Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Coping as a first-time mum - any tips

(27 Posts)
hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 09:36:36

8 weeker.. no family nearby; husband out at work all day.. both suffering from sleep deprivation, and rowing as a result.. having to take baby to hospital appt on my own today as hubby can't get time off work..on a background of baby being prem and in SCBU and several pregnancy losses, early and late..
Been trying to build up local social support networks, NCT not gelled yet as such a gap between first and last babies, but working on it.
A sling has helped in the day - leaves hands free to eg type on mumsnet! - but I guess what I really need is someone to come in for half an hour in the morning so I can shower and have brekkie, and at lunch too, and in the afternoon for an hour, just to sort washing out.
Cos the baby was early, and cos of our history of losses,we hadn't really prepared the house and it would make a real difference to me if we did (we only have 3 rooms, one is a tip with DH's stuff, but he won't tidy it -for the last 3months I have been asking) but it would just give me a few more options of where to sit on days when stuck in the house. I couldn't while pregnant as was on modified bedrest and have only just recovered from my section.
I feel like some hired help would be a good solution but don't know if such a thing exists. Then I'd get the chance to at least have brekkie and shower, and tidy the spare room. We do have a cleaner already thank goodness, so once weekly hoover etc is taken care of, and the only other housework I do is wiping where babies bottles are prepared with antibac spray, and loading/loading dishwasher and washing machine.
At the moment spare time when baby sleeping is spent trying to sleep or in the afternoons getting out for a walk. Weekly shop already done online.
Have tried talking to DH - but get the impression he feels he is at work all day and is doing as much as he can at home, tho I do feel miffed that my life has changed so much compared to his.. I am basically a milk machine and breast feeding is tying me down. Getting into EBM feeds but not enough to get out properly yet. It's a shock how much the woman's life changes compared to the guys.

Has anyone felt like this or am I just being very sleep-deprived and irrational? Has anyone got any survival tips?

Can't just stay in bed today.. have to take baby to a hospital appointment, bit nervous as going on my own but it should be ok. By chance a friend is coming round today and is bringing me lunch, the little star, so at least I will have chance to get showered before heading out!

llareggub Tue 25-Aug-09 09:53:00

Congratulations on your new baby. 8 weeks is still very early and I promise you it will get easier.

I have a nearly 3 year-old and a baby of 16ish weeks, and I promise you it does get easier. At 8 weeks your baby is still very new and wants to be held or fed a lot. By 12 weeks or so the space between feeds gets a little wider and baby is quite happy playing on the floor while you do something else.

The biggest revelation for me is that you are allowed to do something else when the baby is awake. Put the bouncy chair or a mat on the floor in the bathroom and have a shower while your baby watches you. Do the same in the kitchen while you make your breakfast.

As for the other room; well, I suggest you bag up his stuff and tell him that he either sorts through the bags or they go to the tip the next day. Get tough with him!

I can understand about you wanting to express to enable you to go out but it is so much easier just to breastfeed outside. I was in IKEA last night and there was a woman wandering around breastfeeding her son while she shopped, and I was perched on a pile of rugs breastfeeding my DS. Honestly, no one batted an eyelid and it really does make going out so much easier. And expressing is bit of a faff.

You are definitely doing the right thing in building a support network. Do you have a childrens centre near you? They often have things going on through the holidays. There'll be far more for you to do once school term starts.

You also need to remember what is often quoted on these boards: this too will pass.

pigleychez Tue 25-Aug-09 09:57:27

welcome to the world of Newborns!

Seriously.... Ignore the housework, It will still be there later.
Showers ect I would have in the evening once baby had gone to bed.

Try and get out of the house during the day....Even if its just for a walk round the block in the pram or sling. Fresh air makes all the difference and will give you a change of scenery. Have you thought about going to any local Mother and toodler groups? I started taking DD at 8 weeks and it was nice to speak to others all feeling the same!

