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The first 6 weeks - how did you cope?

(60 Posts)
firstimer30s Sun 15-Dec-13 12:09:29

Would love to hear any tips/ advice on getting through the first six weeks. Am 30 wks and a first-timer but am told by many mums that this is an extremely hard phase. Any tips at all appreciated!

MrsShh Sun 15-Dec-13 12:33:54

In my experience.. I made sure I was out and about pretty quickly as I am the type to go crazy stuck in the house all the time! I don't know if you're planning on breastfeeding but the first couple of weeks can be tiring but it gets so much better. I don't know your circumstances but it helps to have a good support network. My mum was desperate to help me out but I was determined to prove I could do it, how silly!! If you have a partner then make sure you have a few cuddles too, that can get lost in baby baby baby. It is hard at the beginning mostly because you will be so tired and will be constantly second guessing yourself but it will get easier. And so much more fun when they react to you. Mine is crawling and climbing and into everything now and I find it hard to remember what I used to do! There will be a lot of just looking in disbelief at this person that you created. Good luck with it all. The best most exhausting funny job you will ever have x

BoyMeetsWorld Sun 15-Dec-13 15:24:19

I'm currently in week 2 with number 2. & omg it's so much more exhausting than I remembered. some nights i positively bawl when he wakes 10 mins after going down and if we are up, dressed and had breakfast by midday I consider it an achievement.

But it does get easier every day. They sleep a little longer, react a little more, you bond with them more and it makes it all that bit easier. Force your partner to pull their weight - never try to be supermum. Good luck & enjoy!

Kelly1814 Sun 15-Dec-13 20:15:53

I am just into week 13 and it is relentless, gruelling, beyond my wildest imagination. Never get more than 3 hours of a broken sleep a night.

I actually like being in the house as its like a safety net, and when the incessant screaming is in full flow, I can't bear it in public!

Set yourself low expectations. Don't expect to be showered before 6 pm, if at all, expect zero sleep, expect to be so sleep deprived you want to vomit....cry etc, and anything better will be a bonus.

Can you tell I'm finding it bloody hard?

Good luck.

Timpani Sun 15-Dec-13 20:18:26

Seriously, don't panic!!

I actually found it easier than I thought as I'd read how hard it was. Don't get me wrong, it was tough, and relentless and I was bf and in pain for weeks but I had really low expectations of everything and actually I loved it and thought it was fine! Don't panic!!

addictedtolatte Sun 15-Dec-13 20:33:51

Honestly don't panic you just cope. The last 8 weeks of your pregnancy is usually broken sleep anyway so your body will be well trained for this broken sleep :-(

Maybe if anyone asks you what you want for Christmas or baby present ask for a childminding session. That's what I did. My friends and family wrote out an IOU for you me to cash in at any time, it was the best present ever. Good luck op and enjoy your baby :-)

Twinsplusonesurprise Sun 15-Dec-13 20:45:13

Yep don't panic is the best advice. Take it easy, don't set your expectations too high but DO try to get some sense of structure. I know any comments about routine usually end up in a massive debate but I have to say it was the only way I survived when my twins were teeny and though I've been more relaxed with 11wo DS I do still have some fixed feed times for him and it makes life much much easier.
Having said all that any form of routine is very hard to implement in the first 6 weeks. So hunker down with some good supplies, get as much help as you can and make sure you enjoy your new little person - time really does fly!!

SmallBee Sun 15-Dec-13 20:51:23

All this advice it brilliant, especially about low expectations!
The one suggestion I would add, especially for when your partner goes back to work is stock up of loads of food you can eat with one hand! Esp cereal bars, most mornings it's been the only way I've had breakfast!

Rollermum Sun 15-Dec-13 21:18:03

From my 12 weeks perspective! I'd say in advance get the pram and other fiddly equipment up, changing station ready, clothes washed so it is all ready to go. Practice with the car seat in the car. Useful to have in stock easily prepped meals (I froze some stuff in batches).

Prepare to be beyond tired and don't feel bad if you don't love it all and bond straight away. I had a difficult birth and took a while to really feel the love. Tbh I hated the first few days / weeks - I didn't know what I was doing but really it was the tiredness. It got better and once I stopped analysing my feelings I relaxed and now I love DD so much.

In terms on practicalities of baby care - if BF lansinoh is amazing (I covered it in clingfilm for wet healing). Don't be scared to ask midwives and HV to check your latch as many times as you need. Also if the baby is crying it isn't always hunger - sometimes they need to sleep. I made this mistake a lot at first. Generally though it is hunger and they eat way more than you'd think!

Babygros with built in scratch mitts are great as newborns can scratch their faces.

Finally don't read too many baby books if they will drive you mad - most are total bollocks if taken in their entirety, though pick and choose things that make sense to you.

