parenting strategy for newborn

(98 Posts)
mustardtomango Thu 05-Sep-13 16:22:39

I'm expecting in early November and I've been asked what our strategy is for many things recently - soothing /sleeping /noise etc. Is this kind of preparation really necessary or is it just over thinking things?

HerrenaHarridan Thu 05-Sep-13 16:42:35

You can make up a seat why I'd you like but your newborn will dictate you first 12 weeks to his/her body with no regard for it what so ever.

Some babies won't sleep except co sleeping, some babies won't sleep unless they are in a dark quiet room by themselves.

Whatever plan you make will be quickly lost and replaced with following your baby's ques (and being screamed at when you get it wring) its probably worth writing it just so you can laugh at it when you find it (under all your neglected housework) 6 months later (as you start to really get to know your baby and develop a routine that works)

Congratulations smile

HerrenaHarridan Thu 05-Sep-13 16:43:44

Seat why = strategy

TVTonight Thu 05-Sep-13 16:49:31

the strategy is "do not discuss the strategy"

LePamplemousseMousse Thu 05-Sep-13 17:06:48

Do the people asking you this actually have kids of their own...? hmm

Based on my experience, I wouldn't try and decide on anything hard-and-fast as it can be too pressurising and lead to disappointment. It's all very well deciding you're going to do Gina Ford to the letter, but if you have a baby who's unsettled/refluxy/colicky/not a great sleeper/a poor feeder it simply won't work and it can leave you feeling a massive failure. If you have one that follows the routines as if they've read the book themselves, they probably would have done it anyway smile (if this happens please do not smugly tell other parents of newborns how easy it is - you will risk instant strangulation)

Similarly, you might decide on doing attachment parenting, then realise that your baby hates the sling, you and your OH can't get a wink of sleep if you bed share, that breast feeding isn't for you...I could go on.

Some babies won't take a dummy and don't need one; for others it is the only way to soothe them and save your sanity. Some will drop off in their moses basket and sleep contentedly from day one, others will want to sleep on your shoulder or in your bed and that's that.

I think the only thing to do is to have an idea about how you'd like to feed the baby (breast, bottle, mixed feeding) then make sure you understand the mechanics of that option and are prepared (i.e. have the numbers of the local BF counsellors and/or know how to make up a bottle, sterilise or express, all that jazz) and you've thought about plan B if your preferred method doesn't quite work out (I guess this applies to breast more than bottle). Pretty much everything else you can work out as you go along depending on the temperament of your baby.

I really laugh now at the rigid ideas I had before DC1 was born - it all went out the window! With DC2 I'll see what he's like and try to nudge him into a routine that suits family life, but with no preconceptions.

Good luck!

KateCroydon Thu 05-Sep-13 17:07:07

Much better to figure it out as you go along - otherwise you'll only beat yourself up for not following the 'strategy'.

Might it be helpful to think about ways of widening your options? E.g. make bed safe for co-sleeping rather than decide to co-sleep, borrow couple of slings from local sling library rather than decide to sling?

armsandtheman Thu 05-Sep-13 17:11:56

Who has asked about your parenting strategy? I think my reply would depend on that. If a sw/hv I would ask them to recommend a book/approach and show I was taking them seriously.

If anyone else I would smile sweetly, say that your strategy will depend on the personality of the baby you have and ignore.

mustardtomango Thu 05-Sep-13 17:43:59

Thanks everyone... Yeah its been from friends with children, which is why I thought I'd better check! I like the plan a plan b thing, don't want to seem a sap but figure I'll be doing anything it takes initially to get him to feed /sleep, with the idea that once the (wonderful) shock of actually having him has passed - then we can get practical.
Love that part about not sharing if he really does follow the letter - made me laugh out loud

HaveALittleFaith Thu 05-Sep-13 19:12:37

Some decisions you do make in advance like Moses basket/co-sleeping. The only thing I did was decide to BF (if possible and to go with on demand feeding). I've looked a routines since but DD (now 4 months) doesn't fit! E.g. Gina Forc says naps should be taken in the cot in the dark at certain times - short nap am, longer early afternoon. DD either rolls and plays in her cot or screams! She naps on the move for now (sleep training to commence at 6 months!) and has longer in the morning, short in the afternoon.

It is worth having a bed time routine - bath, massage, story. It helps them wind down and cues sleep. Otherwise I'd just tell people you're going to wing it see what kind of baby you have!

Melonbreath Thu 05-Sep-13 19:48:18

Strategy: wing it.

The wonderful and maddening things about babies is that you make all these brilliant plans such as mobiles to sleep to, a beautiful moses basket and soothing womb noise teddies and then...... baby arrives and says????? No. I wasn't in on those decision makings. I don't care how lovely my basket is with your t shirt in it and it rocking gently. I want to be held upright when I'm not feeding, every hour. So there.

Wait until you've met your baby and just plan loosely such as set up a changing area, decide to give breastfeeding a go, buy a couple of packs of different nappy brands etc.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 05-Sep-13 19:51:43

Lol lol lol at the idea of any kind of "strategy" grin

It's a tiny defenceless human, not a game of chess grin

Do they basically mean are you going to have a routine or not? It seems such a bizarre question!

blueskiesandbutterflies Thu 05-Sep-13 19:56:54

My strategy was/is to go with the flow. Lol

GingerDoodle Thu 05-Sep-13 20:34:18

lol the only thing i'd suggest is: take the advice, read the books then look at the actual baby and do what YOU think is right.

