Post birth survival tips...(31 Posts)
Organising hosp bag / childcare / planning the weeks after the birth - and would like some tips - what made your life bearable in those fuzzy first few weeks?
easy meals, online shopping, dont allow too many visitors.
A guest who bought washed baby gros I had never changed a boy before and everytime I took his nappy off he peed and I couldn't catch like I did with my sister it went everywhere. Also mum coming and taking my washing .
Keep everyone away for as long as possible, it was just me, DH and DS for the first two weeks, it was lovely - no need to worry about tidying up, how things looked, providing biscuits etc - just getting used to him being in our lives!
Husband taking as long off work as possible, even if unpaid. A month is minimum for me to enjoy the whole thing.
Online delivery of food and laundry detergent to turn up in a couple weeks time.
Bed in lounge so could watch telly during marathon nights of feeding. Thank gods for BBC4!
Only invite people round who will clean up or handle a grouchy baby while you have a nap. Anyone stressful can wait.
Rope in someone else to do the housework, my mum came round and blitzed my house a couple of times in the first few weeks, twas lovely. Even hire a cleaner if you can afford it, but I'm a bit anal about being in a tidy house so perhaps it's low on everyone else's priorities. An untidy house makes me feel itchy.
Quick meals in the freezer.
DVDs or something funny to watch during marathon night feeds (ds was so slow I usually had time to watch a film)
Support thats helpful and avoiding guests that need attention. They should be doing things for you...
When If I do it again I'd ensure that me and DH were more prepared mentally for the frist few weeks. It'stotal joy, but its hard work in many ways, particularly if breastfeeding.
If its the first time, I'd ensure that your DP/DH is fully aware of how full on breastfeeding (if you are doing it) can be. Make sure he understands your feelings on subject, ie wanting to perservere though any issues and ensure he knows what he can do to support you through issues (ie hugs, chocolate, hand holding)- not fixing issues by suggesting FF at every issue.
My DH and I not being prepared for how completely focused i was on feeding and blinkered I was to the rest of reality for about 4wks was really hard on him, and consequently made is very hard on me.
Not meaning to be negative but knowing this would have helped me HUGELY in the first few weeks and definately my survival tip for next time.
I found that during the first weeks of breastfeeding I was hungry all the time. Make sure you have some reasonably healthy snacks to hand in case you need an energy boost - rather than a full meal - when feeding baby. I went through a lot of Soreen!
Don't worry/feel guilty about not doing housework or sitting around in your PJs all day. DS is now 11 weeks and there are still some days where we're not dressed before lunch!
Try to sleep when baby is sleeping. I found this hard to do as I always felt I should be cleaning or tidying or doing something productive while I had the chance but really, it would have been better to catch up on sleep. I found the more rested I was, the patient I was with DS.
Get your DP to take the baby out for a walk in the buggy for an hour if the weather is nice while you relax in the bath. Sometimes it's good just to hand over responsibility for a short while and have some time to yourself.
Hope this helps, good luck with everything.
Get prepped now, that's if you've only got a few days/week or so to go-
Make sure the house is clean and tidy, change the sheets, do all the washing etc; you will not want to come home from hospital to a mess.
Stock up your freezer with easy meals like spag bol, chicken stews, chile, in tupperware so you can just defrost them and cook pasta or potatoes and veg to go with.
Always sleep if the baby is sleeping, if you can. Feed on the bed lying down so you both just drop off to sleep.
Like everyone has said online shopping and easy visitors only.
Just don't expect too much of yourself, you will need to recover even if you have an easy birth and an angelic baby, the first few weeks can take some adjusting to.
Good luck, it's lovely really
Warm dressing gown or cardi for night feeds, even now it's chilly at 3am!
Lots of crumpets, tea cakes etc for hearty snacks
Sky Plus or similar so you can record favourute series - you won't be able to watch at scheduled times, plus it gives you somethibng to watch during long feeds
More muslins than you can possibly imagine
DH had three weeks off work totally, and then took two days a week for 5 further weeks. It was fab as we had no family locally and meant we were able to all get out together.
Get an insulated cup so that your tea is still hot, and fairly spill proof whenever you drink it.
When you are on your own all day, get DH to make some sandwiches up and put them in the fridge so that you can just grab them when you have time.
Don't clean or do any more housework than necessary - ie washing and washing up. It really doesn't matter
Oh yes, a big pile of muslins is an absolute necessity!
I would say - stock up on freezer meals, easy snacks such as cereal bars etc, even cheap bottled drinks you can just grab before sitting down to feed. Get a decent V pillow, you will use it so much for feeding, laying baby down to sleep etc
I invested in a lovely dark dressing gown which I could just chuck on over anything I was wearing to recieve visitors. Specify a time limit on the visit "Yes of course you can pop round for an hour to see the baby, sorry it'll be a short visit but I'm so tired" Make sure to tell visitors where the kettle and biscuit tin is, and how you take your coffee, do not wait on them while they cuddle your baby the whole time!
