I swear, having a baby is like being on Stars in Their Eyes. You go into the hospital one person, and come out another.
Everything was different when I left with my whole world tucked up in his car seat. People were smoking too close to where I was standing, talking too loud, walking too abruptly, I could hear a swear word as if it were an alarm. The car ride home wasn’t any different, every pothole felt like the Grand Canyon and every car was going too fast.
I couldn’t wait to get him home!
Here are some tips I wanted to share which really worked for us during those first precious few weeks…
Look after your body, it’s been through a lot. I remember feeling as if my tummy was empty and I had to walk hunched over- so I bought some post pregnancy leggings from Jo Jo Maman Bebe http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/post-natal-support-leggings-1.html and they really helped, I think they also helped everything go back in its place faster too! I was unfortunate enough to be cut, severely, and also had a haemorrhage after the birth and so had emergency surgery- I was in a lot of pain down there– my midwife told me to buy pure Lavender Oil from any health shop (mine was from Boots) and put some in a warm bath. I cannot recommend this enough, literally after two baths I was healed and had no pain! I did use to douse the bath in it though- the smell was so relaxing!
Don’t be hard on yourself if you cry. Everyone told me “day 3 you’ll be in tears” and sure enough day 3 I was bawling. It’s hormonal and nothing to worry about! There will be so many emotions running wild and mixed with hormones, tiredness and an overwhelming amount of love- it’s a recipe for waterworks.
I remember sitting in the bath and sobbing my heart out, whilst my mum and husband were downstairs with Sebastien- all down to my boobs. I breastfed Seb for 6 weeks, and, the beginning was rough. My boobs were like rocks and piping hot. The pain was intense, so I sat in the bath with a warm towel across my chest. It really helped ease the pain, and release some milk. I also used Lansinoh nipple balm for chapped nipples-it really works.
If breastfeeding isn’t for you, or you’ve tried it and decided not to carry on do not punish yourself. Or let anyone else for that matter. I was told by my doctor that if the mother is stressed out about breastfeeding, baby will be too as they pick up on everything, they can sense if you are worried, stressed or upset. Everything you eat and drink is passed onto your baby through breast milk, this is why I changed to formula after 6 weeks- my diet just wasn’t good enough for him to get the nutrients, and I was getting by on caffeine (which also keeps baby awake too). I used the cold cabbage method to stop my milk supply. You can buy a regular green cabbage from any supermarket and put it in the fridge, take off two whole leaves and crush them gently in your palms (this breaks the veins to allow the cabbage to work) then place a leaf over each breast inside of your bra. Strange I know, but it works!!
Eat!! You must try and eat nutritious meals when you can! You need to keep your energy up. I can’t say I managed this all the time but I did try my best. I had plenty of carbs to keep myself going! I won’t lie- my husband was away for five weeks when Seb was two weeks old, so I’d end up in KFC or McDonalds drive thrus regularly, so baby would sleep and I’d get a hot meal! People will want to cook for you, LET THEM! Drink plenty of water, this is so so important if you are breastfeeding. I always kept a bottle of water next to me, as the thirst during breast feeding is incredible.
“sleep when baby sleeps”, yeah right! I didn’t do it once. I just had too much to do- sterilising, cleaning, washing, staring at your sleeping baby. If you have someone to do it all for you- then go for it, get those zzz’s in! And if you’ll be doing it yourself- you’ll get by on adrenaline, and caffeine.
Don’t panic over the word “Routine” you’ll hear it a lot. For a first time mum who has no idea it is overwhelming, and I didn’t know where to start. I thought it was a certain way of doing things and that I needed to follow this “routine”. The truth is a routine can be anything- a kiss on the forehead everynight, a book before bed, calming music to relax baby…the list goes on! But the point is, start small and you’ll eventually fall into a natural routine. Think of it as a Pattern, and is to let baby know what to expect next. For instance Bathtime = Bed. Your baby will help you too, Seb likes to nap every morning 9-11 and this is part of his daily pattern. A great way to start off is Bath, Bottle, Bed. I started with this concept around 8 weeks and would bathe Seb at 7pm every night, followed by a warm bottle whilst Ewan the Sheep plays and it’s worked so well for us.
A great way to make life a bit easier during the first few weeks is to be prepared, for example… Have a changing station set up in your bedroom and your living room. I bought two of everything and stored it all in baskets next to his changing Mats. It’s not great when you start changing baby and you’ve forgotten the bum cream- and it’s downstairs!
If you plan to go out for the day pack your bag the night before whilst baby is asleep- you’ll be rushing in the morning to change baby and yourself- packing a bag is the last thing you need. Plus, it’s amazing what you’ll forget when you are exhausted (stick a check list of items where you’ll see it as you go out of the door, keys, wallet, phone etc…you’ll be thinking “baby,baby,baby” and the amount of times I’ve forgotten one of these is getting out of hand).
I bought some storage containers in Staples and used them to store the next sizes of clothing. It’s so annoying having to read every label to see the size! When you are ready to then switch to the next size, you can store the outgrown clothes in the container.
I’ve said in previous posts that I have a Tommee Tippee machine next to my bed– and honestly it’s the best thing I did. I don’t even have to get out of bed to make a bottle, so Sebastien rarely wakes completely-it’s just so quick to do! Plus colder nights are coming, and getting out of bed and going downstairs is not appealing. I have a large Tupperware box and fill it with what I need for the night- bottles, lids, fresh water for the machine, and milk. I bought the Tommee Tippee milk dispensers and scoop the milk I need for the night into them- that way all you have to do is pour the milk powder into the bottle- no measuring and no mess, it’s so easy!
The best advice I was given; If you feel stressed because baby won’t stop crying, put him/her down in a safe place (I put Seb in his Moses basket)-walk out of the room and close the door. Now count to 10 and take a deep breath. By the time you have done that you’ll remember how tiny and precious your baby is and you’ll want to run to your baby and soothe him/her. It just resets your mind and really helps de-stress. I felt so guilty when I tried this, but it really works. Some mommies will never have to do this, and, lucky them! Sebastien really suffered from reflux and constipation his first few weeks and it was hard work.
The best advice I could give is; take your own advice. Set your own standards for parenting and trust your instincts- you’ll know what to do!!