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So the baby will be born... what next?(32 Posts)
So I'm 38+5 with my first baby (a girl) and even though I'm still terrified of birth, its recently occured to me that there is life after birth that will be a baby to deal with. :P Has anyone got advice for the first few weeks after birth with the baby - dos, don'ts, setting rountines etc.
Everyone is happily giving me advice about pregnancy but I'm strating to wonder what will happen next. (All people say about the newborn stage is "its hard" but the actual advice is less forthcoming.) My mum will be coming to visit for the few weeks after the baby is born (something that I'm increasingly grateful for).
Thanks in advance!
Wait and see, accept help offered and don't worry if the ironing doesn't get done or the sink is full of dishes! Just try to relax and enjoy it.
I didn't even attempt to set routines with DS, although he set his own within the first 2 weeks anyway.
1. Abandon with glee any chores/housework/cooking - they will be someone elses problem for a few weeks
2. The first 6 weeks are HARD and exhaustion that you just cannot comprehend until it happens. Shame you can't bank sleep
3. You can spend whole days just gazing at your baby in awe and wonderment. You start in the morning and next thing you know its bedtime (albeit a very early bedtime!)
4. If breastfeeding - its hard, whether just for a few days (like my friend) or for the first 6 weeks (me - it was brutal) but it does get better and support groups are ace. We are 13wks in now and its soooo easy. Lansinoh (sp?) cream is ESSENTIAL
4. FF is also hard work. I did it for 18 hours (because of above). I was so sleep deprived I would forget how many scoops I had put in the bottle and have to start again (and again, and again....)
5. Forget routines. The only vague routine will be feed, change nappy, sleep, repeat. In between that time you can attempt a shower and food for yourself (one handed though - see below). This "routine" can be repeated from anywhere between every 30mins-2hours (unless you are one of those jammy buggers who has an easy baby!)
6. There is every chance that your precious bundle will object loudly to being put down on their own and will want to use you as a pillow as well as a restaurant.
7. Night sweats post birth (and not just because its bloody boiling like now) are a distinct possibility. Take a 500ml frozen bottle of water to bed each night and keep flannels in the freezer (I also used frozen flannels and water during labour - bliss for me but a friend shivered throughout her labour!
Erm.... baby brain means I can't really remember anything really useful or put it in a decent order...
I don't think there are any hard and fast rules really, the most important thing is to do what you are comfortable with.
The first few days were wonderful because we were on such a high, about a week or so later I crashed when the sleeplessness hit me and that coincided with DH having to go back to work so that was very tough. Just do what you need to do, don't do housework (it'll wait honestly) - just spend your time on what is important, you and baby. Rest whenever the baby sleeps, even if its just feet up on the sofa.
Fill your freezer with oven meals (premade or homemade), just stuff you or your other half can stick in the oven for 30 minutes and then its ready to eat. Collect takeaway menus for when all else fails. When I had two both under 1.5yrs my DH used to make my lunch at night whilst I was breastfeeding and put it in the fridge, then when I was hungry the next day I could just grab it (I do have a very lovely DH!)
Lower your expectations of what you will be doing in the first few months and then you won't get stressed out. I made sure to go out everyday, even if it was a walk to the post office to get the paper. I considered my days a success if we were all ok, baby and I both dressed and washed and fed - everything else is a bonus! If you have high expectations of doing this and that and going here and there then you can find it hard to keep up and feel like you are failing, if that makes sense!
Have you thought about a routine for the baby versus baby led parenting? I am a routine type girl by nature and I would have really struggled without it. Equally though, I have good friends who have always been more easy going who hate the idea of a routine for them or baby and trying to stick to one caused misery.
The one thing I wish someone had told me is that baby girls may have a little bloody vaginal discharge in her nappy due to the withdrawal of maternal hormones after delivery. This usually stops as the hormones return to normal levels. It scared the living crap out of me, I was ready to get her to A&E!!
One handed meals are absolutely necessary. You will eat a lot of sandwiches. And if you are BF-ING, lots of cake that you don't need to feel guilty about
Make sure you have phone numbers for NHS direct, BF support, your local doctors surgery and your local chemist etc on hand. Do not be scared to use these numbers. It's much better to be thought of as a nutter pfb parent who calls when their child sneezes than to spend hours worrying or leave your baby suffering.
Buy paracetamol and ibuprofen for you post-birth.
Take lots of photos.
If you feel like staying in bed together then do it.
Enjoy every minute. They change so quickly. DS is 10 weeks now and looks so different than at weeks one or two.
I had one of these bottles for night time breastfeeding because it made me so thirsty. I left the insert in the freezer all day and then put it in before bed. It was lovely having a cool drink at the 3am feed in the morning, I was so, so thirsty.