Lucky you having a cleaner envy maybe you could ask her to do a few other little bits to take the pressure off you till you get more settled.
I used to stick a wash on before I went to bed then in the morning hang it out or DH would put it on before he left for work. Or even take a pile to a local launderette for a service wash!

Life really does change dramatically when you have a baby! It does get easier though as they get older.
Relax and enjoy your little bundle!!

hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 10:09:21

WOW - that's a really good idea about mat+chair in bathroom and kitchen... I think that will make a lot of difference!
I have been getting out but planning trips around shops which have places to feed (there are a couple in town) - or 1 park where you can sit at the back of a cafe and it feels sheltered.
I want to get out to get some vests so I can do the one up one down thing, but have not had a chance to do this yet; the 2 BF tops I bought have a ridiculous hole in which I don't think is really v practical so I guess using normal tops as I have been is flashing a bit more than strictly necessary, even with shawl to cover on top.
I think most of the local groups have closed down for Summer as you say, but yes in a few weeks they will be back on. I've "picked up" random people in the last few weeks by just asking for nos. eg at local baby weigh-in of mums I got chatting to, and then texting to meet for coffee and it works to an extent.. have got a pretty full week this week of people to get out and see

So does it get to the point where you feel confident enough to BF that you don't feel you have to be near enough to home to pop back if he gets hungry/BF out of the house goes wrong? I've not been more than15min walk from the house since baby was born for this reason!

Yes, hopefully this will get better in time - there is a light at the end... and am so pleased that baby is here that this is not meant to be a complaining post at all!

hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 10:11:21

Showers in evening is also a fab idea! Wash before bed and hang out in am also good! Thank you!

StayFrostysOtherSister Tue 25-Aug-09 10:17:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

llareggub Tue 25-Aug-09 10:25:20

Yes, it gets much easier to feed outside. At least, I found that it did for me anyway. I remember meeting a friend for coffee when DS1 was about 4 weeks and trying to feed him with EBM. It was quite stressful because he wouldn't take it, my breasts were leaking and I worried about the milk spoiling.

I gained confidence by feeding at baby groups and breastfeeding clinics. Over time I then had the confidence to feed in non-baby events. Now I'll feed anywhere. I think you actually expose less than you think when feeding.

No one ever said anything negative to me about breastfeeding, and I've fed everywhere!

hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 10:33:07

That's a good idea about building up confidence by going to groups etc..
I did BF in a cafe recently when met a friend. Then I lost confidence when met my NCT group and they all had newer babies than me and just seemed so much more slick at it than me. I also remember how much it used to hurt seeing people BF when we were struggling to have kids. Maybe I can practice BF in this sling which would be very discreet.. the instructions say that you can!

Thanks for all these pointers! really made me feel a lot better!
will look into courses too

llareggub Tue 25-Aug-09 10:37:19

I bet everyone in your NCT group feels the same as you.

I was chatting to someone from my group the other day. We've known each other for 3 years now and she was telling me how she felt during those early days with a new baby. She felt exactly the same as me and looking back she outwardly looked so capable and so confident. I know now that it wasn't the case.

I've got 2 boys and having the first one was such a massive change to my lifestyle I found it difficult. Having the second was a doddle in comparison!

hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 12:04:25

WOW just had a shower with baby on playmat in bathroom... thanks so much for that idea.. going to make getting out and about so much easier!

BornToFolk Tue 25-Aug-09 12:19:43

Congratulations on your shower! grin It's a bit of a breakthrough when you work out how to do things while looking after a baby isn't it? I had a revelation when I realised that DS was quite happy to be propped up on the bed while I sorted washing.