Notsoyummymummy1 Thu 05-Sep-13 22:18:09

A huge bomb is about to go off in your life - your strategy is to survive that's all - your baby will decide the rest.

runningonwillpower Thu 05-Sep-13 22:23:10

My advice is this;

listen to every advice going,

then make up your own mind.

It's your journey with your baby. Congrats!!

mummybare Fri 06-Sep-13 07:11:09

It's very true that your baby will dictate a lot of how things go at the beginning and for most people muddling through is the 'strategy'. But, at the same time, it doesn't hurt to read up, particularly if you haven't been around babies much, as I hadn't.

The only thing I would say is: read widely and don't get too fixed on one idea/philosophy. Personally, I found the Baby Whisperer and Sears' The Baby Book useful and have since read Babycalming and wished I had read it when DD was tiny. But then, I do like to feel like I've 'done the reading' grin - like others have said, approach with an open mind and you'll be fine.

purrpurr Fri 06-Sep-13 07:18:33

Yoni and Yummy grin particularly liking the bomb bit, so right.

pongping Fri 06-Sep-13 07:20:35

Lol - as my DFather says, it's fine to have a strategy but don't expect it to survive first contact with the enemy!

Honestly, being too rigid in your thinking is likely to lead to misery if your baby has other ideas. Adaptability is key (still working on this skill myself).

Sunnysummer Fri 06-Sep-13 07:20:56

Agree with mummybare's recommendations - The Baby Whispwrer and Sears have suggestions without giving a rigid routine that will make you feel like a failure if you don't have your baby working to the clock at 4 weeks.

But my friends and I all had ideas about how we would parent, and often they go out the window - in the end you parent the way your individual baby and circumstances demand.

I always said I'd never use a dummy, but when my colicky refluxy baby was in his 4th hour of screaming in week 6, I was begging for him to take it! That said, he always refused so in the end I got my wish, but was sad about it wink we never envisioned outselves cosleeping, but that's the only way we've got any rest. And I spent lots to get a parent-facing option for his buggy, only to find that he is a little nosy parker who is miserable unless he can survey the world from his perch! I have friends who were set on bfing who have had to ff, who were planning on being SAHMs who hate the repetitiveness, others who wanted to go back at 6 months but have now quit their jobs and so on.

If you're already thinking through ideas, sounds like you'll do a great job. The biggest thing I wish I did in advance as a 'strategy' was to have a proper chat with DH about division of labour in the early days, turns out that he thought that being home meant I would do everything - that was a bit of a shock to both of us!

GaryBuseysTeeth Fri 06-Sep-13 07:24:24

Work out now what DP & you agree/disagree on (cosleeping, dummies, how to make up feeds, fruit shoots etc, if you find out one of you wants it learning chinese and the violin by 2 months it's worth getting the rows out the way now).
Wait until baby arrives.
Go with the flow (and, most likely, change your mind on everything).

lockie1983 Fri 06-Sep-13 13:42:53

If you are a bit of a control freak (like me) it might be worth getting used to the fact that all plans go out of the window when the baby comes ! My ds is 9 weeks old and something I learned very quickly was do whatever suits him or else it's hell. He hasn't read any of the books and knows exactly what he wants!

I wish someone had warned me smile

lola88 Fri 06-Sep-13 19:16:13

Do what ever gets you the most sleep you will all be happier for it and punch anyone who mentions a rod for your own back.

minipie Fri 06-Sep-13 19:49:47

I wouldn't decide a strategy

BUT I would read as much as you can now. Not just the books, but places like MN. There are big gaps in lots of parenting/baby books (.Bear in mind that most books are written about the "average" baby, which doesn't really exist). for example lots of the bookks don't even mention tongue tie which causes real problems for many babies and parents. Overtiredness is another thing that is barely mentioned in books and trips up lots of new parents. Reflux is another possible problem (though that is relatively rare).

At least that way when something seems not quite right you might have some ideas as to what it is.

lockie1983 Fri 06-Sep-13 20:05:40

lola is 100% right.

BonaDea Fri 06-Sep-13 20:13:25

The first 8 weeks or so are just about survival. Remember that. Do whatever it takes to sleep and eat and for your baby to sleep and eat. That is your job and forget everything else.

Seaweedy Sat 07-Sep-13 21:46:31

Honestly, I wouldn't bother reading if I were back at that stage. Have a couple of informative books about, for consultation. Agree that the first couple of months are about surviving, and agree with whoever said do whatever gets you most sleep.

You should do some advance thinking about feeding method and sleeping, maybe - we had decided in advance to buy a bedside cot, for instance, because we liked the idea of a kind of modified co-sleeping, which turned out to work well for us. Don't beat yourself if something you planned doesn't work out in practice.

For what it's worth, we never had anything resembling any kind of 'parenting strategy', and our baby is now a toddler, and completely wondrous.