If you end up with stitches after birth and they give you co-codamol try not to use it, it can cause constipation which is awful with stitches. My MWs prescribed co-codamol but then the gynae came round to see me and told me not to take them unless I really needed to, better to stick to paracetamol if you can manage to.
Think rhythm- you'll both find yours!
Only allow useful visitors (those who are going to clean/cook/make their own tea) I know that sounds mean, but you'll know what I'm on about when baby turns up.
Trust your instincts.
Stock up your freezer with
ready meals home cooked meals.
Remember that having a baby is hard work, whether they arrive naturally or by section, so do not feel guilty for feeling tired / not doing what you usually do around the house. Accept that your body has been through a lot in the last nine months, and ignore the pots / ironing etc.
If you have guests around, don't run around after them, if they want a drink, they know where the glasses/cup/kettle/tap is. And get them to wash their glasses / cups afterwards
Internet shop for food.
Use your midwife / health visitor after the birth. Dont worry or feel silly for asking questions. We've just had our second baby and still freaked out about his belly button having forgotten everything about having our DD five years ago! The HV / miwife will have see and heard it all, use them as a resource, but don't feel you have to take their word as gosple if they're not very nice (some threads on here) and request to see another HV if you dont like yours.
Don't feel pressured to get back to the swing of things too quickly, especially in the bedroom. You'll be knackered, hot and bothered, knackered, stressing about your post baby body, knackered... your partner will undersand.
If you breast feed, accept that its hard work to start with but it does get better, and when you get in the swing of things, you will wonder why you found it difficult to begin with. Its a skill you and your baby have to learn together in terms of positions and what suits you. (I remember crying with DD because I didn't know how to get her latched on, within a week or so we were a dab hand at it!).
If you have sky or any TV where you can tape stuff on the telly in your bedroom, stock up on stuff you can watch in case your LO demands an hour feed in the night; I've been watching ER reruns, and find the break in sleep goes quite fast looking at George Cloony!
Accept that your emotions will be all over the place. I sobbed for an hour after DD was born because I wrote something wrong in her baby record book. Accept that the hormones will settle.
If you want to save yourself some washing, just stick your baby in a vest in the day time if you are not going out, especially in the hot weather. They don't always have to be dressed up "properly" (I learnt my lesson with DD!!)
Take a deep breath with the HV does the heal prick test. Both times I've wanted to hit the HV when they've been doing them to my babies. The tests are really important and it doesn't really hurt the babies (and they forget quickly!) but you will be muttering names under your breath at the HV! If you can remember, make sure your LO has warm feet before hand.
Cuddle your baby lots, and accept you will fall head over heals in love with them at some point. This may be immediate, this may be after the initial shock of the baby actually being there has worn off, or it may be later, but you will (as others have said) find yourself staring at your LO with utter contentment and wondering where the last hour has gone.
If you can, get your DH to knock up a sandwich for you before he goes to work, and leave it in the fridge for you. That way, at least you only have to fetch it to ensure you at least eat something.
When you feed in the day if breast feeding, settle somewhere comfortable, and have the TV remote, the phone, a drink, a biscuit, and whatever you may think you could need in the next half hour.
Learn to smile sweetly at people when they give you advice, and if you are not sure of something, but sure your mother/ grandmother/ inlaws are wrong, ask on mumsnet.
Dont worry too much about routines in the early days. Ignore anybody who says you're making a rod for your own back, just go with the flow and you'll see a routine has developed all on its own
Hope this helps
I wouldnt think at all about routines, just try and get by however works best for you and your LO, their own routine will sort itself out in a few weeks anyway. Its much easier to accept this and go with the flow than try to change their sleep/eating patterns.
Any time you feel guilty about something...
- Feeding method
- Still being in your pjs at 3pm
- Going back to bed rather than going to baby group
- Not getting up to make tea for your visitors
- Spending the morning gazing into dd's eyes rather than putting the washing on
- Doing anything rather than putting the washing on
- Whatever else you read/are told you should be doing and aren't doing/think that every other mum is doing
Stop, remember you've just had a baby and Give Yourself A Break.
Accept all the help you can (and want), ask for help - and especially from dp. Make sure dp is involved from day 1 even if you're bf (eg nappy changing, bathing, cuddling, soothing. It's easy to get to a default position of you being seen as the "expert" and him taking a step back because of it. Doesn't need to be that way).
Anyone who puts the words "rod for your own back" in a sentence can be safely ignored.
Don't worry about bad habits - life is too damn short and having a newborn is too damn hard not to make things easy for yourself whenever you can.
Make things easy for yourself. Ready meals, takeaways, online shopping. One of my best gifts was M&S vouchers the giver intended me to use for ready meals. Leave the housework. Seriously. Do what you need to get by but don't be tempted to blitz the place when the baby sleeps. I did that as soon as my dear mother went home (she'd done everything) and was shattered. Lesson learned.