Shellywelly1973 Sun 15-Dec-13 21:56:24

Im expecting dc6 in 6 weeks...ohh gawd!

Babies cry, poo, puke its what they do. Go with the flow. Use any help you can get.

My exdp won't even do the school runs so I know I won't get any help. But the baby will grow & it will get easier.

Good luck. It all passes quickly!

SaltySeaBird Sun 15-Dec-13 22:08:48

They are all different, you don't know what you are going to get so go with the flow!

For the first 6 weeks DD just slept and fed. She hardly ever dried. I was out and about within days. Then at 6 weeks she started sleeping through the night just to be even easier. I was the annoying bright eyed person at baby groups with clean clothes, make-up, tidy house...

Then she turned a year old ... She stopped sleeping, started throwing tantrums, became fussy with food, demanded 100% attention 100% of the time and screams the place down. I'm now the harassed working mother with clothes that are sprayed with perfume to make then smell better, bin-liner bags under my eyes, hair overdue for a wash and just occasionally I'll get mascara on before realising taking it off is just another task to do in the evening. As for the state of the house ...

Newborns are a million times easier than toddlers, yet I have friends who think the opposite. You'll cope!

Wishfulmakeupping Sun 15-Dec-13 22:17:52

Yy to testing equipment beforehand you need to know how to click the carseat in and put up pram well in advance. I would practice using the steam steriliser if you're going to use one.
Stock up on biscuits and microwave meals or make and freeze some meals if you have time.
Take things at your own pace I felt like I needed to take my dd out why she was tiny?! Also (wish I'd listen to this) if you don't feel up to having visitors just say no I felt like I had to let everyone round straight away I really didn't I should have given myself more time
Good luck smile

TheBreastmilksOnMe Sun 15-Dec-13 22:23:53

I'm currently expecting dc3 and I have to say I absoloutly love the new born/first 6 weeks stage. I didn't find it difficult at all despite having an emcs the first time round and a colicky baby the 2nd time around.

I thoroughly enjoy the breastfeeding, cuddles and co-sleeping and I just love newborns. There is something so special about them, I'd have a dozen if they didn't grow up!

The love you feel for them ime, surpasses anything you will have ever felt. I never felt I struggled with sleepless nights, ok, I was tired but never experienced the bone crushing tiredness that a lot of people talk about. Perhaps it's because I breasfed (so never had to get out of bed to make a bottle) and co-slept (so never had to wake up properly for a feed, just whipped my boob out, baby latched on, I went back to sleep)

I've always followed my instincts when it comes to my babies so I've always had confidence, and very little anxiety when it comes to being a mother which helped a lot in the early days.

It's really, really not that bad, op, just sort your babies needs out first and everything else falls into place. Babies are very easy, it's when they get older that they get more challenging but nature has a way of training you up slowly, I never imagined how I'd cope with 3 children before I had my first but here I am and it's really not that hard. Stressful at times, but doable. Good luck!

lanbro Sun 15-Dec-13 22:23:53

Just go with the flow. Don't stress yourself out bathing baby if they cry, topping and tailing is fine for the first few weeks. If your planning on bf it is hard and it does hurt but if you can get through the first few weeks it's worth it in the long run. Let other people help if you need it, don't be shy to ask friends to pick up groceries if they're popping round, let visitors make their own tea, ask your mum to push the hoover around. Don't be too quiet when baby is sleeping, let them get used to noise. Trust your instincts, everything will be ok, millions of people have babies and the human race hasn't died out! And most importantly just try and enjoy your baby, time really does fly!

SilkStalkings Sun 15-Dec-13 22:29:55

It's honestly pretty hard to screw up a tiny baby if you have any common sense, have read a variety of books on the subject so you know there is more than one way to do things and have a partner who has read about PND so can keep an eye out for that. The main thing is to ask for help, ESP with breast feeding because that does not come naturally to most women these days.

TheBreastmilksOnMe Sun 15-Dec-13 22:38:01

I second getting good support if you are planning on breastfeeding. It doesn't have to hurt and it's certainly not hard with the right advice. Babies are born knowing instinctively how to breastfeed, sometimes we interfere too much.

With my 1st I fussed and fussed about the latch, got cracked nipples and then thrush over and over again. With my 2nd I just showed her the nipple, let her latch on and never had any problems so I think too much worrying about technique can actually make things more difficult then they ought to be.

Monka Sun 15-Dec-13 23:35:04

I had a EMCS as I was induced and only needed to spend one night in hospital but at every breast feed that I did I asked a midwife to check the latch and positioning of the baby and they were happy to help. Found that I didnt need to attend any bf clincs afterwards.

I still found breast feeding hurt for the first 20 seconds and this lasted 3-4 weeks before it just didnt seem to hurt anymore. At home I used one of those thermos mugs for my tea and had a bottle of water next to me so I didn't have to keep getting up and some snacks. Buy soup and have bread so you have a quick snack and some cheese slices you can pop under the grill for lunch. I used to buy pizzas and cut them up into 4 slices and froze them ready to stick in the oven when I was hungry during the day. Also have some other snacks handy as well.