VegasIsBest Sat 07-Sep-13 22:10:44

Just keep loving and cuddling them :-)
The rest will follow in time

Good luck

Yep wing it and hope for the best was my strategy. It seems to have worked ok dd has survived to two.

bouncysmiley Sat 07-Sep-13 22:25:08

Strategy is listen to your baby and do as you're told and take it from there! Baby will guide you (for the first 6 months anyhow!)

TerrorMeSue Sat 07-Sep-13 22:48:09

Strategy: hold baby as much as possible, feed baby. Change nappy when dirty. Try to remember to eat and drink and not stress about housework. Pray kind friends and relatives do helpful, supportive things like providing meals, listening without offering advice, and making cups of tea. Tell all interfering annoying unsupportive friends and relatives to fuck off (ok maybe just thin that last part).

Noseynoonoo Sat 07-Sep-13 23:07:26

I think TerrorMeSue has summed it up well.

I wish I hadn't listened to well-meaning friends and family who told me about routines/schedules/'making a rod for my back' and gave me books telling me the same.

If you feel that you want some guidance (and I have to stress that I think a mum's intuition, if left to her own devices, is the best guide) I would recommend the BabyCalm book and there are even BabyCalm workshops that run through what your baby needs and how you can calm them.

Good luck with it all - I wish new mums could get enough sleep to actually enjoy the wonder of having a newborn baby.

HaveALittleFaith Sun 08-Sep-13 09:57:35

Oh yes ignore anyone who says the words Rod for your own back. Someone said this to me this week - I explained I nurse DD to sleep, cuddle her and put her down very sleepy. This works for us, for now and we will sleep train at 6 months if we need to. I honestly agree the best thing is to listen to your baby. Remember you will be the expert when it comes to your baby. It's ok to put your foot down if someone is interfering!

FreyaKItty Sun 08-Sep-13 10:02:47

I bought a number of books, sears (attachment), breastfeeding (dr jack Newman - brilliant book). Penelope leach - best bit (seven reasons why babies cry - had a checklist - very handy when new to it and sleep deprived). Lots of lovely things on sky box (or box sets if you fancy) - I got a lovely musical changing mobile (sadly not made any more) which calmed baby and a bright starts mat (again with a music attachment which dd 1 adored and calmed her (used to attach it to her car seat etc when we were out.
Lots of food in the freezer, for those days you only have one arm. Dh had a sling so used to take baby in the evenings while I went to bed (from 8-11). A little notebook to write down weights, any issues (ds didn't like coffee, iron tablets etc).
Db sent lots of trashy books (Sidney sheldon types which I loved in the early days - nice read in the bath)
Get used to going out - you will notice good & bad times.
First 6 weeks baby will sleep a lot so nice to get out for nice relaxed coffees / lunches if you can manage it.
Visitors - use dh as the gatekeeper, visitors should be useful,
People want to give advise - you don't have to take it. Best practise is always changing.

Enjoy - as while the days go slowly - the months go quickly

Hawkmoth Sun 08-Sep-13 10:11:14

My strategy, and let me be clear, this worked exceptionally well, was to give up my life.

Don't expect to do anything, learn to enjoy telly in the early hours, embrace the haggard look and do what the baby tells you. The only advice I found useful was "sleep when the baby sleeps", which I did. I became semi-nocturnal. After a few weeks you notice things becoming more normal and then one day you've slept for six hours and the world seems a better place.

Hawkmoth Sun 08-Sep-13 10:12:10

Oh, and buy a thermal cup.

Sunnysummer Sun 08-Sep-13 12:58:57

smile at hawkmoth. Me too!

Does anyone who already has children talk about a parenting strategy? Do any of you have one? (Desperate daily prayers to any and all gods of sleep presumably does not count as an actual strategy.)

are you sure these friends aren't just asking if you've a particular style of parenting in mind in case you ask for advice? I've had friends (who had DC long before me) suggest I just put DD down in her cot at naptime rather than rock/feed/carry her - but if they'd asked me about my 'strategies/parenting style' at any point they'd have realised that wasn't something I could ever do (unless she just fell asleep without crying) - what works for one family can be totally wrong for another and I try not to give advice unless it's asked for, but partly that's because I never have any idea how other new parents view the whole thing and I wouldn't want to offend them by suggesting something that went against their parenting style. just a thought smile

JesusInTheCabbageVan Sun 08-Sep-13 17:47:42

Strategy = Mumsnet, no?

TheNaughtySausage Sun 08-Sep-13 17:59:08

Lol at "strategy". You're having a baby, not a meeting.

Don't buy any books. The baby hasn't read them. The mumsnet search box is your friend.

Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. If the baby won't sleep, give it gin and laudanum*. Live off cake if you have to. Live in your pyjamas if you want to (but remember to wash them every so often).

Accept all offers of help.

Be wary of all the marketing. Babies don't need much.

*probably best not to give them gin or laudanum really. But it's ok to want to.