Don't be afraid to say no to visitors. Even with family. Even if you have to screen your calls or hurt feelings. Visitors are exhausting and the post baby hormones will do you no favours if you resent them being there. If they must come let them make their own cup of coffee and get them to make you one too. You need some time alone with the baby.
Be prepared to chuck your ideals. One of the best pieces of advice my friend, a mother of three, gave me. For example I was determined never to use dummies until I realized that DS was getting me up at night just to suck on something. Be prepared to adjust some of the expectations of what you would do that you thought about while you were pregnant. The other piece of good advice that I received is to do what is best for YOU. What worked wonders for your friend may not suit you. I'm saying this because you will get a lot of people giving you their advice and opinion. A lot of them complete strangers on the street. Anyone who ever tells you that you're spoiling your newborn is talking bollocks. Little babies need lots of love and cuddling to thrive.
Once you feel up to it, I recommend to all my new mum friends that they go out and have coffees, find mother and baby cinema screenings, go to restaurants with your baby while he/she is still portable. Once they start moving this won't be a desirable option.
Honestly, although the baby stage can be difficult and tiring, I never found it hard. Boring and repetitive but not hard.
1. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You're not going to know her cries right off the bat, you're going to be tired and drained, you may have issues with breastfeeding if you choose to and your baby will probably wake up through the night for a long time. You're not a failure or an inadequate mother, I promise.
2. Don't worry about establishing routines too soon. A simple routine such as a feed, bath, sleepsuit and cuddle? Great. An enforced routine? You may find yourself knocking on closed doors.
3. Enjoy as mucgh of it as you can. It's only so long they stay immobile and cuddly so take all the time you need to relax, cuddle, study your baby etc.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you need a break, even if it's tea and a sit down.
5. Don't be afraid to tell visitors to piss off. If ypu want time alone, make it clear. Ask people to call first to check if it's a good time or put a ban on visitors altogether if you're not feeling up to it.
6. Tons of baby bath, baby oil, shampoo etc? Water is your babies best friend.
7. Make time for you as much as you can. Your life changes but doesn't stop because you're a mother. We all need interests, friends and sometimes solitude. It's not easy and takes practice but a balance can be found.
8. Your HV, midwife and GP are great resources if you're stressed, anxious and/or depressed. There are alternatives to medication too.
9. Not a fan of baby groups? You don't need to go. I find them hell on earth but to others they can be saviours.
I posted too soon, sorry!
I meant to say I concur with those who say smile sweetly at advice from others.
Congratulations on your DD!
My cousin gave me some good advice. For the first 6 weeks have a list of 3 things that if you get them done in the day means your day was a success. Hers were: get out of the house, have a shower and put on make-up. Mine were the same 2 but the last was put in contact lenses. (I'm not a make-up person!) You have to find your 3 things but one must be get out of the house. Some days you'll get all 3 done easily. Other days you wont do any - growth spurt days.
Trust your DP with the baby on their own early, often and for short periods of time at the beginning. My DH decided that changing nappies was his way of bonding with DS so I rarely changed nappies at weekends. It was great. Don't always rescue your DP when the baby is crying. Your DP needs to learn how to cope with the baby also - even if it is just to bring you a hungry baby.
I must confess I found the first few weeks (actually, maybe months!) tough. I didn't know what I was doing and found it all quite overwhelming. Advice given above is good. Stock the fridge full of ready meals. Try not to make any plans for the first few weeks. I had great intentions of meeting people for coffee and even going out for dinner (!) but of course none of it ever happened. I found it quite tough to feel comfortable being out and about with the baby to start with.
Don't worry about routines and don't worry about spoiling the baby. My only advice, try and separate day and night for the baby. I.e. feed it during the day in the loungeroom with noise and light. Then after 7pm feed it in your bedroom/nursery with dim lights, little noise. This really worked for me and I still give my 7 month old his nighttime milk in our room with dimmed lights. That way he knows its bedtime.
Good luck and just remember, it may be really really tough and you will wonder what on earth you have done. But it does get better. Week by week it gets easier!
(oh and I found the Boots maternity pads really comfortable and I also bought their sheet protectors/mats which you are meant to use in case your waters broke but I used them to stand on the bathroom after the shower in the hospital and then in the few days after the birth when I was bleeding still.)
Thank you very much for all that ladies. Its good to see the common patterns of advice... espi. thanks for the breastfeeding and rountines (or reassurance regarding lack there of ). I will now fill the freezer with readymeals/pasta sauces.
Its all mildly terrifying but I'm really looking forward to meeting my little wriggler.
Congratulations and a special thank you to all of you who took the time to answer and have little ones yourself
I agree with everything above.
