1. Get friendly with your midwife and health visitor – Its been invaluable having such a lovely MW and HV, both at the other end of a text with all the worries and concerns we’ve had. Google is great, but you’re reading advice from 101 other mum’s on 101 different websites, and each comment swearing that it “worked for their baby” and the truth is, certain symptoms could mean several different things or could just be normal newborn things and you could be worrying and jumping to conclusions without realising. HV’s are the best to speak to about things like colic, constipation or if you think baby has a milk intolerance. They are trained to know everything from what’s good and what’s not normal for baby, and as they will be with you for 5 years, this is certainly someone you can open up to and be honest with, as she’s not only going to see you grow and flourish into an amazing mum, but she’s going to see your baby grow too!
2. Baby brain, Baby blues and Post Natal Depression.. It’s real – If you see someone eyeroll when you drop the words ‘baby brain’, ‘baby blues’ or ‘post natal depression’, you punch them in the throat mid eyeroll! Baby brain is REAL. You think mum’s use this as an excuse but no, whilst we could blame it on the lack of sleep, it really is a thing. I can’t even tell you the things I’ve said and James has been like.. ” what was that?” with this silly grin on his face already telling me I’ve said something retarded! Well it made sense to me anyway! The great news – It looks like it doesn’t go away after you’ve given birth. Brilliant.
Baby Blues and PND are so so hard to deal with and yet not many people seem to speak about them openly and it’s ok if you don’t either. Lord knows 6 weeks Postpartum and I’m only now fully passed my baby blues. It’s not like holiday blues where you’re just gutted to be home, baby blues for me was crying every day, being angry and bitter about being in hospital for 8 days and James using up 8 of his 10 days of holiday with his newborn daughter, spending them in hospital with me instead of at home with us once she was born. After a long 3 day failed induction I ended up having to have a c-section and 6 weeks on and It’s still infected. Not being able to pick up my daughter for those first few weeks. Being in so much pain holding her and not being able to tend to her when she cried only made me cry which made me think James should be here, which took me right back to being angry and bitter about being in hospital for so long again. It’s a dark path thinking you’re not a good mum, I could barely take care of myself let alone her. Let me tell you right now, IT.GETS.BETTER. Talk to friends, family, the Health Visitor, the Midwife. Talk to someone, anyone, as it really will help and day by day it will get a little easier. Once you heal and get to know your baby more, become more confident with things you’ll notice you have good days and those will get you to the next.
3. Lower your expectations, you’re not super woman. I have this thing in my head that tells me I need to keep our home tidy, do the washing up, keep on top of both our washing and the babies, that’s a lot of pressure to put on myself. You wouldn’t expect someone who has just had major abdominal surgery to be up and about doing hovering would you? So why is being a mum any different? I for one have been naughty and been trying to juggle all the above as well as find time to cook meals to have with my antibiotics. Is there any wonder why it’s still causing me issues when I’m not resting and I’m off trying to be a house maid! Forget the cleaning. Forget the washing. A day on the couch with your baby having cuddles and binge watching your favourite tv show is a perfectly good way to spend your days! Some wise words from Rachel over at Illustrated Teacup said “You’re on maternity leave, You are being paid to look after your baby. That is your job. Anything else is an extra. I didn’t wash up and clean the house when I was working before, so if I can’t now, then it doesn’t matter it can be done later. It really made me feel better when the kitchen resembled a bomb site and I needed to nap!”
5. Treat yo self – Get your self 2 pairs of comfy AF pj’s and a snuggly soft dressing gown and slippers because I promise you, at 3am when it’s cold and you need to chuck on something to keep warm whilst you get up and do a change and feed, you’ll thank me 🙂 It’s amazing how I’ve been wearing the same 2 pairs of pj’s and my dressing gown on rotation as I just want to be comfy whilst I’m round the house healing. It’s a no brainer 🙂
6. Don’t struggle alone, accept help when it’s offered – I’m quite a proud person and I Love having people over to entertain so people coming to visit Amelia has been a bit of a nightmare as I spend time fussing over them, getting them a cuppa, trying to frantically tidy before they arrive. It’s added pressure that I just don’t need. Instead when they ask if I want help, instead of saying no, I’ve said yes. My yummy mummies from when I was in hospital, they know I can’t get about 100% and are coming to my house when we meet up. Do I feel guilty? Yes. But is it easier for me? Yes. So instead of over thinking it, I see it as help offered and embrace it. My family has been amazing, driving me to get prescriptions and dropping things over. My mum especially comes over to help out and she’ll hold Amelia to let me do the housework, and having things done makes me feel good and on top of stuff so now, if people want to come over, if they offer to bring anything, or If they want to wash up after we’ve just had a cup of tea, I try to hold my pride back, accept the help and remember we all need a helping hand sometimes 🙂
7. Getting Advice doesn’t mean people think you’re shit! – The amount of advice I’ve been given, sometimes it’s easy to take a step back and think, “Hold on a second, you do know I can handle this..right?. It can seem like all the mum’s you know come out of the woodwork and show off their parenting skills with their tips for this and that but don’t fob them off with your defences up. It’s a mum thing 🙂 – The way I see it, I’m part of a tribe now. A tribe of mum warriors and each warrior has seen many a thing and has experience with their baby, and whilst it might not be my baby, it’s a mothers instinct to want to pass on what worked for them in the hopes it would help, because 9/10 there wasn’t anyone around to help them figure it out. Getting advice doesn’t mean they think you’re clueless or wont figure it out. It’s just a mum thing. I promise you, once you’re little one is here and overcoming hurdles that you’ve had to climb over , you’ll soon find someone talking about that very hurdle you just got over and the issue that you’ve had experience with and without realising you’ll be sharing your thoughts and experiences about it becoming one of those annoying advice givers. It may seem patronising, but it’s coming form the heart so just nod and smile and take it all in!
I hope you enjoyed 7 tips for getting by with your newborn, let me know if they helped or if you have any others you’d add in the comments below!