OhDearNigel Sun 08-Sep-13 18:19:03

The only parenting strategy you need is this

do what you need to do to get through the day

and don't give a fuck about what other people think

my advice is
1)smile sweetly at all offers of advice
2)when being offered a cup of tea GRAB IT

3) the most important piece pf advice is YOU WILL KNOW YOUR BABY BETTER THAN ANYONE SO GO WITH YOUR OWN INSTINCTS and know you are the best mummy to your baby

cake and thanks

DontmindifIdo Sun 08-Sep-13 18:20:40

I think it's important that you and your DH are consistant, if you have a plan to cuddle to sleep, hten you both need to do it, not one of you doing cuddling down and the other trying crying down - if you are going to follow a set routine then you both need to do it, not one of you then the other not sticking to it. If you are going to settle your DC with no noise, then you both need to do it.

It's also worth thinking about these things before hand, doing a bit of research, because otherwise you just fall into what you are doing and if it doesn't work for you, it's bloody hard to change. (And yes, I did make a rod for my own back having DD in the bed with us, it's now 14 weeks on and she's at last back in her own cot, bloody hard to do and wish I hadn't started with it because it was easier with night feeding, DH sleeps very deeply and I realised it wasn't safe for her to be in our bed, but once we were in the habit it was just hard for her to learn to go to sleep elsewhere)

Think about things like co-sleeping, dummy use, feeding options etc and make sure you talk to your DH about it, because it's hard enough when they are on board, really tough if they want to do something else.

Sonotkylie Sun 08-Sep-13 18:24:20

A. Complete flexibilty
B. Trust yourself - instinct is an amazing thing.
C. Eat cake

catgirl1976 Sun 08-Sep-13 18:36:36

What. Ever. Works.

SugarMiceInTheRain Sun 08-Sep-13 19:15:49

My strategy is to follow baby's lead. Your baby hasn't read all the books by 'experts' who claim he should be sleeping through at x weeks. Trust your instincts, ignore others who criticise you - everyone has an opinion hmm do what you need to in order to survive the sleep deprivation - napping in the day/ ignoring the housework/ unplugging the phone/ accept offers of help from visitors (if you want them).... Enjoy those newborn cuddles :-)

KingRollo Sun 08-Sep-13 19:28:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oceansurf Sun 08-Sep-13 19:35:35

Agree with all the other posters!

Just go with the flow.

What did work for us though, round about the week 5 mark (when sleep deprivation really kicks in) was the Harvey Karp method. Swaddling and rocking to stop the baby crying. Was an absolute lifesaver.

That, and buying a memory foam raised wedge for DD's moses basket, which helped her reflux no end and meant by 7weeks she was happily sleeping through (with just a wake up at 11 for a dream feed)

Looking back now (DD is 10months old) I wish I'd enjoyed the easy days a lot more!!! (sleep deprivation aside!)

bigbuttons Sun 08-Sep-13 19:40:29

I never had a strategy for any of themconfused

hettienne Sun 08-Sep-13 19:45:26

My strategy was:
If the baby cries - fix it.
That usually involved a boob, sometimes a nappy, and works for the first 6-9 months or so. After that you might need some more strategies, but I wouldn't worry about that yet.

dragonflymama Sun 08-Sep-13 19:52:37

Some great advice above...things I agree most with (1) think through feeding preference beforehand (2) always trust your instincts (3) let the baby lead you re sleeping preferences (times, place), frequency of feeds etc.

A few extra tips: (1) learn to do all domestic tasks with 1 hand slings helped us with both children (2) take one day at a will have bad / tears days but tomorrow always brings a new day / baby smile!

Good luck!

KingRollo Sun 08-Sep-13 19:59:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hogwash Sun 08-Sep-13 20:13:05

Who is asking about strategy for a newborn? hmm

If you have one at all I think that it should be:

* have no expectations at all, of anything
* like someone else said, do not care what anyone else thinks
* expect most of your day to be taken up achieving precious little other than feeding your child. Build yourself a nest somewhere nice in front of the TV or near good books, because you will be spending hours there, day and night, for months.
* find food that you can grab at that doesn't need cooking (fruit, nuts, seeds, cheese, salad, crisps, chocolate, cake in huge quantities etc)

Hogwash Sun 08-Sep-13 20:14:25

Just read the other posts - eat cake seems to be the common theme in this thread grin

Buy a sling.

Eat cake or chocolate.

Come to mumsnet for help.

AngusAndElspethsThistleWhistle Sun 08-Sep-13 20:26:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

itsonlysubterfuge Sun 08-Sep-13 20:48:30

My advice is to eat a lot, especially cake. There isn't a lot of sleeping that happens in the first little while my daughter is 14 months old and has never slept through the night, not even once and I found that eating helped to keep up energy. Plus if you are breastfeeding it makes you starving. When I started feeding the baby my husband would immeditatly go into the other room and make me a sandwich grin.

Oh and also, we bought a Cocoonababy it's very expensive, but so worth it, in my opinion. It is the only way we could get her to sleep without being in our arms.

drasticpark Sun 08-Sep-13 21:25:30

Try to get yourself washed and dressed before midday. If you succeed, reward yourself handsomely.

If you BF, drink loads. Don't wait for thirst to kick in.

motownmover Sun 08-Sep-13 21:27:25

Pre your due date.

Don't read any baby books - except one call "Why Love Matters".

Treat yourself - go to a spa if you like it - do stuff you find relaxing.

Do stuff you and your partner can do easily without baby sitters - whatever floats your boat opera or the pictures or have a nice meal.