Get organised with your own clothes and bedding. I found family wanted to help with the baby but not with the laundry or housework. And when close family visit ask them to bring a meal in the first couple of weeks. I found that having plenty of clean ironed clothes and weeks worth of bedding just helped me feel clean and presentable but if you're comfortable spending the day in your pj's then that's not an issue its just what you're comfy with. Get out in the first week or so even if its just to a coffee shop. And if you have joined a NCT or other type group get a group set up on Facebook or what's app so you can all be in touch with each other for support.

MrsArthurWellesley Sun 15-Dec-13 23:56:51

DS will turn 9 weeks tomorrow. I second * Timpani* that it has not been as bad as I thought, but it appears that we got an easy one in the Great Baby Lottery.

And yes, breakfast is the meal that gets skipped most often - I'd feed early, go back to bed and by the time I was up and showered it was nearly lunchtime...

AmandaCooper Mon 16-Dec-13 07:30:03

It does get easier quite quickly. When you're in the trenches firefighting and you can't even make a cup of tea it's worth reminding yourself that that stage will soon pass. DS used to sleep for a little stretch around 9pm each night and I would run round then prepping everything for the next day - water in the kettle, mug on the side with a teabag and spoon in it, feeding station all ready in the lounge with pillows and cushions arranged, pint glass of squash on the coffee table, all the tv remotes lined up. If you possibly can say no to visitors do; the constant stream of visitors was an utter nightmare. People we've never even met before turned up wanting a gawp and a hold. One day we had three sets of visitors in one day! Make sure your partner is on board and lay down some visitor rules.

lilyaldrin Mon 16-Dec-13 07:37:07

Plan to do nothing except look after the baby.

Minimise visitors/only let people visit if they are going to be helpful.

Expect to (breast)feed all the time, it's normal.

Forget routines or trying to put the baby down or get it to sleep alone. Newborns aren't designed like that. Hold your baby, put a DVD on, eat some cake.

Co-sleep and learn to feed lying down ASAP. If you can doze through night feeds then the broken sleep is so much more manageable.

VisualiseAHorse Mon 16-Dec-13 07:38:26

I made loads of meals when pregnant - bolognese, stews, chilli con carne etc - for the freezer. Brilliant for when I forgot all about dinner, or couldn't be arsed to cook. Buy some plastic take away tubs on eBay, and get cooking!

If you know someone with a small baby, ask if you can watch them breastfeeding (if you're planning to breastfeed).

VisualiseAHorse Mon 16-Dec-13 07:39:44

Get a good sling too - something stretchy like a Moby or a Caboo, brilliant for the first few months!

SilkStalkings Mon 16-Dec-13 16:17:25

Yes to rationing visits at home! USE your answering machine, you can call back when it's convenient or get DP to do it. Set visiting hours of 2-7pm and make sure your DP sticks to them.

With #3 I was having a difficult time with breastfeeding and even got DH to postpone a visit from his grandparents for a few weeks, there's really no rush. DH let one of his ex-colleagues pop round one day in the first week and I answered the door and told him it wasn't convenient and shut the door on him. Honestly, some people really think they have a right to see your baby ASAP and that it is some kind of honour for you. Take control, say no and bar the doors if you want! If you have particularly insensitive or unhelpful relatives, this is your opportunity to set the precedent for how YOUR new family is going to be treated.

bevbennett100 Mon 16-Dec-13 16:57:57

It is exhausting and very hard work - but amazing (in retrospect).

Things I found useful - or wish I'd found done in advance:-
i) Sling for round the house - we had a wallaboo, so it didn't need any complicated tying.
ii) lots of young babies get wind, so make sure you have infacol or something similar
iii) have several trial runs with car seat, buggy - remember you may be doing it with a screaming baby so under pressure. We only tried them once, so by the time the pressure of a screaming baby was on, it was stressful trying to remember which lever / button to press.
iv) white noise CD - brilliant at helping baby settle
v) set up internet supermarket shopping, so when you need food you can just order a delivery really quickly.
vi) even if you are planning to breast feed, worth having ready-made formula and baby bottles in the cupboard just in case it doesn't work out, or you decide to mix feed.
vi) try to get out of the house every day. our ante-natal class all agreed that they all seemed to be happier once you actually made it out of the door (although getting out of the door was tough)
vii) have your change bag ready packed before baby appears, it'll make your first trip out loads easier

firstimer30s Mon 16-Dec-13 18:15:54

Some brilliant advice! Thanks all thanks
So... I need to get organised, cook and freeze, and be confident enough to tell people not to come over! Got it smile
Will use Christmas break to learn about car seats and prams and the like....

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