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Advice on how to actually enjoy life with a new baby?

(130 Posts)
SK166 Sat 16-Jun-18 08:03:35

This might sound ridiculous but I’m currently 38 weeks with first baby and the only messaging I’m hearing, from all directions, is about how hard and exhausting and awful and emotional and relentless and generally terrible it is having a new baby. It’s genuinely my biggest worry right now - more than the birth - that I’m just going to hate it, because from the way everyone talks it’s just going to be relentlessly awful.

Has anyone got anything positive to say?! I’m all for being prepared for the realities and I know it’s going to be no walk in the park, but there must be some up sides, surely?

I’m lucky to have a very devoted and loving husband who is so excited to meet his baby girl. He’s a grafter and I know he’ll pitch in with all the dirty work to take care of us, but realistically he’s also going to be gone a lot, possibly right from the very beginning, because he’s self-employed, running 2 businesses and we’re in a tough financial situation at the moment so with me just on MAT pay, he’s going to need to work a lot.

Tell me it’s going to be ok and I’ll actually enjoy some of it and still find joy and things to do that don’t cost money?!

TempleOfBlooms Sat 16-Jun-18 08:09:49

I loved the newborn stage. A lot will depend on your baby and how calm it is. My first born was quite calm and happy if held so I just enjoyed the snuggles. I would surround myself with water and snacks then snuggle down with a good box set and breast feed for hours.

I also made lots of new mum friends who really made it fun. I signed up to every baby group and class going.

And cut yourself slack, don’t expect to be a domestic goddess, just concentrate on being a mum.

Also order a book called “Why Love Matters” which is about infant brain development. It’s nicely written and makes you realise that when you have held and rocked the baby ALL day you have done nothing, you have helped with optimal brain development of a tiny human.

SinkGirl Sat 16-Jun-18 08:10:06

I didn’t have a typical start to motherhood - my twins were taken straight to nicu for a very long stay, but please try not to panic. Right now you can only imagine all the stressful things but you can’t imagine all the wonderful things you’ll feel. It is exhausting, of course it is, but those early months are magical too. Newborns are very portable so you can still go and do things like have coffee with friends, go to baby friendly cinema screenings etc.

Try to enjoy it because that newborn phase is so short and as hard as it is in some ways, I really miss it in lots of others.

TempleOfBlooms Sat 16-Jun-18 08:11:41

Sorry I missed the money point. Some baby classes cost but our library and our GP both ran free baby groups and classes.

I also walked pushing the pram a lot. Getting out into nature was nice and it meant I quickly lost the baby weight.

RoseHarper Sat 16-Jun-18 08:19:31

I LOVED the newborn stage...yes, you are tired but you are off work, your days are your own...i met loads of new friends at baby groups, watched tons of box sets, enjoyed loads of walks out with the pram. I truly remember it as a really lovely time just getting to know my babies. There are challenging days and a lot will depend on your baby's nature...take it as it comes and please dont stress about it.

Nuffaluff Sat 16-Jun-18 08:28:57

Take no notice of these people- I honestly don’t know why people go on about how difficult it is. i had some of that when I was pregnant. Trying to scare me about labour, breastfeeding, etc.
Of course the newborn stage is hard, but it can also be wonderful. I remember cuddling my little boy, giving him kisses, feeding him and just feeling the most overwhelming feeling of unconditional love for him. This was once we’d settled into a good routine after about three weeks. You very quickly become an expert in looking after a newborn.
Once you’ve healed physically after the birth, just go out for some walks. That’s the lovely thing about having a summer baby.

katmarie Sat 16-Jun-18 08:34:47

It is hard at times, but it's so lovely just snuggling up with a newborn baby, I didn't move off the sofa for days at a time, it was bliss.

DwangelaForever Sat 16-Jun-18 08:39:09

The baby stage is the easiest (imo) all they do is eat sleep and poop - yes it can be draining when they are crying or feeding all the time but for me the hard work started when my daughter was on the move, having to run after her and make sure she was safe!

She's nearly 2 now and happily plays alone but I feel bad about letting her do this so I always feel pressured to be doing something with her to keep her occupied!

mummastripes Sat 16-Jun-18 08:41:28

From my experience every woman handles things differently. You might be a type of woman that sails through it with no problem at all. It just depends on the type of person you are.