Get your house really clean and do as much pre shopping as you can.

If you can afford it get a cleaner but if you can't don't worry about housework once baby is here for a while.

Get yourself somewhere comfy for feeding.

When you have your baby and are home don't worry about not picking up the phone or having visitors if you are not ready.

Don't have a strategy - well the only strategy I had was to eat chocolate - get dvds for feeding marathons, stay in my pjs if I wanted to early on and enjoy my baby and try recover.

The only thing I did was get my babies to sleep anywhere - car seat, pram, living room, bed room etc etc. I found it helped.

Good Luck!

Nat38 Sun 08-Sep-13 21:27:47

My advice would be decide what YOU would like to do, listen to all advice from EVERYBODY, sift through the advice that you like/suits you in your circumstances, but above all listen to your baby & adjust to suit both of you!!
You will get tons of advice/opinions-mostly rubbish for you, but in all that rubbish advice there will the odd bit of brill of advice!! That brill advice varies from person to person/baby to baby, so never give up on listening to advice/opinions from everybody-you never know when you will get that odd piece of advice/information!!

rootypig Sun 08-Sep-13 21:30:43

I would read BabyCalm - full of insight into how to soothe a baby. The first 12 weeks are quite specific (look up fourth trimester theory) - I think some reading can be really helpful.

They want you to say how you're going to parent so they can a) laugh at you and b) tell you why you're wrong. Foil them and say you're planning to learn on the job. And then you might as well ask their advice because lord knows you'll get it anyway.

Blueberryveryberry Sun 08-Sep-13 21:40:41

Hawkmoth That's exactly what I did and baby went 'through the night' at about 10 weeks.

Phineyj Sun 08-Sep-13 21:46:03

Get the Mumsnet book - it has better jokes than the others, and in amongst them is some sensible advice.

Theonlyoneiknow Sun 08-Sep-13 21:54:06

Another one for just go with the flow. I had loads of great ideas and then when DS arrived realised the books and reality were two very different things. When DD arrived I had planned to go with what worked with DS and use that strategy but it didn't work as they were totally different babies and I had to go with a different flow!!

thegrumpallo Sun 08-Sep-13 22:55:28

'go with the flow' doesn't work for everyone - sorry! after a mere 3 weeks of this 'non-strategy' -strategy hmm I was knocking on the door of PND.

think honestly about what kind of person you generally are - really. If ordinarily your life has to be highly organised /routine/ planned, then it's probably best to have some inkling of how you'd like to manage your newborn and to plan accordingly.

and also: I disagree that all plans go to pot always with newborns. my experience with no2 & 3 were very different; yes it's not the shock of the first but there are many many new things to get used to /learn each time.

Preferthedogtothekids Sun 08-Sep-13 23:23:50

I had a boy baby who wouldn't sleep in any position but on his tummy and a girl who wouldn't sleep if you laid her down. My boy started solids at 13 weeks, my girl wouldn't tolerate even a spoonful until she was eight months.

They're all different, wonderfully different smile

The only useful parenting strategy is to wing it!

Wellwobbly Mon 09-Sep-13 05:31:16

1. sleep when the baby sleeps, especially afternoon nap. You ARE going to need these hours at 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am!

2. follow your instincts

3. you are not fat, lazy, or useless

4. please don't leave your baby to cry. I knew this instinctively thank goodness, but am doing Melanie Klein's object relations theory at the moment, and the terror rage and being overwhelmed of an infant that is left, is the start of some pretty toxic defenses.

Tailtwister Mon 09-Sep-13 08:05:40

No two babies are the same and the only thing I would say is be prepared to be flexible! Don't make hard and fast plans/rules, as you'll likely be disappointed if you can't keep to them. Have an idea of how you would like to do things, but keep in mind that things don't always work out the way you think they will.

My main 'rules' were;

1. Limit visitors to the level you feel comfortable with and make sure their visits are brief.

2. If you feel you want to hold your baby all the time then do that. Don't make other people feel you are wrong. You are the mother and your instincts are there for a reason (and therefore right!).

3. Let your partner look after you. If you are bf then you will need regular supplies of food/drink.

4. Don't feel forced to go to baby groups etc too early if you don't want to. They are great places to go to meet people and for getting out of the house, but you don't need to over schedule yourself in the early days if you're not up to it.

5. Go with the flow. Put yourself and your baby first and take all advice with a pinch of salt. People can't help give advice, but this is your baby not theirs.

6. What works for one person doesn't for another. Some people/babies thrive on routine whilst others don't. There isn't a right and wrong way, there's just your way.

hullmum31 Mon 09-Sep-13 09:03:09

Strategies do go out the window but personally I liked the Gina Ford book with of mine because even if we couldn't manage to follow the routine, I did feel more in control knowing that I was loosely working around it. Though easier said than done with first baby who fell into a feeding pattern. DS2 liked to cluster feed and was always on boob, plus we had to work around DS1 who was at nursery. Don't think it does any harm to read a few books and ask friends about their experiences before baby is born because then when something does crop up you have a rough repertoire of possible solutions in your head. But of course no amount of prior research prepares you for what is to come and those maternal instincts will just kick in. Good luck!

ringaringarosy Mon 09-Sep-13 09:36:54

just do what feels right.

i have co slept and fed on demand with all 5 of mine,i find babies easy.

