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How much support will I need in baby's first few weeks

(20 Posts)
wellthisisnew Fri 06-May-16 17:14:39

Hello, This is my first post so hopefully I'm posting in the correct place.

My baby is due in a few weeks and I'm concerned that perhaps I need some support. I have no family who can be around to help, and my partner isn't taking paternity leave. My friends all work so although they're lovely I can't rely on them. I'm wondering if I should hire some help in to get me through the first few weeks? Do you think this will be helpful, and if so how many hours, days should I be looking for?

It's not that I want someone else to look after my child - I want to be a completely hands on mum - it's just that without a partner or family around I'm wondering if I'm being unrealistic.

And, I've never done this before so despite all the books I've read and classes I've attended I guess I'm a bit naive as to what's needed!

Thank you in advance for reading my post.

Frazzled2207 Fri 06-May-16 17:27:52

If you can afford it do get some paid help, though firstly why is your partner not taking PL (self-employed?).
Chances are baby will want near constant cuddles/feeds when born which is fine as you can do that but things like making food for yourself, washing will be very difficult without help.
You will also likely need someone to cuddle the baby while you nap as you may be exhausted.
I had a difficult vaginal birth and was physically in a very bad way for at least a week.
Whatever you do stock up on easy freezer food or batch cook before baby arrives. Eating well in those first weeks is important, especially if you're breastfeeding

Frazzled2207 Fri 06-May-16 17:30:21

Sorry re-read my post you may have an easy birth and an easy newborn in which case you may well be fine! Obviously you can't predict but I couldn't have coped without very hands on dad on PL.

wellthisisnew Fri 06-May-16 17:37:50

Yes you guessed it, he's self employed. He'd love to take the time off but it's just not possible. I've stocked up the freezer! Thank you for your reply Frazzled2207.

Fwaffy Fri 06-May-16 17:39:05

My DH couldn't take paternity leave but my DF had retired shortly before DD's birth and he'd visit 2-3 times a week in the early weeks.

He was a Godsend. He'd chat to baby and rock her to sleep while I napped and then get dishwashers and washes on and make lunch. When DD needed feeding I'd come down and feed her and sit and snuggle while he pottered around changing lightbulbs and such and making me tea.

I look back on it as one of the loveliest times in my relationship with my lovely dadsmile

If you don't have family I would absolutely get someone in who is willing to do similar- look after baby if you need a nap, do some housework if not etc. Makes life sooooo much easier, and early parenthood much less lonely.

Best of luck and congrats in advance!flowers

MrsSparkles Fri 06-May-16 17:43:29

My second is due in few weeks, and DH is delaying his paternity leave to be here for the school holidays (we decided that would be more help).

I've hired a cleaner, and been busy stocking the freezer. Also set up online food orders (in case I don't feel like going shopping). Make sure your DH understands he needs to take over for a bit when he gets in from work so you can have a rest. And maybe look into the local childrens centre/groups so you can get out and meet some other new mums, I found the isolation quite difficult.

With DD1 I had a fairly easy birth, and she was a relatively good sleeper, so I think I would have been fine without DH taking paternity leave - it was basically 2 weeks extra holiday for him.

TheABC Fri 06-May-16 17:43:57

If money permits, mothers help or a doula (they offer post birth support) would be ideal. I had a cleaner in for the first few months - it really helped.

Wolfiefan Fri 06-May-16 17:48:48

It totally depends but a cleaner and maybe someone about for at least a couple of weeks can't hurt. My DH always took paternity leave. I had straightforward vaginal births and recovered quickly. If I'd had a section I would probably have needed much more help.

cornishglos Fri 06-May-16 19:27:28

I didn't need any with ds but dd was poorly after a week and I needed someone to watch ds while I went back to hospital with her. Too many variables to predict. Though with only one child you may well be ok. Be aware that you will be tired and in pain after the birth.

Lules Fri 06-May-16 19:46:28

It really really depends. I had a difficult birth ending in an emcs and then got the baby blues. My husband ended up taking 4 weeks at home as I couldn't cope when he was meant to go back after 2 (we were in hospital for the first week). I really needed the emotional support as well as the practical. I'm not saying this to scare you because chances that won't happen (and it was all fine in the end) but just to say that it would be sensible to plan something more than ad hoc stuff if there's an emergency.

ParsleyTheLion1 Fri 06-May-16 20:26:56

Can you afford a maternity nurse? My DH did zilch. Didn't take PL (even though not self employed). Looked like a train had hit him when he first held DS (claimed never to have held a baby before).
He still hasn't changed a nappy unsupervised (DS is 16mo). BUT he paid for a maternity nurse for me for 3 months. I don't know what I would have done without her. For a start, I was often ill with high fevers (mastitis and then breast abscess) and could barely look after myself let alone another human being. And she taught me soooo much. I did loads with her and picked up so many tips and she made me so very much more confident.