It is not horrific but it is tiring and you will have days that are up and down. I think sometimes people are prone to exaggerating when reflecting on the first few months.

My advice would be try and go out every day, even if it's just a walk to the shop and try lots of different baby groups.

DwangelaForever Sat 16-Jun-18 08:41:41

I also did what @TempleOfBlooms did and got out walking with the pram (and some audiobooks) and my dd was born in October so this was the height of autumn/winter I was out in all weather - it helped me with my sanity.

Deffo look for mum and baby groups they were also a life line for me. Don't know what it's like where you are but I live in a sure start area and they have free classes such as baby massage, baby yoga etc so was worth looking into them too!

QueenAravisOfArchenland Sat 16-Jun-18 08:46:15

I really want to be both honest and helpful, so here goes - it can be hard. It can be very hard if you have a bad birth, a colicky or refluxy baby, a truly terrible sleeper etc. For some people the very newborn period is something just to be got through. For most people with baby #1 there is some degree of shock as well at the magnitude of the change in your life and how tied down you now are. But the absolute worst case scenario is that it's really just a very short period and then it gets better. Newborns are very portable and don't have to be amused so for most people you can have long sofa snuggles while you watch endless box sets, or sit and have a leisurely coffee while they kip in the pram.

Just remind yourself that you'll cope. Practically everyone does and at least some of them are undoubtedly more useless than you. The newborn days pass in a flash and you will miss them one day. Just take it one day at a time and try to be accepting.

Bowlofbabelfish Sat 16-Jun-18 08:49:01

It is hard but it’s also lovely. The hard parts are good to be aware of beforehand so you can think about how to mitigate:

The hard bits are recovery from birth, lack of sleep and the general ‘oh my god I’m responsible for this tiny vulnerable thing.’

- if you end up with a section you need someone with you for a bit, so think about other family who can help?
- batch cook NOW and fill the freezer, we found that invaluable
- rope in family to give you a bit of help if DH is away.
- google things like how to bathe and change.
- if you breastfeed learn to do it lying down. That way if you’re utterly knackered you can just go to bed, lie you both down and feed. Make sure to google how to co sleep safely.

So yes it can be hard. But it’s also pretty amazing. And you’ll manage, because failure isn’t an option.

Babies need nothing more than to be fed, warm, clean and loved. They don’t need baby classes, or fancy stuff, or expensive clothes, classes for yoga or massage or sensory or anything. They just need you. Go for walks, or just park yourself on the sofa and watch entire series of crap on Netflix while you feed. Whatever works.

It’s a big change, but you’ll manage. And bits you will find hard and bits you will find wonderful. Just take it as it comes

FartnissEverbeans Sat 16-Jun-18 09:40:48

It's hard and exhausting and absolutely beautiful and lovely.

Even the night feeds - there's something very special about being alone with your baby, when the rest of the world is asleep and it's just the two of you together. It's physically difficult at the time but I didn't grudge a minute of it. I used to leave a couple of lights on in anticipation of his inevitable wake ups, and even now I still do, just in case, even though he sleeps through. I think those lights will always be left on, just in case.

My husband has a photo of me and DS in the first few days - I'm lying asleep on the sofa with a blanket, the baby is sleeping in a basket next to me on the floor, and the two of us are holding hands. I think that picture sums up the newborn stage for me.

The whole world changes when you have a baby. I felt like everything was spinning until finally it settled, and when it did, everything was different. You feel things differently, you care about different things... there are no words for it. I'm not a 'spiritual' person but the first week or so with DS was the closest I've ever come to a spiritual experience. I've never felt love and fear and pain and joy so intensely and I don't know if I will ever feel like that again. Whenever I see a mother with a child now I think about what she's gone through and I feel quite overwhelmed by the sheer volume of love in the world.

Everyone has their own experiences of course, but that was mine. Congratulations OP. Prepare to be amazed, because what is about to happen to you is the most bizarre and awesome thing that will ever happen to you in your life.

Scotinoz Sat 16-Jun-18 10:25:17

I really enjoyed having tiny babies 🙂 Yes, I was tired (especially when number 2 arrived) but it was still lovely.

I had a lovely mother's group and we went for leisurely walks and coffees, which progressed to coffee in someone's living room when the babies got older and preferred rolling around. I read books while feeding, I went to museums/cinema, binge watched some TV etc...basically I did stuff I wanted since it's all interesting to a baby.

Some babies are hard work, but I was lucky and got easy going ones. Lots of people say the more laid back you are, the more laid back your baby is though.

We had some hideous days of course, but mostly it was all good. You don't need to spend a fortune, especially early on since babies just want to be cuddled.

MonicaGellerHyphenBing Sat 16-Jun-18 11:28:25

I'll be honest, I hated the newborn stage and found it one big relentless, thankless slog. So thanks Nuffaluff for being so dismissive of people that find it hard and making them feel even more guilty than they probably already do.

I had a colicky, refluxy baby who pretty much screamed at me for 4 months and DID NOT SLEEP so there was very little enjoyment to be had and I cried a lot of tears, but honestly I think that's ok. You don't have to enjoy it, for me it was about survival and getting from one day to the next and I have spoken to plenty of other mothers who felt the same. When people would say 'enjoy every minute, they grow up so fast' I felt like telling them to sod off because I hated it so much and felt so incredibly guilty for feeling that way. So don't put too much pressure on yourself to love your new life immediately because it's a massive life change and can be overwhelming.

However looking back on the early days there were definitely good things, like holding your baby while they sleep (doesn't happen anymore!), watching box sets while feeding, going out to eat and having them sleep in their pram next to you, their newborn smell etc. It's the little things like that that you should cherish. I also loved making new mum friends and going out for lunches/coffees with the babies. There are lots of cheap baby groups round where I live that only cost £1 or so.

I will say though, that from around 6/7 months things got WAY more fun and I finally felt that joy that people talk about. My DD is my world, she really is, so even if it doesn't feel like it at times things do get better.

CheeseyToast Sat 16-Jun-18 11:31:58

Oh it's sad the way people line up to frighten expectant mothers. I remember telling a friend, "oh my Gish, it feels amazing, we're so besotted and we can't stop looking at her even when she's asleep" and she said that was the first time she'd heard a positive description of new parenthood.

Of course it's tiring and a big shock but omg the bonus is this delectable and mesmerising little bundle. Savour the moments.

Forumqueen Sat 16-Jun-18 11:43:11

I didn’t enjoy the newborn stage at all. It was so tough for me I didn’t expect it to be so draining. But I had a baby that cried all the time and was waking every two hours at night to be breast fed( this lasted nearly a year) I really think it depends on what kind of baby you have. I struggled going out with my baby as I felt embarrassed by how bad she would cry in public.

I have friends that have dream babies that slept through the night from a few weeks old and were content and smily most of the time. I enjoy my child now that she’s a toddler though she a joy to be around.

JessieMcJessie Sat 16-Jun-18 11:45:12

I don’t know if you are working at the moment but one thing I LOVED about having a new baby was that I could completely and utterly forget about work and the outside world generally and just devote myself 100% to looking after my DS. It’s rare in life that you are allowed that level of singular focus. I found it very calming and when you have no other responsibilities it doesn’t feel so hard. (And of course it’s a luxury you only have with baby #1). I also found that having a baby brought me much closer to my MIL and SIL, though I did like them beforehand and not everyone feels the same about their partner’s family.

And it will quite literally be a walk in the park because you’re having a summer baby! Just think of all the people sweating away in offices while you are out and about!

Good luck. I’m envious, would love another one myself.

snewname Sat 16-Jun-18 11:48:32

One baby was fine. I just slept when she did and relaxed on the housework and other stuff. I just went with the flow and didn't have any expectations about how hard/easy it would be. Expect not to be perfect at this mothering lark and muddle through.

Oh and get out of the house every day, preferably with other mothers and babies. I'd have gone stir crazy if I'd stayed at home.

Now don't get me started on a new baby with a toddler as well...