Anyway, just wanted to say that if you can get to a breastfeeding group then do. I loved mine in the early days as it was a "risk-free" place to feed i.e. it didn't matter if DS cried, or if I flashed a boob as everyone else was in the same boat. And there was help on hand with latching problems etc. They're really good for getting your confidence up.

phdlife Tue 25-Aug-09 12:34:52

congrats on the shower hairband - I know the feeling! (for me it was about feeding myself with massive velcro baby, with no friends or family in the same country). I can't come up with any useful advice (brain fried by more recent sleep-deprivation) except:

1) it does get easier
2) it's easiest if you can go with the flow - don't do anything you feel you're "supposed" to or "should", just do only what you absolutely need to - you're entitled to rest
3) I went along to get my baby weighed every week - for a long time that was my only social interaction, and I blubbed at them nearly every time blush but hey, at least I got it out. And they eventually found me a good bfing group - your HV may be able to help.
4) this phase will be over before you know it (impossible to believe but so, so true) so do take time to just soak up the impossible, perfect loveliness of your baby. Congratulations.

wotmum Tue 25-Aug-09 12:55:26

I felt exactly like you at the beginning, but it does get easier!

My tips would be:

1. Get out of the house every day
2. DH sleep in the spare room a few nights a week to catch up on some sleep
3. Find out about toddler groups in your area and start going along after the summer holidays are over. Go to several at first so you can see which ones you like best. Most church halls seem to host playgroups / toddler groups.
4. Accept that it's exhausting for both you and DH, and be kind to each other. It's hard being mum to a newborn, feeding night and day and being at its beck and call 24/7. It's also hard having broken nights every night then having to do a full-time job. Try not to compete!
5. Personally I would give up expressing - you're just making more work for yourself.
6. Try breastfeeding in front of a mirror just once - you might be surprised how discreet it looks! You'll soon get used to bfing in public, which makes things a lot easier. I have never ever had a negative comment or look from anyone while bfing in public.

Good luck - you'll be fine. smile

weddingcake Tue 25-Aug-09 13:09:55

Make a sandwich/ something that can be easily reheated the night before and pop it in the fridge. Being hungry and not having 2 mins to make some food is just awful!

I also sleep in a t - shirt and some smart-ish trackie bottoms so that if someone turns up or I need to pop to the shop/ walk DD round the block to get her to sleep it looks like I'm dressed!

It really does get easier I promise.

Gill79 Tue 25-Aug-09 13:26:18

Hi Hairband

My number one tip is to get dressed first thing, wash your face, brush your hair. (Not saying you don't necessarily do these things blush but it made a massive difference to how I felt about the day ahead) With LO watching as suggested or even crying..... 5 minutes!

Also definitely get some fresh air and exercise every day.

Focus on BF rather than expressing. BF will get SO much easier you'll be able to do it standing on your head - honestly. Expressing will always be a hassle though! Soon you'll be so confident I promise.

I found Emma Jane BF tops really good although they have got the hole in I found them the best thing. (Good for girls that don't need to wear a bra)

Keep trying with the groups. They're hard to find cause often don't have websites but try asking around or just walking around and looking at noticeboards, church halls, libraries, sports centres.

Remember it's completely normal to feel this way.

You;re not expected to do much housework just yet!

Enjoy it.

lobsters Tue 25-Aug-09 19:21:12


Here are a few of my tips, I remember feeling like you did, if you can afford it hire some help! I had no family nearby, DH working long hours and doing trips overseas, so we hired someone to come in two mornings a week. It came under the description of a mothers' help, she was in fact a nanny who's hours had been reduced and was looking for some temp work. I found her through a very nice lady at a nanny agency. It was the best money we ever spent, she would arrive in the morning, I would hand over DD, and just head back to bed for a few hours, and then have a nice long shower. We only had her for 12 weeks from when DD was 8 weeks old, but it got me through a tough period.

Other hints and tips are, when the baby sleeps, pick one thing to do, go back to bed/ shower/ unload dishwasher. Once that thing is done, any extra time spent by the baby asleep is a bonus when you can have a rest.

