Eat Play Sleep
I remember a wise mom said to me when I had my newborn, the first few months are about survival so you do what feels right for you.
I couldn’t help but chuckle because as much as I indulged in those newborn cuddles, took hundreds of photos a day of their cute smiling twitches and little fingers - I was struggling.
I was struggling immensely with the birth pain that I was left with that no one else seemed to have. I was struggling with the sleep deprivation of waking up every 40 minutes trying to get my baby to latch and worried I wasn't feeding him properly.
Being a new mama is a beautiful time with a lot of self-doubt, emotions and physical needs as well. Learn to accept help, listen to lots of advice and filter.
Take the advice that works for you and leave the ones that don’t. Remember that advice comes from a place of love, so be gentle if you disagree, be open to suggestions and everything will turn out fine.
Here are some tips I found useful, but remember to only do what's best for you!
- They're little but mighty! Babies are born with tiny little tummies and as they adjust to the 'real world' outside the watery comforts of mama's womb, they need to learn to suck their milk. This is as new for them as it is for us and sometimes they need a bit of adjustment and coaxing.
- Make sure when feeding, breast or bottle they are semi-upright, so they can stop when they want to and continue. After all, we wouldn't be eating or drinking lying flat, right?
- Because their tummies are small, they will need to feed often. As they expand, your feed will take longer. Don't rush them or yourself. This is what motherhood is all about - a time for you to bond.
- Expressing or formula can be useful to give the opportunity for dad or other family members to bond with the baby, and allow time to take care of yourself.
- Always remember to burp after a feed. Sometimes it doesn't happen straight away, so try to encourage a bit of extra tummy time, cuddles on your own chest or across the shoulder to help bring up the burps.
- When starting solids, steam everything in one go in the morning then add different fruits and vegetables with porridge and hot water for different meals without a mess in the kitchen again throughout the day. Three course meals? Piece of cake. Entrée of carrot purée, main of chicken, broccoli and baby rice puree finished with dessert, purée pear! It sounds fancy, but they're so little they just need a tiny piece of carrot, one side of a pear, all steamed up and quickly puree together. You can take it a step further and make big batches and freeze in the freezer as well.
- What goes in must come out, and boy, those newborn nappies sure are nasty. The hospitals and nurses will teach you that you should always check their poo. In no time, you will be a poo expert as it also tells you how the baby is doing. Use jojoba oil to wash dirty bums in the bathroom sink. They come off easily and also leaves a barrier on baby’s skin to prevent diaper rash which is very useful in keeping those bums immaculate.
- Playtime with the little ones can just be staring and going 'goo goo ga ga' all day, but it's a great way to see their reaction and watch their eyes light up.
- Make sure late evenings or afternoons are not over stimulating with peekaboos and dangling cot mobiles when it's close to the evening slumber. Sometimes it can make it hard for them to go to sleep.
- Make sure baby gets lots of tummy time. This is good for strengthening their necks and stomach as well as keeping their head shape round.
- Remember to alternate turning their head left or right to sleep so they don't develop a flat head shape. Too much lying in one spot when they're newborn can cause this. Some babies will turn themselves but others might need a bit of help from us. When they are awake, encourage the tummy time.
- Make sure you have a SIDS safe environment, without lots of blankets or soft toys on the bed. Follow the SIDS guidelines to ensure the safety of your little ones.
- Babies will sleep through their poos, so even if they're sleeping, the little diapers may need changing. It's the worst feeling when they are sleeping so soundly, but leaving it too long can cause diaper rash. If you're lucky, they might not even wake up! A great way of changing nappies is to slide the clean one under the existing diaper, open, clean, pop the wipe into the diaper, pull and roll away, quickly run your fingers on the elastic edgings (if you're using disposables) and seal. Clean quick and easy!
- Nights can sometimes be long. Indulge yourself in some TV while you’re feeding so you’re not watching the clock and it’s not as mentally exhausting.
- Keep a warm thermos bottle next to your bedside for yourself to sip throughout the day and night. You need lots of hydration for all the extra breastfeeding and late nights you're up!
Sending love 💕