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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!

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

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