Buy in a load of frozen meals from COOK,leave your dh to the housework for a few weeks and enjoy it,its the easiest part!

I am due again in november and i actually look forward to my two weeks lying in bed cuddling my newborn and sleeping on and off all day,its the only break i get! grin

Lastofthepodpeople Mon 09-Sep-13 10:08:29

I read every baby book going when preparing for DS but in the end DH and I agreed that all we needed was a flowchart that looks something like this:

-> Check nappy
Still crying?
-> feed
Still crying?
-> burp
Still crying
-> cuddle to sleep
Still crying?
Start again from top.

Just take it as it goes and try not to stress about it. All babies are different, it's natural that it will take a little while for you to work out what works for the both of you.

Whatever it is that's the problem this week, the baby will probably have grown out of next week.

Oh, and make sure you have lots of boxsets.

gnushoes Mon 09-Sep-13 10:22:24

Just remember: babies train their parents. Not the other way round. And good luck.

ZutAlorsDidier Mon 09-Sep-13 11:38:57

The most important thing to prepare is the washing machine. Do you trust your washing machine? Is is a solid, selfless, whimless right hand man with only one granite-like will, to wash clothes and never complain? Fine. Is it whiney, tricksy, temperamental and a little bit flakey? Replace it. With something with a John Lewis souped up guarantee. That is all the strategy you need.

prettymess Mon 09-Sep-13 11:45:38

Fill your cupboards & freezer with easy meals.

Get a 'baby sleeping' sign for the front door. Don't take it off when baby is awake ;)

Don't read parenting books (apart from maybe the MN ones!)

Get a comfy place sorted where you have everything to hand... a drink, tissues, remote. If baby falls asleep on you, you might be there a while.

Get two bouncy seats for baby (just basic is fine, those dangly toys just get in the way). One for upstairs, one for downstairs. I found the upstairs one most useful for going to the loo & having a shower.

Lower your standards regarding cleaning.

Eat what you can. Nothing wrong with buying a tub of pre-made egg mayo and sliced cheese for a while.

giraffeseatpineapples Mon 09-Sep-13 11:49:36

I think my startegy would be to enjoy the first 6 weeks as much as possible without feeling guilty. I read somewhere that studies show that attempting routines etc in the first 6 weeks wont help so take full advantage and do what feels right/ gets you through the day grin

hairclipcloe Mon 09-Sep-13 12:09:23

The advice i would give based on my own experience regarding strategy is to be FLEXIBLE. You get given (bombarded) with all sorts of advice about routines and so on and its miserable trying to apply all these rules so something which is so unpredictable and fluid. i found out the hard way with DS. I got him in to a routine early on but it was horrible, frustrating and upsetting when things didn't go to 'plan' or like the books said. I took a much more laid back approach when I had DD, i just went with the flow and its been a much better experience.

The early days are hard and you just need to be kind to yourselves.

Swanhilda Mon 09-Sep-13 12:31:59

everyone I know who even used the word "strategy" was shocked by how little control they had. However, quite a few people who thought it would all be cuddly and lovely, ended up with quite firm routines, and vice versa.

Personally I was "sure" that my baby would be having regular naps in a darkened room, and I would just put him down and be firm and he would sleep. I harkened back to an era of the well run nursery. However after a baptism of fire, and loads of breastfeeding problems I became an attachment parenter for at least 15 weeks (maybe for the rest of his life)! Although I reverted back to being a creature of routine, bedtime at 7.30 and afternoon naps in cots, which also worked very well. If I had known to follow Gina Ford I truly think I would have gone mad in the first few months. (Later her advice was good, but NOT FOR THE FIRST FEW MONTHS)

Sleep when your baby sleeps is really the only important strategy, and even better sleep WITH your baby when it is asleep (otherwise you will never sleep a wink for worrying it is about to wake up grin

Swanhilda Mon 09-Sep-13 12:38:03

Once your baby is six weeks you need to get out of the house and see people, so again routines are bit restrictive, although you can tweak them to mutual satisfaction when baby is a bit more settled. Loneliness is one of the most uncharted aspects of having a new baby so anything which helps reducing it is a good approach - postnatal group, bumps and babies group, meeting up with neighbours. I find babies love the sound of chatting!

Lindt70Percent Mon 09-Sep-13 13:04:44

This has reminded me of one of our NCT classes when I was pregnant with our first baby. The woman running the class said she would ask us a question and we had to go to one end of the room for Yes and the other for No and you weren't allowed to stand in the middle. The questions were things like:
- my baby will have a dummy
- my baby will sleep in a separate room to us

I said I didn't know whether to stand because I hadn't had my baby yet and didn't know whether it would like a dummy etc. She seemed totally baffled by this response. I think she thought I was being disruptive. Apparently the exercise was so that you could see whether you and your partner shared the same ideas about parenting?!

I really hated those NCT classes.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 09-Sep-13 13:12:03

Wow Lindt! Not to mention it's a bit late by the time you're doing NCT classes together if you and your partner have totally different ideas grin

ShoeWhore Mon 09-Sep-13 13:15:08

Don't buy any books. The baby hasn't read them

THIS! I found books really unhelpful and got on much better once I started trusting my own instincts and following my baby's cues.

