I like to think I’ve a bit of experience when it comes to babies, I do have four after all. Here are my no bullshit tips with a newborn…
Install car seat in advance
Most baby outlets will do this free of charge. Your baby’s safety is paramount, god forbid there was an accident and the seat is not installed properly your baby will not be fully protected. I recommend a car seat with a fitted base, it’s so much easier than belting up a car seat every journey. Practice inserting and removing, I got stuck in The Square car-park seven days postpartum unable to remove Frankie’s car seat from his pram. I was so stressed out I did consider just leaving him there…(jokes!)
Check your pram fits
Double check you pram fits comfortably in your boot. My biggest regret on the first baby, my first buggy was a disaster and left me shopping for a new one when she was twelve-weeks-old.
Stock up the freezer
Stock up on frozen dinners, collect local takeaway menus and invest in a slow cooker. The first week after delivering your baby you will not have the energy to cooking. You can prep dump bags for the slow cooker and freeze them to have ready when you need them. And don’t forget the snacks, lots of them.
You cannot spoil a baby
Don’t let anyone tell you you’re holding your baby too much. The first few weeks are so important for mummy, daddy and baby bonding. There’s NO such thing as spoiling a baby. Skin to skin contact is one of the best ways for bonding, dad should do it too. I also hate the saying ‘never wake a sleeping baby’. I woke mine every four hours for the first few weeks, it’s recommended by midwives, babies blood sugars can drop and it makes it harder for them to wake up.
Registering the birth of your baby
If you are Dublin based I highly recommend you head up the N7 and go to the Naas registry office, we’ve always been seen to straight away. Double check if your local office closes for lunch and I find it’s always better to go in the afternoon. Double check you have everything you need and it costs €20 for one birth certificate.
When someone asks ‘do you need a hand with anything?’ say yes. Take up on all offers of help. Don’t be too proud, if people offer to empty the dishwasher, hoover or mind the baby for an hour so you can catch a nap etc. let them. You will regret it once they have left. Four years ago when I struggled with Kayla, I didn’t ask for help. I’ve no problem asking anyone for help now. Four hands are so much better than two.
Follow your instincts
Never be afraid to ring your Public Health Nurse or your Maternity Hospital with any concerns. I rang the Coombe three times in the first four weeks of my eldest. Babies are not discharged until they are six-weeks-old. And apply for your babies free under 6’s GP Visit Card.
Try sleep when the baby sleeps (if you have no other kids that is…)
When baby naps, mummy should try nap too – where possible. I slept until 12 pm every day in the first two weeks. Night shifts can be exhausting as-well-as all the unexpected visitors that arrive. Don’t be afraid to tell family and friends you need rest to wait a day or two before popping over too. Take advantage when you can to have a little nap with baby. They won’t sleep all day for long.
Don’t forget about the sibs…
Organise some fun things to do for other siblings, they may feel left out with the new arrival when they are no longer the centre of attention. Let them go for sleepovers with friends and family too, it will give you a break.
Concentrate on getting to know your baby, if anyone has anything to say about the dishes piling up or the laundry basket being full, hand them the hoover or tell them where to go. Just sit on your arse and take it all in. Look at their little eyes, their toes, their nose. How amazing is your little baby?
Breastfeeding is bloody hard work. It’s a whole new skill that needs to be perfected. Kelly Mom is a brilliant site for advice and if you are struggling please get in touch with an IBCLC, Cuidiu, Friends of Breastfeeding or La Leche League.
It’s okay to cry!
It’s completely normal to feel hormonal in the first few weeks after giving birth. You may feel like you are falling apart with exhaustion looking after a new baby whilst recovering from delivery, this is normal, you will soon feel yourself again once you get into a routine that suits you and your family. I cried at anything and everything and I still do some days. Reach out for help if you are really struggling. Contact your GP, PHN or a friend.
He said, she said…
The advice you get when you have a new baby can be very overwhelming. Whether you decide to bottle feed or breastfeed, baby-led wean, traditional wean, baby wear, co-sleep etc. etc. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t take anyone’s advice as gospel. There are hundreds of reputable sites online now try to spend an evening reading up on everything you want to know and make an informed decision.
Let your baby lead the way
Some babies like to snack every couple of hours and some babies like a big feed every four hours. Some babies sleep some babies don’t. There’s going to be lots of developmental leaps and down the line teething too. Just go with the flow and follow your babies lead.
Your body is AMAZING!
You’ve just spent the past ten months growing a human. Chances are your body has changed in so many ways. And not everybody is going to ‘bounce back’. You’re probably going to have stretch marks, hang-ie bits and you are going to be sore for awhile. Give your body time to recover and embrace your new shape. I love Body Positive Ireland and the message it sends across.
Take lots of photos
Take as many photos as you can BUT make sure you get them developed or save them on Dropbox or the likes. You can use one of the online sites like Snapfish Ireland they do always have 50% vouchers off floating in the banner of their website or get 100 prints free when you buy 50. It’s handy especially when you can do it on your phone whilst feeding bubs.
And last but no means least they grow up way too quick. They aren’t babies forever, enjoy them. My fourth has just turned nine months old and she’s walking along the sofa already *insert cries*…