All things pink, pretty and perfect is what some expect when you tell them you’re having a baby girl. However 1 month into the role of mummy and I can tell you that is not the case! The last 28 days have been a combination of lows and highs. The highs consist of unexplainable feelings of love and happiness that your new born brings you. The feelings most new mums gush about with pride, (as they should). But it is the unexpected lows that no one talks about, the challenges you didn’t even know existed before becoming a Mum. With that said I have created a 5 step guide to surviving the first month of motherhood!
Step 1. Be Prepared
If you’re reading this and you already have your baby in your arms then this might be a little bit late! But having everything ready for your new arrival means that you have one less thing to stress over when they’re here. I thought I had everything I could possibly need (I was so excited I even bought my pushchair 5 months in advance!) but I found myself calling on favours when all the clothes I had bought were too big and I had missed the little extras like cotton wool, breast pads and nappies (you will always need more than you think). Make sure everything is ticked off your check list, and you have enough of the necessities so that you don’t have to worry about rushed trips to the supermarket.
Step 2. Use the support
In the first month there will be a number of visits from the midwife and health visitor, along with members of family and friends (if you don’t mind being seen in your pj’s, with your hair tied up and no make up on!). While these people are around make the most of them, even if it’s as small as asking a friend to make you a sandwich it will make your life that little bit easier. The midwifes and health visitors are especially useful at this stage as there will be tiny yet noticeable things that you will want answers to. One of my first questions when the midwife came over was ‘why does my baby have a dent in the front of her head!’. I was genuinely concerned…I had spent the day before interrogating everyone who had held her in suspicion they might have banged her head! But when the midwife came round she reassured me that it was just a small soft sport called the “fontanelle”; which all babies have as their skulls need to be slightly flexible to cope with birth. The midwives can also offer you breast feeding support, suggest creams and remedies, and do additional checks on you as well as baby, so make the most of them while they’re around.
Step 3. Don’t stress over sleep
Most of the jokes people make towards the end of your pregnancy involves sleep, ‘enjoy the sleep while you can’, ‘that could be that last full nights sleep you have in a while’…and it is all true but don’t let it daunt you. At the moment my baby sleeps for 2 hour stints at night before waking up for a change and feed. Sometimes I’ll be up with her for a while, but usually I’m able to fall asleep with her while breast feeding shortly after she wakes up. Yes, I did bend the rules slightly by allowing her to sleep in my bed through part of the night, but I don’t see any harm in doing this for now. It means I’m able to get some sleep and as long as she isn’t on the edge, and there are no duvets or pillows around her face it is safe for her to do so. During the day she naps for a couple of hours in total; the daytime naps are usually the time for you to catch up on whatever rest you can get, but I’m not very good at that. I prefer to use the time to get myself something to eat, do my hair or even just chill on social media. However you decide to use your time is up to you. If you can’t fall asleep during the day don’t panic your body will find the resources to cope…I promise!
Step 4. Be kind to yourself
Being responsible for another person (no matter how small!) is a lot to take on but you must not forget about yourself amongst all the chaos. After all you want to be able to give the best of yourself to your baby. This means looking after both your physical and mental state. It’s amazing how time works when you are watching over someone 24/7 but I sometimes find it gets to 4pm and I’ve forgotten to eat! One of the ways in which I’ve been able to keep such a positive attitude and healthy mind-set is by doing something I enjoy every day. Whether it be seeing a friend, watching a movie with my partner or going out for a walk. They’re all things I can do with baby but it’s nice to be able to do something different every day so that you don’t get consumed by the endless nappy changes or isolated by your new alien life!
Step 5. Go with the flow
Vague I know…but my final bit of advice to new mums would be to go with the flow. Parenting books and advice from people who have been through it may be helpful, but the best person to judge a situation your in is yourself. You will know how your feeling in each moment and through trial and error you will find the best ways of dealing with things. Remember there is no right and wrong so don’t put yourself down if one individuals way of doing things doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t matter if this is your first child or baby number 2, 3 or 4. You will know your baby better then anyone else, so trust your instincts and go with the flow!