I would say the best strategy is to just do whatever you need to do to get through the first bit (this might be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the little person who turns up!) and worry about it later. Contrary to what the parenting books would have you believe, allowing your newborn to fall asleep on you/feed on demand/etc is NOT actually tantamount to signing them up to Borstal grin

It pays to be realistic as well - it really is not usual for babies to start sleeping through the night at a few weeks (or months) old so try and ignore the "helpful" people reminiscing about how their pfb was sleeping through by the time they left hospital.

And yes dressed by midday is a great achievement!

Enjoy smile

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 09-Sep-13 13:15:56

Although we did have a breastfeeding class where you were supposed to mark on a sheet of paper marked 1-24 how often your ideal baby would feed and when. This activity was constructed purely so that the teacher could tear everyone down and say "No, your baby will feed every hour for 90 minutes at a time, bWAHAHAHAHA!"

Everyone was a bit traumatised by the breastfeeding class. She just kept going on about all these problems you might come across. Most people said it made them feel put off! I thought it was okay, but it should have focused far more on where to seek advice if something does go wrong rather than detailing everything which might go wrong. There was some useful stuff on positioning, though.

badguider Mon 09-Sep-13 13:22:45

Ok so I'm only on day 9, my experience is therefore limited but so far I'd say if you're bf-ing go to a workshop or gather lots of info (or a book). You'll want pictures of good latches, info on different feeding patterns etc.

And, decide what you're doing about sleeping and buy what you need - we have a three-sided cot joined to our bed which has saved our lives! We use a Moses in the day but the first two nights trying to use that before we got the side cot were a killer! He hated it.

crazycranberry Mon 09-Sep-13 13:34:04

My little nugget of advice is to do what YOU and your PARTNER feel is right for you both in your home/family life.
I look back now and realised I was almost bullied by my mum and sister (who had a daughter already), as I would ask them for advice being parents already. If I didn't follow their suggestions, they would make me feel really inferior and said that it worked for them so I must be doing something wrong!!!!. My husband at the time (now ex husband!) was useless so I felt very stranded. I wish I had been strong enough to go with what I wanted to do and what I thought was best for my home etc and not be worried because my mum or sister hadn't done it. I know now that every single baby/child is different to the next.

I am a different person 10years on and am now expecting 2nd child with a new partner. We will do things how we see fit and if others don't like it or think their way is better then so be it.
My home/family = my rules! smile

WaferMoon Mon 09-Sep-13 13:46:33

I agree with much of the advice here.

The only thing I did which I suppose could be called a "strategy" was to try to get them used to the difference between day and night quite early on. During the night (i.e. my night so something like 10pm to 6am)I would feed them on demand, but once they finished I put them back into the cot straightaway. During the day we played and sang and went out etc a lot in between feed and sleeps. Seemed to work. I always breastfed them sitting up in bed during the night. I never went into another room or watched tv.

And just enjoy it. That time with your first newborn is so special - I'm getting all nostalgic remembering it.

WaferMoon Mon 09-Sep-13 13:48:03

Oh, and my "strategy" wasn't really a strategy as I just did what felt right and it seemed to work as regards sleeping more at night.

MomOfABeast Mon 09-Sep-13 14:25:51

I'm going to go against the grain a little bit in that being a bit of a geek I found doing research quite useful. (Although I had literally no experience with babies before hand so I was particularly clueless). I just liked to be aware of what different calming techniques existed (the 5 S's for example), I liked reading about different ways to help a sleep resisting baby babywearing, co-sleeping, feeding on demand etc.

I agree though that when the baby comes they're going to be calling the shots - some babies love their moby, some can't stand it, Some only sleep in their swing, some sleep soundly in their cot twenty hours a day. I hadn't planned on cosleeping but with my baby it was that or not sleeping - we used his moses basket exactly twice.

Personally I think the best things to plan are coping strategies for yourself. If you're planning on breastfeeding have plenty of one handed snacks and entertainment for cluster feeding days (the ipad was great for this). I also LOVED having a thermos so my husband could make me a tea before he went to work and I could drink it when it was ready. Having a freezer full of lasagnes would have been good too. My baby fed pretty much constantly for the first four months though, so I'm sure even this advice is fairly baby specific smile

ZutAlorsDidier Mon 09-Sep-13 14:49:08

I read a lot of books because the library was a nice little walk away, basically, and the downside of reading millions of books is that they all disagree and you can get into a very intense internal monologue trying to synthesise all this stuff. The upside is that you have a million different points of view / techniques at your disposal so you don't have to worry if something doesn't work. Certain things that stayed with me (meaning, I cherry-picked them because I found them positive or helpful):

- if you try to comfort a crying baby and it doesn't appear to work, you are still having a positive effect on the baby's brain chemistry

- the first three months of a baby's life are strange and anomalous. Most mammals would not chuck a baby out at that stage of underdevelopment, we have these huge heads and are forced to do so. So just think of it all as supporting your baby to manage a temporarily unmanageable existence. Do anything that works, you are not setting habits or committing yourself to living your whole life like this.