I'd also say if you can afford it and money can solve a problem then spend it. Don't um and ah and wonder if you can manage. Your sanity is worth more than that. Whether it's a cleaner, a takeaway or a vibrating baby chair it's worth it. I hate spending money (but live window shopping!) and really regret trying to economise needlessly in the first few weeks.
Plan to stay in bed for a week. Warn everyone that you plan to do this. If you feel like getting up the day after then great, if you dint at least noone expects you to! That's a luxury you can bank on with a 1st baby.
Be prepared to be exhausted around the 6-8 week mark just before they start giving you a decent sleep at night. Everyone says it gets better around 6 weeks, which is partially true, but before it gets better prepare to be completely shattered and unable to go on, then it gets better.
Cry if you need to. Your DH/P will be a jerk 20 times a day, he won't understand you and he'll do everything wrong. Warn him that this will happen. He probably isn't a jerk, he will try to understand and he'll get more right than he gets wrong but it's your hormones talking. Prepare for your hormones to be up the creek for a while. DS is 8 weeks and there's still this crazy lady living in my head.
If you baby wants to sleep on you or in bed with you, that's fine, especially if it means you both get some sleep. Bad sleep habits can be resolved, PND from sleep deprivation is more difficult to fix.
Eat chocolate, especially dark chocolate for the iron!
Oh and don't be frightened to cut her nails. Sharp little claws scrabbling at your breast = not nice.
I found baby nail clippers and a baby nail file easiest for the nails (following on from last post).
Definitely agree with trying to differentiate between day and night from the beginning - seems to have worked for us too (DS seven months).
You will probably cry at least once a day for the first couple of weeks.
Take it easy. Breastfeeding is nature's way of forcing you to sit down and rest.
Everything will pass - it can be really hard at first but babies change all the time. Things come and go. I found it hard to even get out of the house for a while, but things do settle down.
Breastfeeding can be almost constant, and it can be hard to separate feeds. My DS would often suck and doze on my lap, repeat... for hours. Get yourself some box sets to watch.
-agree with lots here
-internet shopping defo a must
-expect anyone and everyone to want to visit your lo - decide beforehand when you are up for visitors and make sure they know how long to stay for
-that bfing really did hurt for the first 4 - 6 weeks and was a 2 person job for 3 weeks . its fine now though
-that babies can cry....for no apparent reason
-i read the baby whsiperer book in my 3rd tri and although alot of it wasn't yet applicable (like the stuff on weaning) and I didn't think about routines initially, it was great iin giving me ideas and realising how to look after a baby.
-that birth doesnt always go the ay you plan it but afterwards you couldn't care less
-that you cry alot for no reason in the initial weeks (or at least i did) - it's just the hormones
-that you get a hideous tummy overhang and thats normal (or is that just me again?! )
-my dd screamed the hpuse down every time we clothed her and changed her nappy for a good month - wasn't exoecting that
-lots of people swear by those motorised baby swing things to get them to sleep but we didn't have one [tight wad]
-expect to be feeding ypur baby initially 1/4 - 1/3 of the time (thats alot of time a day!). i had no idea feeding could take so long until someone on mn told me this - initially we had to allow about an hour for each feed with all the faffing/burping/changing nappy/feeding etc. that was an hour every 3 hours for us! itd alot quicker now though - dd is 4mo and usually feeds more like `5/20 mins now
everything everyone else has said! You won't know really what you want to to do about a lot of things until baby is here and you get to know each other. One thing I would say that I haven't seen in the skim read of the other posts is do try to ensure that your DP/DH is as involved as poss. Obviously that's hard if you are exclusively breast feeding but he can still be involved even with that. My DP came with me to a bf help clinic and then always checked DS's position and latch - he would nag me "up a bit, along a bit"etc and they can make sure you have what you want in terms of TV, drinks, snacks etc. Try not to get to the position where it HAS to be you that's with the baby and no-one else will do to settle them, otherwise you will have NO break for months. DP can do baths, even washing baby clothes and stocking up on nappies / wipes etc can help them feel part of it because they have to go and choose the right ones. Some people cope with being the only one to do everything but I know I couldn't and haven't. I mix fed both of mine at least partly to allow myself some time off. Best of luck and do your best do enjoy this time - but don't feel bad if you don't either!
Really good advice from everyone! I think if I were lucky enough to have another one, this time I would ask friends and family NOT to send any presents, and if they do, not to expect any thank you cards or acknowledgements for at least 6 weeks. This sounds so ungrateful and the attention was lovely, but I spent most of my free time calling people, writing thank you notes and emails because I didn't want to appear rude, rather than gazing at my wonderful DS or having a shower or eating. Didn't help that the m-in-law kept on ringing saying "have you written to auntie x yet?".
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