15 Tips on How to Survive & Thrive With a Newborn – Part 122 June 2018
1. TIME PARENTAL LEAVE CAREFULLY
In the first two weeks, bub will be quite sleepy, and you’ll generally be high on hormones, love and adrenalin (and getting lots of help/visits from outsiders). However, at around 2 weeks (most) bubs WAKE THE HELL UP and their little bellies start to cause all sorts of havoc. Fast forward a few weeks to cold meals, 10 second showers, next to no sleep or time to yourself, and guess what? Your partner is now back at work. Damn it! And the visitors have stopped coming and you’re so tired, your bones ache! Double damn it! So, as tempting as it is to soak up as much of that “newborn-love- bubble” as possible after bub arrives, perhaps consider spreading your partner’s leave out a bit over the first month or so.
2. START FREEZING MEALS
Whack a few of those leftovers in the freezer and if anyone wants to help you get ready for bub, ask them to cook you a meal. Lasagne, soups, savoury muffins, pizzas, cake, biscuits, bliss/protein balls – all great for those days/nights when bub is a little more demanding. Nothing worse than trying to cook a meal one-handed…
Actually, there is! Trying to calm an unsettled bub on an empty stomach.
Time to power up that spare freezer in the garage!
3. START MEDITATING
I only wish someone had told me this one before becoming a mother. I started about 8 months ago and it has seriously been life-changing. If you download a quality ‘guided meditation app’ (e.g. Calm, Headspace) you will develop skills to be more present in each moment, understand yourself and really just be a little happier as a full-time parent. Below are some of the things I’ve learnt about and now use frequently in day-to-day life with the kids;
- returning to the breath,
- coping with change,
- making the connection between mind and body
- managing feelings of anxiety and stress
….and much MUCH more!
4. READ UP ON EVERYTHING BABY
A lot of people will tell you to just ‘listen to bub’, but it’s not always that simple. A little person two or three weeks earth-side may at times not know what they want or need, and you may be unsure of what their cues mean (sometimes I still struggle to read my bub, especially when sleep-deprived!) and that’s when logic/facts/knowledge need to kick in. Reading up on years of accumulated mother knowledge and medical research when my first bub was born, was the best thing I ever did. Like starting any new job, the more you know the better. Read up Mummy, read up!
5. BE OPEN TO ADVICE FROM OTHER MUMS
Another mother’s opinion does not mean that what you’re doing is wrong, nor does it mean she THINKS what you’re doing is wrong. So try not to get defensive or take offence. Every family, baby is different! She knows it, you know it. Instead, consider her (and every other mother) an untapped resource of experience and knowledge, and let the advice flow!!! Sometimes you’ll pick up one little gold nugget from another mum and all of your sleep/teething/feeding/solids problems will be solved!!!
6. KNOW THAT IT’S OKAY TO FEEL ANXIOUS (AT TIMES)
There will be times in your new role as ‘Mummy’ when you feel completely overwhelmed and perhaps even a little “tight-chested” over the enormity of it all. This is completely normal. But whatever you do, don’t bottle these feelings up. Talk to your partner, a family member, friend or doctor for some reassurance, particularly if you feel like your anxiety is becoming a little too consuming and starting to have an impact on your everyday life- style/activities.
I find regular exercise, meditation and plenty of sleep (haha yeah right!) are great tools for keeping any anxious thoughts or feelings at bay.
7. DOWNLOAD A GOOD PODCAST OR NETFLIX SERIES
This one’s for those lonely night time breastfeeding sessions, when it feels like everyone else in the world is asleep except you!