wed 10-Apr-13 19:50:54

Congrats sleepyhead!!! What did you have?? X

DrGarnettsEasterMixture Wed 10-Apr-13 20:50:26

Congratulations, what a lovely name! Hope you're settling in nicely at home, how are you feeling? smile

Ilovecheeseandlovinglife Wed 10-Apr-13 21:09:12

Sore, exhausted but totally in love! Past few days have merged into one! Good luck to all the mummies to be and Thankyou to all the mums for all the great advice!!! I'm being a pathetic new mum and just staring at her when I should be sleeping haha x

sleepyhead Wed 10-Apr-13 22:01:51

Another wee boy (Gregor), so a little brother for v proud ds1 who's 6 - it's a big enough age gap that I've forgotten quite a bit, like the feeling you've just closed your eyes and they wake up and need feeding again...

Don't worry if you have a wee emotional crash in the next couple of days if it's not happened already - totally normal. I wept coming home from hospital with ds1 because dh hadn't done his breakfast dishes and so I was bringing ds home to a dirty house blush. It's The Hormones.

I'm fully expecting to feel crappy some time around tomorrow (plus my milk's coming in so I will suddenly have two footballs stuck to my chest) and have stocked up on chocolate to combat it.

forgetmenots Wed 10-Apr-13 22:09:32

Congrats sleepyhead, your boy's name is on my shortlist, a very strong wee man smile

Teachercreature Mon 15-Apr-13 00:32:25

Congratulations new mummies! And Ilovecheese I was the same with my DD - felt like it was Christmas for weeks! It's a wonderful time despite the tiredness smile

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