So most mums will tell an expectant mum that the first few weeks are torture and amazing in equal measure. You are utterly in awe of your new little bundle and loving all the snuggles and cute little faces your newborn makes but at the same time you’re recovering from the biggest (I hesitate to use the word but I will) trauma that your body has most likely ever experienced and you’re sleep deprived.
I can’t actually even put into words how tired you will feel, it’s beyond that exhaustion you have the first few weeks of pregnancy and different to the feeling you have after a two day wedding with little sleep and lots of booze.
The great thing though is that it does pass, either you get used to the lack of sleep or your baby settles a little bit every few weeks and by twelve weeks or so it all feels normal.
There are some things though that will make your life easier;
1. Accept all offers of help be they someone offering a lasagne for the freezer or to run to the shop to pick up some shopping for you. You are NOT Wonder Woman much as you would like to believe you are.
2. Swaddle, I honestly think swaddling helped to get my doll into sleeping for longer periods of time at night.
3. Ewan – invest in the dream sheep, invaluable, even 13 months later he still settles Rubes when she is having a bad night. You can get him from Boots.ie.
4. Water wipes – ditch the cotton wool balls and cool boiled water, seriously, stock up on water wipes for the first few weeks. It will make your life so much easier believe me.
5. Fill your freezer before you go into hospital with things like baked potatoes that can be popped in the microwave, garlic bread, pasta bake, soups – think carbs, you will need quick and easy meal options throughout the day. I am not exaggerating when I say huge chunks of the day will go by when you won’t even realise you are hungry, I remember sitting down for breakfast at 3pm several days. Bread and cheese were the mainstay of my life for the first few weeks, grilled cheese sandwiches,
6. Try to get outside in the fresh air, you may not feel like it but a stroll outside will help you both.
7. Babywearing – I loved having Ruby close to me when she was small and we still babywear now when doing things like grocery shopping. A stretchy wrap is a godsend in the first few weeks when your baby is in the fourth trimester (Google it) and hates being put down.
8. Teach yourself how to use your steriliser and fit all your bottles in etc before you come home with your new baby. If you’re not breastfeeding of course, if you are breastfeeding book a lactation consultant, join some support groups on Facebook and either way plan to go to a Cuidiu coffee morning to meet other mums and get advice from them.
9. Everyone will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, you will ignore said people and do things like sterilise and wash dishes while the baby sleeps. My advice is to shower or lie on the couch and catch up on the soaps while baby sleeps.
10. Forget about things like, diets, thank you cards, controlling your chocolate intake, a messy house or wearing anything aside from pjs and trackies – for the first few weeks anyway – after about 4 weeks getting dressed semi respectably is a must because it makes you feel better about yourself no matter how tired you are.
Overall just try to enjoy it as much as possible, have lazy afternoons on the couch snuggling your baby, ignore everyone else who says you are creating bad habits and hold your baby as much as you want, sit and gaze for hours in awe, relax and just go with it, trust your gut and your instincts.