I met the lovely Hannah from Mums’ Days at a PR event for bloggers in Newcastle a few weeks ago. Back then I was still preggers of course, and was super excited to follow Hannah’s blog for tips when the time came for me to be a Mum. She has kindly shared some new Mum tips with me, over to Hannah!…
2 years ago I had a newborn baby and shell shock. Completely and utterly head over heels in love with my new baby but completely and utterly shocked at how hard I was finding it!
So, Laura, if you’re not finding it too hard, give yourself a pat on the back! But if you are, please know that you are not alone as I really did too! I’ve compiled a list of my best 11 tips to help you keep it together. These are the things I wished someone could have told me, whilst making me a cup of tea and then watching my baby away for an hour so I could have a nap! Many of the tips sort of compliment each other but I felt it important to single out each one, as we are all different and might relate to one more than another. This post is rather me, me, me but I fully believe in Happy Mum = Happy Baby so I really hope you find it useful!
Get the Zeds
“Sleep is for the weak” is something I heard way too often in those early days. I’m a competitive person by nature but trying to keep up with those mums who could get by on no sleep, do their makeup and smile was never a competition I was going to win. In fact I was losing. Badly. Then I discovered the BEST article about sleep for new mums you will ever read. In it I was given permission to sleep and that I did! The most important thing we changed was I would get 3 solid hours sleep a night, during which time Mike would stay up with Reuben and feed him a bottle of expressed milk. This made a huge difference to my overall wellbeing.
Make sure you eat
Sounds stupid but seriously, make sure you eat. On the first few days I kind of forgot, then would be so starving the only thing I’d manage was a bowl of Shreddies. I couldn’t face cooking, so thankfully we had prepared things like bolognaise portions for the freezer. If you haven’t got that sorted, then just keep it simple. Eggs are great, super nutritious and quick to cook, so we also ate a lot of poached eggs on toast, which was totally what I fancied anyway after a 9-month runny egg ban!
Don’t try to diet too soon
I genuinely thought when I was pregnant that I would be dieting as soon as the baby popped out. Nothing could have been further from my mind for the first month or so, but it soon started to become a ‘thing’. When am I going to lose the baby weight? I should really get myself in the gym… etc. But seriously, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You’ve got enough on your plate! Try to eat healthily, go for gentle walks and you will be winning the battle anyway. Then when you do feel ready, take it slow. Once I was ready to get back to the gym I found it harder than when I was 40 weeks pregnant because I was so tired. Listen to your body and nourish it with what it needs. Oh and you’ll also notice that you eat like a racehorse. Try to slow down a little!
One of the ways I made sure I was getting what I needed was to make vegetable juices (sweetened with a bit of fruit). I just wasn’t interested in being all that balanced with my meals. Because I was breastfeeding it was all about high fat/calorie foods in as quick a time as possible. To make sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed to be able to produce milk, I started juicing to supplement my diet. (Incidentally, once I stopped breastfeeding I then went on to use juicing as my main way to get rid of the baby weight!). Oh, and while we’re on it, drink loads of water, especially if you are breastfeeding. If you don’t you’ll get allsorts of things, including constipated, which quite frankly you could do without.
Get out once a day
I became a bit of a hermit in those early days. It can take forever to get out the house, and then when you do get out you are going to have to negotiate feeding… And what if they scream and scream? Or worse, what if they sleep the whole time and I’ve lost a potential nap?! Etc. So I stopped bothering, watched every romcom on demand and then I started to get depressed. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown day trip, even if it’s just a walk to the park, or the local shops, do it. Get out the house and make contact with other humans!
Don’t try to do too much
On the flip side, don’t try to cram too much into your day. Give yourself permission to take life at a slower pace. If you need to recharge and be at home, staring at your baby, that’s OK. As long as you stick to the rule above, of course. I basically stick to the mantra, even to this day, of: do one thing a day and do it well. You can also invite people to your house – get them to bring cake and make the tea! Which leads me nicely to
If someone says, “do you need any help?” say, “YES” immediately. And if they say a specific job, like doing a load of washing, literally bite their hand off before they change their mind. You might not be able to think of job, or be embarrassed for asking, but just swallow your pride and invite them in. Chores need doing and you’re already doing a lot looking after this little person who won’t let you sleep. Exchange baby cuddles for hanging out the washing or hovering upstairs or making you dinner. If you don’t have a child and don’t know how to help your buddy with a new baby, think chores. They will love you FOREVER if you just came in and did the washing up.
In the early days I had this feeling that it would never get any easier. I’m here to tell you it will but in the meantime, please learn from my baby blues story…The lowest point in my newborn days was a feeling of utter despair – Mike had gone away with work and I felt completely exhausted and alone. I cried and cried, feeling stupid and desperate. When I finally did call Mike he organised for his dad to drive the 30 miles to come and get us. All despair vanished knowing I wasn’t alone. People want to help; everyone finds having a baby difficult at times and there is no shame in admitting it. Please look to your loved ones if you need it. You can also talk to your doctor or Health Visitor in confidence (I regularly called my HV in tears, they’re used to it!).
Get yourself some new jeans that fit, get your hair done, have a massage (apparently it’s great for body confidence in the early days after giving birth), something that you will really enjoy. It doesn’t have to cost the earth (it could be as simple as enjoying a bubble bath with your favourite magazine) and it will be difficult to switch off (I would hear phantom baby cries), but just be sure that for that moment you are putting yourself first. Happy mum = happy family.
Get a cleaner
If you can afford it, do it. My cleaner became my best friend because she cleaned the bathroom and did the hovering, the things I loathe more than anything else. She was also willing to do other jobs too, like some ironing, changing the sheets and even putting on a load of washing, so be sure to ask about that. This ties into accepting and seeking help…it’s a well-known fact that being a new mum is really hard! And it’s OK to need help in order for your home to not fall into disrepair, which ours was in danger of. If you don’t want to ask your loved ones for help, then this is the next best thing!
This is such a special time. You will never have seen a cuter baby so get completely wrapped up in these moments. Do what makes you happy, accept help, look after yourself and your health, and make sure you get plenty of photos!
Big thanks to Hannah for these fantastic tips, I’ll certainly be taking heed!
What tips would you add to these? How do you think you’d cope with a newborn?