- this is not something I read in a book but a personal tip from me. If your baby falls asleep, and there is something you really want to do - have a bath or a nap or write an email or cut your nails or make a phone call - do that thing. Do not "just" do something first - "just" hang out the washing or "just" put the dishwasher on. DO NOT. Throw that word "just" out of your vocabulary. you only get to do ONE thing before your baby wakes up, so do the most important thing that you really want to do - and the thing no one else can do for you (dp can hang the washing out, only you can have your own bath)

Things I found unhelpful:

- books which listed to the minute when babies should eat or sleep. have you ever tried to not feed a hungry newborn, even for 5 minutes? Or wake one up that has decided to sleep, because it is not the appointed hour?

- such books also never tell you what you should be doing to comfort your baby instead of the thing it blatantly wants (milk or sleep). what do you physically do to a hungry baby to avoid feeding it for half an hour? this is a hypothetical question of course, actually you just bloody feed it.

- equally, if your baby decides to wake up even tho the guru has decreed that it is getting another hour's sleep this nap, what do you actually do?

ShoeWhore Mon 09-Sep-13 14:53:46

Oh and remember

THIS TOO SHALL PASS grin and be replaced by another challenge

showtunesgirl Mon 09-Sep-13 16:09:48

This may sound a bit woo but I watched this: and it kind of became my strategy. And weirdly enough, DD seemed to be using these cues and I just responded to them. Cue a very chilled out baby. My neighbour tried it too and it worked for them!

booprice Mon 09-Sep-13 17:49:49

The 'stratergy' is really easy, remember the 3 B's which are Bum, Burp,Bottle/Boob. Anything else is pointless during the first few weeks, I've just had baby number 2 and after getting overwhelming amounts of advice with number 1 and feeling like a failure when I didn't take the advice I've followed the 3 B's and life is a lot easier !
Best of luck xx
P.s don't buy parenting books waste of time, conflicting advice and having a baby is about instinct rather than formulas!

TheHattifattenersBarometer Mon 09-Sep-13 19:45:36

Sleep when they sleep (if it is DC1)

Keep enough clothes for you and enough baby grows for them (I'd collected what felt like hundreds of the baby grows by DC3) so that you can get a away with putting the washing machine on a little as possible.

Don't cook, have ready meals or re-heats from the freezer.

Have one set of visitors a day and NEVER turn down an offer of help or an offer of a cup of tea or items from the shop.

Do Ocardo.

Remember all babies are different, that really great tip that your friend gave you might not work for you, that doesn't mean that you are doing it wrong, your baby is just different to hers.

Same as above for mothers, we are all different, I have friends with babies that did stuff that really worked for them that wouldn't have worked for me in a million years.

Enjoy it!! The mantra 'this too shall pass' works both ways, they won't fall asleep after a feed and nap blissfully on your lap for the afternoon forever.

lovesmellingthecoffee Mon 09-Sep-13 22:16:44

Decide now the rota for having a lie in at the weekend, and stick to it. a decent sleep once a week is priceless. If dh sleeps in on Saturday, he gets the baby on Sunday without fail. This can even work with demand breastfeeding but dh will probably have to put the baby in the pram and take it out for a very long walk whilst you get in the zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 09-Sep-13 22:29:47

Strategy is develop attached relationship with baby through spending a lot of time with it and attending to its needs.

Once you've got the attached relationship you know what they probably need. And if you dont you try trial and error till something clicks.

Its an art not a science. You have to relinquish control and meander along, seeing where the river takes you, taking cues from baby. Strategies work with known knowns and known unknowns. They don't work that well with the unknowable unknowns of a small dependent baby who can't communicate very well. But the unknown unknowns will get fewer as you grow together and you become attuned to each other. At that point, maybe there is some hope for some sort of limited strategy (Im thinking at 3-4 months here).

Even then, you will think you have got it sorted after a few weeks. But baby will change quicker than you know and you'll find you have to learn a whole lot more. And that what was great two weeks ago now doesn't cut the mustard!

Mine are 4 and nearly 2 and I'm still learning this. My two year old, after a year of settling himself to sleep at bedtime happy as larry, has started screaming blue murder at the suggestion. What to do? Not sure really. I just sit with him and reassure him, something will turn up and we will get through this phase into an easier one!

She says hopefully ....

Good luck with your baby OP. Its a lovely ride!

LittleBearPad Mon 09-Sep-13 22:35:42

Strategy -HA!!!

Do whatever works for you and your baby and your DH. Don't worry about what people say and feel free to ignore it or follow their advice if it feels right.

Finally be kind to yourself.

mameulah Mon 09-Sep-13 23:03:34


This time last year we were expecting our baby early November. He arrived late November!

Do what your baby wants until you know better.

And don't discuss any kind of strategy with anyone who is making you feel rubbish.

tomatoplantproject Tue 10-Sep-13 09:01:28

Make it up as you go along and have very very very low expectations re housework, getting showered and dressed, cooking meals from scratch. Keep your baby as content as possible through keeping him or her dry and fed and cosy and the rest will follow.

Oh, and I had a November baby and my one rule was to leave the house every day for a little walk or to go round the shops or sniff out cake. I think that stopped me from going stir crazy.

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