Limit visits around the 3-5 day mark as you'll probably be feeling down and it's easy to offend people when the baby blues hit (especially when they do well meaning things like get all your lochia stained pants together for a wash and hang them in a less than pristine state on the line outside for the neighbours to see, as happened to my poor sister whose mil then thought her hysterical when she burst into tears)
Oh yes and vitally - if you're going to bf, accept now that you probably will be stuck to the couch for several weeks while the baby feeds incessantly. Many people start to worry when it's the 5th or 6th week and they still can't get dressed before noon, and the baby is STILL clamped to them every hour. That's what it's like, give it a few more weeks and suddenly it all becomes easier.
I'd second the plate on sandwiches in the fridge. DH did me a lunch plate each day for first couple of weeks after he went back to work.
Not sure I would have eaten otherwise!
Also avoiding visitors 3-5pm is good tip.
Good tip about water bottles but save yourself money by buying a 6 pack of bottles and then just refil them from the tap.
DD is 10.5wk and I still drink from bottles that have been chilled in the fridge. Easier to grab quickly before a feed
a nice comfy dressing gown
take aways or home cooked meals from friends, you CAN"T get it together to cook
hot choc and Jordan's crunchy cereal to eat in the night as you get so hungry bf
a very fresh, citrussy shower gel to feel a bit less minging
good books to read while bf, but not too challenging
a little torch for night times if you don't want to put the lights on
thank you cards with stamps on ready for pressies, also birthday cards ready for any birthdays in the next 3 months!
get your hair cut before the birth as no time afterwards.
2 in 1 shampoo as you don't have time to condition separately afterwards (I'm not joking!)
For goodness sake you are having a baby not stocking up for a siege. I know these tips are supposed to be helpful but if I had read these before ds1 i would have gone into such a panic. My biggest tip ( now on dc3) is chill! Hard I know but the shops do not shut because you have had a baby, the world does not stand still and everyone will offer to help, Take peoples help but chill and enjoy the precious days, it will be fine. Hard but wonderful and fine!
I would agree with benandoli, the first few weeks are fantastic but also emotionally and physically demanding. Just allow yourself time to heal, rest and care for little one. Let everyone else do everything else.
Things i wish I had at home ready:
lots more absorbant materials for you and baby (LOL)I have packs of cheap black knickers from Asda & Tesco & night time pads rather than disposable knickers & maternity pads (more comfy & half the price) I think DH was sent out every day for a week as I was always running out of stuff!
salt for the bath
A jug in the bathroom for when you go to the loo
DP at home for as long as possible
I'd perhaps think about what stresses you out most - like someone else mentioned I found it more stressful to sit in a room that looked like a bomb had hit it, whilst still wearing milk splattered pyjamas at lunchtime.
For me, what kept me sane was making sure I had a shower and got dressed before DH went to work, that way if I felt I wanted to get out of the house - I could just get the pram out and go.
I also found it less stressful to get things cleared up once a day, not spending my whole time doing housework - but doing just enough.
And second time around, acknowledging this and doing something about it - rather than sitting feeling I should be spending every waking moment with my baby/not showering until lunchtime - made me feel much better.
It's the same with the whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" mantra - I find it really hard to sleep during the day, I always have done and once I accepted that second time around and just made sure I rested and ate during those times, I felt much better. Not that you shouldn't sleep or stay in your pyjamas, but do what feels right for you..
Definitely microwave meals and easy to eat food. I got lots of covent garden fresh soups to eat, which felt healthy and were easy to drink in a mug whilst feeding. Plus oatcakes and lots of bottled water with nice cordials to make them taste of something..
Also a nice shower gel ,you may not get time for a bath but at least a five minute shower with a really nice shower gel makes you feel human.
And try to get out every day, that really helped me stay sane and I think baby and you sleep better when you've had some fresh air.
Great tips here, I wish I'd known some of this.
I would have a little "station" of supplies upstairs wherever baby will sleep and by the sofa to include: changing mat, nappies, cream, cotton wool etc, breast pads, water bottle.
It took dh and I weeks to work that out instead of carting it all up and down everyday (it's grim at 2am to change a nappy and realise its all downstairs).
MW recommended tea tree & lavender oil baths twice a day for healing. I never found time for 2 a day (with a newborn??) but I loved those baths.
I wear cheap, fitted, long sleeved cardigans (H&M) for nighttime feeds (if you plan to bf). Its a v-neck one so I can feed dd lying down in bed without having to faff. I had a bf nightdress but it was far too fiddly.
Find some comfy snuggly day clothes so that if you feel you have to get dressed for visitors you can also be very comfy.
get your online shopping list arranged now, and trial it so you know how it works out for you.
Have a few packets of microwave rice and pasta and microwave sauces in the cupboard. As well as more hearty meals in the freezer ready to be bliped at any moment...
Oh and did I say Buy a Microwave!!!
As soon as you can, put your baby to sleep upstairs after the feed closest to 7pm, even if you have to go up and feed him or her acouple ofhours later it will give you the feeling that you have had the evening together.
Go to bed after the feed closest to 9.30 and get your DP to stay up for till the next feed, DH stayed up and bought the boys to me in bed for a feed then he settled them back to bed and I didn't wake up properly and managed to sleep a bit longer until the middle of the night shift (which was mine )
If you are a thank you card kind of person, buy thank you cards ahead of time, address and stamp the envelopes to the people most likely to buy you gifts then have them by the side of the sofa so if you get 5 minutes you can just do a few at a time.
There are so many things... I am really evious of the amazing journey you are about to take.. Enjoy the ride
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