Caterina99 Fri 06-May-16 20:28:43

Really hard to know! I'm in the US where there's no paternity leave and my family all live in UK. I ended up having an emcs and was really ill. I was in hospital for nearly a week, but I still had a week at home until my parents arrived when DS was nearly 2 weeks old.

I managed that week, but DH was either working from home or coming home early and a few friends dropped in to see DS and brought food and helped me out for a bit. DS basically just slept and fed so wasn't hard to look after, but I found feeding myself, cleaning, washing etc to be hard. Never been so happy to see my mum and know that at least for the next few weeks I was going to get 3 meals a day and me and the baby would have clean clothes!

If you have no help at all then I'd definitely hire someone for a couple of hours a day. Both for some company and to either give you a break from baby or do some household chores. Depends so much on your physical condition, the baby and how many hours your DH works as to how much support you'll need

wellthisisnew Sat 07-May-16 13:50:30

Hello Everyone, thank you all so much for your comments they're a great help. Thanks for making me part of the mum's net community. x

FutureGadgetsLab Sat 07-May-16 13:55:51

I couldn't have done it without my mum for the first 6 weeks. We alternated night feeds so we both got some sleep. I have no idea how some people do it themselves.

blowmybarnacles Sat 07-May-16 14:07:56

I had none! No family of any use nearby. My sister came round a cooked scrambled eggs one day and left the pan in the sink for me to clean. She never came round again (seriously, no kids herself either, never came to see me).

DP was off for a week, that was it. I remember thinking the Health Visitor would be around every week so found that comforting. I was horrified when I learnt that wasn't the case. shock DD was on the breast constantly and she didn't nap either, unless in the buggy.

But it was all fine. DP cooked pizza / pasta and the house went to hell. You find your own way. As long as I had time to shower, DD was fed and happy, I had snacks and water to hand and good TV, I was very happy. I just remember being so very happy those early months, feeding her, taking walks and enjoying motherhood and not a soul helped me out. You will be fine!

MessyBun247 Sat 07-May-16 16:39:58

If you can afford help then absolutely, go for it. A doula or mothers-help could be invaluable.

Even with my supportive partner, family and friends, I found it hard.

Stock up on ready-meals and things that can be eaten one-handed!

superwormissuperstrong Sat 07-May-16 16:53:24

In your position (not that different to mine - but I am probably going to try to struggle through though) I think a mothers help for a couple of hours every other day would be useful for say 4 weeks with the potential to extend it if its working well.
The tasks I would give the mothers help are the cleaning and general housekeeping rather than particularly getting her to do anything relating to the baby. So: hoovering, clean floors, kitchen surfaces and bathrooms, put on/hang out/fold up washing, make you some lunch or dinner, change bed linen. This hopefully leaves you free to bond and attend to your baby, and gives you the chance to also nap when the baby naps rather than having to do housework.

albertcampionscat Sat 07-May-16 17:12:50

The really vexing thing is that you can't know, because it depends on the baby & the birth. Refluxy baby and c-section or bad tear = all the help in the world. Easy baby and easy birth = much less help.

ElspethFlashman Sat 07-May-16 17:27:21

I had no help (although DH was very good in fairness) and we managed fine.

But the house went to hell, I honestly don't think it was hoovered for a month! We ate frozen pizzas or pasta every day and I ate a lot of toast and tea during the day. I showered embarrassingly rarely.

Scary things like attempting to bath the baby were done in the evening when DH could join in. No way was I doing that on my own!

So everything went to hell in a hand basket but you know what? Nobody cared! We were in our little slightly smelly bubble and we were fine. wink

After the first month I finally felt like I was getting my shit together and had more confidence to have the baby in a bouncer in the bathroom whilst I showered.

Oh and slings help if you've got a clingy baby which they all are . I vividly remember washing the dishes with baby strapped to me and feeling like Smug Super Mum.

getlostdailyfail Sat 07-May-16 18:52:22

It really depends on what your baby is like, and how much he or she sleeps, and also how well you both take to breastfeeding.

However, I would still say have your freezer stocked up, access to take aways, a cleaner and if you can afford it a maternity nurse or like a doula who can help you out for a few hours.
Honestly I had two pair of hands to help (hubby was a bit shite), but even then I really struggled. But it really depends on how the birth, post birth experience and how the baby is, but I would recommend you have at least some form of help in place!

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