10 Survival Tips for the first few weeks of parenting
For what it’s worth I have been compiling a list of Tips for surviving the first two weeks. This has made night-time feeds slightly more interesting for me, and I hope that someone may find some of these useful.
1. Remember to brush your teeth
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I’ll confess: day 3 in the hospital and I realised I hadn’t brushed my teeth since Sunday. You worry so much about the baby you forget about yourself. Showering can be more of a challenge, But brush your teeth, your dentist will thank you and you will feel so much better.
2. Learn to take showers that last 30 seconds
As above; even simple tasks can seem impossible when you’re on your own with the baby. But you’ve got to shower, even if it is just your big toe. I put baby in their Moses basket in the bathroom with me, jump in, scrub myself like a bat out of hell and jump out again before the baby goes too high on the Richter scale. Each time you do it,it gets easier. So best to start sooner rather than later. And besides, you don’t want to smell too bad when your relatives come round.
3. You’ll only have one arm
To start with, babies need a lot of attention. I sort of knew this, but I didn’t really think about how this would affect me living day-to-day. Newborns can feed very regularly, and Nancy fed practically every 20 minutes to start with, when we began breastfeeding again. This can cause you some issues; namely, you will be holding the baby a lot, which will mean that you will have to adapt to doing things slightly differently – i.e. – one-handed. I have perfected eating roast dinners one-handed, so the opportunities are endless once you get the knack. There are a few things that you should have to (one) hand at all times in this situation. These are:
- TV Remote – you do not want to be stranded on the sofa one-handed without the TV remote. I got caught out once and had to endure Alan Titchmarsh. That was a low day.
- Mobile Phone/Laptop – you need to be able to communicate with the outside world. Twitter is my friend, as is Candy Crush (or is that enemy – damn jelly sweets)
- Kindle/Book – if you can still see straight, then reading is an option. Kindle is much easier as you don’t have to turn the pages. So I am very thankful for that one.
- Snacks/Drinks – its important to keep yourself hydrated and fed especially if you’re breastfeeding. being awake 24 hours a day means you’re body needs fuel. I have devised a snack table for myself (pictured) to ensure that I have these things to hand. I try to keep it fairly healthy but chocolate is a must if you ask me.
4. Buy a box set
This is a perfect opportunity to watch some TV shows you’ve never got round to. So far I have watched Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and am currently halfway through Breaking Bad. If you’re not going out, may as well make the most of it!
5. Freeze meals
One armed, you wont be able to knock up many gourmet meals. So if you try to make them (or get someone else to) in advance, freeze them, then you can get them out of the freezer and microwaved quite easily one-handed, or if you just can’t be arsed, which I find, is quite a lot.
6. You’ll become Obsessed with wee and poo
Just to warn you; you’ll become obsessed with wee and poo, no joke. You’ll be ringing people up to tell them your baby has pooed and what colour it is. I never thought I would, but look at me now. I even tweeted about it earlier. To be fair it is rather important to keep track, just in retrospect i doubt everyone wants to know. However I really need to heed my own advice here.
7. Work around the baby
Don’t make the baby work around you. It’ll make you stressed and it won’t work. You can still do things, just not when the baby needs you’re attention. This may be at odd hours of the day, but it’ll work. I know the baby will be asleep around 7am, so I make sure I shower then, that is if I want to wash my hair, face and actually feel like I’ve had a shower as opposed to a quick dash (as described above). I can wash up, put the washing on, even leave the house – but I prefer to do this once I’ve sorted the baby. It’s just so much easier and less stressful.
8. Things take time.
Things slow down. But you still get them done. Why do you need to be in a rush anyway? You’re on maternity leave! I do little and often rather than all at once. It still gets done.
9. It gets easier.
Everyone tells you this. But it does. You just need to take it day by day, night by night. Think of all the fun you’ll have eventually! Think of that day when you may sleep 8 hours again! These are you motivators for getting through the first few weeks.
10. It’s up to you
No-one tells you how to do it, you have to work it out yourself. And suddenly you have to make the decisions. People look at you, and will ask you what you think. They won’t judge, and they won’t tell you what to do either. It’s a bit disconcerting for me, but I’m realising that no-one has the right answer, no-one knows everything, and you may as well go with your gut instinct as if you ask there will be loads of people with advice if you really need it. (and you’ll get it if you like it or not anyway)