As your NCT group isn't up to getting out and about yet, are you all on facebook? In our group we set up a private group. One person needs to set it up and invite the others, it can't been seen by others, but it is a great way of chatting when you can't/ don't feel like getting out of the house. We didn't quite gel as a group initally, but getting the group set up meant we could chat as and when we wanted and now they are great friends and definitely my support network.

I found bags of ceasar salad helped fill me up at lunch time and give me lots of Vit C, and doesn't go cold when DD wakes up just as your lunch is ready.

Have you got a baby gym/ play mat? They can be a life saver, pop the baby under it and hopefully they can amuse themselvers while you have a cuppa. At the playmat's height DD could amuse herself under it for 45 mins, I miss those days!

And finally make sure you have a large tin of cardbury's chocolate biscuits in, that was my other life saver.

hairband Tue 25-Aug-09 22:32:42

Thanks - all tips are great! Feeling low tho, can't seem to get through to husband how hard this is. Couple of things have happened today that feel like the final straw. Will chat to my Health Visitor in the AM. Have meet up with NCT lot tomorrow. The expressing is so he can give a night feed for a)closeness and b)to give me a rest but as he does not understand the importance of giving the milk in small portions in case of wastage, end up throwing away milk that has taken time to express. So no chance of building up a stock. And so am not getting a "rest" while he is doing the feed as am expressing. This is bonkers.
Am at wits end. I know it is daft - stop expressing is what you are probably going to say. But if there is the chance of more rest then its a good thing. He then says "just give formula" but I know from BF thread on here that's not a good way of keeping your supply up.
Sorry for whinge. It's just so hard.

llareggub Wed 26-Aug-09 06:54:01

I don't express much, but when I do it is to build up a store for the freezer for keep in touch days at work.

I co-sleep; so DS2 sleeps in the bed and when he feeds I doze. I get plenty of rest that way as he often feeds during the night while I sleep. DH gets plenty of bonding time with DS2; he gives his baths, plays with him and gives cuddles. It doesn't have to be feeds. As you say, it is bonkers to express so much if you can't getting the benefit of resting anyway.

I'm sorry you are feeling low, and it is a good idea to talk to the HV.

kilo Wed 26-Aug-09 09:23:23

Hi, I'm also a first-timer, mine is six weeks. I can relate to all you are saying! I've found the bouncy chair great, sometimes put him in it in the garden if the weather's nice (under shade of course). Also try finding out if any local cinemas do mum and baby showings...I went to one with a friend the other week, they tend to be in the mid morning and you feel more confident breastfeeing because of the dim lights, also you don't worry about your baby crying because everyone else's also helped to feel like I was getting out and 'treating myself' to something a bit fun. Got a huge tub of Ben & Jerry's to watch the film with! Only about a dozen mums in the cinema so we all had plenty of space to spread out. I'd recommend it to make yourself feel slightly more normal! Good luck x

BornToFolk Wed 26-Aug-09 09:31:19

Stop expressing. It sounds like its creating extra work rather than giving you a rest.
It is hard when your partner says "just give formula" isn't it? Mine was pretty supportive of breastfeeding but I knew that he'd prefer DS to be on formula and he was relieved when I gave up b'feeding. He's a brilliant dad and partner but he could see how much hard work b'feeding was for me and wanted to spare me.

If you are having problems feeding, have you tried posting in the b'feeding topic? You'll get lots of help and support there (not saying to stop this thread, just that if you want help with specific problems, you'll get it there)

LadyoftheBathtub Wed 26-Aug-09 09:44:28

Yes get out and about - babies often drop off for naps in a moving buggy. Then go to a cafe, sit and have a coffee and read a mag, baby wakes up for a feed, then back in buggy and off you go - go shopping or to a gallery - and so on.

Fresh air for you both also helps with sleep.

I actually used to like doing the supermarket shop with DS as a baby, in one of those car-seat-holder trolleys - he would sleep and I liked being out and making decisions (even little ones about what food to get). A big supermarket with a cafe and baby room has everything you need, plus people interact with you which is nice.