LeeshaPaper Sat 16-Jun-18 11:56:41

Oh my god I LOVE being at home with my baby. If I could give up work and not have to go back I would. In fact, when I do go back I'm cutting back to two days a week which I never would have thought I'd do before he arrived.

I know some people have a tough time but my baby has never given us trouble (he's 8 months old). Yes he wakes up at night to be fed but that's what babies do so I wasn't expecting full night's sleep.

If you can, I recommend breast feeding, zero prep, pop the baby on. Again I know it doesn't work for everyone and I had to supplement with formula for a while but it's so much easier when/if it works out and you get the hang of it.

Your local health centre might have a free baby group. My local place did a drop in clinic once a week to weigh the baby/ discuss concerns and then the mums go for coffee afterwards.
There's a group that provides parental support and they host a meeting in a different person's house each week, you go along and pay €2 to cover the cost of tea and biscuits (not in the UK but there may be similar)

Loads of people have a tough time with babies but loads don't so don't worry about something that may not happen (easier said than done!)

Aria2015 Sat 16-Jun-18 11:57:19

I loved the newborn stage and my maternity leave (didn't want to go back to work). It's true that it's constant but there are so many lovely things and to me they outweigh the tiredness and other hard bits. I didn't put any pressure on myself and so didn't tie myself down to playgroups or anything and just took each day as it cane. Some days I'd be tired and spend most of the day in bed or sitting on the sofa cuddling my baby and other days I'd be out and about and enjoying people coo over my creation lol! Everyone is different but I'm sure there will be lots of things you'll enjoy and if you have a supportive partner then that's a great start. It's good not to expect rainbows and sunshine all the time because it's not like that all the time but what is? But don't let the stories of unbearable tiredness and monotony put you off, there's loads of joy to be found in a new baby!

Jaxtellerswife Sat 16-Jun-18 11:59:37

I can only state my experience and I k ow it's not the same for all.
The early weeks, months and years are exhausting, hectic but somehow still inactive..stressful, tiring. Being unable to eat or do almost anything without a baby in arms. It's life changing.
It's easily been the best time of my life though. By a long way! After two, things are getting back to normal but here we are considering having just one more because for us, the joys outweigh the difficulties. Yes, leaving the front door takes more planning than before and sleeping all night disappears for a while but you get used to it and adapt.
Everything I thought I'd miss like the pub, freedom to lay in etc has been replaced with different fun.
Good luck thanks

Nuffaluff Sat 16-Jun-18 12:00:01

monica
Nothing about my post was intended as dismissive of people who found the newborn stage difficult. Good grief.
The OP was talking about people telling her how difficult having newborn baby is all the time and wanted to hear some good stories. Some people, when they hear someone is pregnant, positively delight in telling the expectant mum how shit it will be. It’s the last thing the expectant mother needs to hear.
As my previous post said, if you had read it properly:
of course the newborn stage is hard, but it can also be wonderful.

arethereanyleftatall Sat 16-Jun-18 12:00:08

I loved having one newborn, absolutely loved it. Probably the best year of my life. I strapped her to me, and had a year long holiday. She smiled, slept anywhere, bfed quickly.

letsallhaveanap Sat 16-Jun-18 12:07:00

baby cinema!! My local small cinema did one at 11am for mums with babies under 1 and they turn up the lights and turn down the volume and have the subtitles on so you can still follow the film even if baby is making noise. At mine you got a cup of tea and cake with the ticket price and I loved it and met some lovely mums that way.

Its difficult but its not relentlessly awful... and I say that even as someone who had a horrendous birth and PND... there were still many moments of extreme joy.
I used to also enjoy going for long walks with my baby in the pram facing me... I never used one of those carrycots just lay a pushchair suitable from birth flat so I could always see my babies face (used the cosy toes in winter) and it was really beautiful as I watched him grow and respond more in his face.. smiling one day at me... and then further along waving and clapping! He did these firsts for me during our walks and that was really special!
You know the lack of sleep is hard, and the guilt and the constantly being needed and the weight of responsibility are all very hard... but obviously there are all these incredible moments of joy and love that make the experience beautiful... no one would ever have kids if this wasnt the case! You lose some freedoms but you gain things you never knew were there to gain in terms of how much love you feel.

Congratulations flowers

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