At home, keep housework to a minimum, look at what needs doing and plan one manageable thing per day for during a nap, or something baby can sit in a bouncy chair and watch you do. Put music on/sing to keep the baby entertained as well.

Get in flapjacks, rice cakes, cheese slices, pitta breads, dried fruit, frozen pizzas etc - things you can prepare really easily for yourself. I used to like (and still do) a tin of mixed bean salad in salad dressing - from any supermarket - if I had time I would turn it out and add a bit of feta cheese, red peppers, cucumber etc - if not I would just eat it from the tin.

And as others have said it does get easier - having a baby takes getting used to!

fizzpops Wed 26-Aug-09 09:49:54

My top tip - which took me ages to work out for myself even though loads of people had told me is:

All these difficulties are a very small stage. In a few weeks you will almost have forgotten that this is what the current worry was because you will either have sorted out a way to cope with it, realised it wasn't working so have given up or the baby has moved on to another interesting little habit/ behaviour and it is no longer relevant.

Your 22.32 post last night brought back to me how tense I felt a lot of the time in the early weeks and while I look back and know why I felt like that (tiredness certainly has a part to play), it was one of things that made me feel like I wasn't doing a good job. I was constantly questioning myself and watching other Mums and feeling as everyone had the hang of it except me. Try and focus on the positives and congratulate yourself on how far you have come already.

And take the chance to sleep whenever you can - I still have days when I have a little 'siesta' with my DD and she is 16mo.

melmog Wed 26-Aug-09 10:01:41

Agree with fizzpops, take sleep wherever you can. With dd1 I was to scared to bf in our bed with her in case I slep and squashed her. I used to do it on an upturned bucket in her room so I couldn't drop off!

With dd2 I just rolled over, got her out of the moses basket and into bed with me. There she stayed, feeding or not, til the morning. It was so much more restful for everyone.

Also, I used to make sure that I was up and dressed for the day before dh left for work, no matter how tired I was. Then, even if I was napping on the sofa and the doorbell rang I looked 'up'.

The housework will wait for your cleaner. envy

Get out every day, even to the shops for milk and bread. I never did a big shop as we had a supermarket up the road and it was part of my day to go and get that night's dinner.

Playgroups/toddler groups/singing sessions, stuff like that are life saving imo. I hated them all at first but that's where I met all the mummies I'm friends with now.

Brace yourself and go for it!

Every crap day is one less crap day to get through. smile

warthog Wed 26-Aug-09 10:07:26

i didn't express with either of my babies. i know it seems like it'll be great to not have to do every feed, but before you know it your baby will sleep longer at night and that won't be so much of an issue.

you are doing really well. these first few weeks are the hardest it gets. really doesn't get any harder even when you have no. 2.

sleep when baby sleeps until you've had enough that day.

then in afternoon take baby for a walk to starbucks while they sleep with a book / newspaper and have a lovely long coffee. if you need to breastfeed there, do it before having a leisurely walk back home.

bf'ing in public is a really good thing to master. it will change things drastically for you. i bought a very lightweight cotton shawl /poncho thing that i could drape over myself with no danger of anyone seeing anything.

your dh needs to get on board a bit more. every weekend, directly after a feed so you know baby won't need you for another 2 hours, go off and do shopping / anything and leave baby with dh. both days at weekend if possible.

issue an ultimatum wrt the spare room. either he clears it by such and such a date or you will bag it and throw it in the rubbish. end of.

it is very crap the way our lives change so much but our dh's carry on happily oblivious. but it DOES get better and there will be lots of rewards in store for you - the first kiss your child give you, the first crawl, step, wave. lots of good things to come. as they say, the night is darkest before the dawn.

warthog Wed 26-Aug-09 10:07:48

and i think that's the longest post i've every written!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: