Hello to all the mamas reading this post! Maybe you’re pregnant with your first child and looking for info on what’s to come, maybe you’ve already given birth (or adopted) and now you’re like:”Shit, this is harder than I thought” or maybe you’re not a first time mom but searching for how to do better this time around. I’m going to do my best to help you out and share my tips. I am a momma to three boys (10yrs, 8yrs & 2yrs), so I’ve been there too.
Prepare in advance. The best thing you can do is to prepare in advance. This goes mostly about food. Cooking takes time and thinking about what to make can be stressful. So fill your freezer with ready to go meals, whether you prepare them yourself or buy them from a store. Hey, what about a last minute baby shower, where instead of gifts they bring you meals you freeze, or heck do both.
Survival mode. First thing you gotta do is to drop your expectations, prepare for these 1-3 months to be crazy times and to go with it. Throw away any to-do lists and routine ideas for that time and just adjust to this new life. It’s only 3 months, after that you can get back on doing stuff and being productive. These first months are just for you and the baby (and your husband and other kids).
Fatherly instinct. Also very important, lower your expectations about the father of your child. Maybe you have a miracle man who will help you all the time from day 1 and cater to all your needs, lucky you! But most men are not that helpful, so just prepare for that, cause it’s easier like that. It was one of the best advice I got from my mom when I had my first! It’s not that men are awful, it’s just diffferent for them, they don’t have the hormones, they didn’t grow the baby inside of them and they can’t feed the baby with their bodies. Most of the times they just don’t know what to do and are just afraid to do something wrong or just think that you are already doing a great job. You need to explain everything to a detail.Things that are obvious to us like how many time does the baby go between eating, putting on the diaper cream, how to clean up a poop explosion, are not for them. So take it easy on them, talk about stuff, ask for help (because they can be pretty clueless) and help them learn and then watch them becoming confident and awesome fathers.
Sleep whenever you can. Why do so many moms shame the frase “sleep when the baby sleeps”? I know it’s not always possible, but I don’t understand the immense hate this gets. A newborn sleeps 16-17 hours of day, which leaves you plenty of naps to decide if you want to sleep, get some stuff done or to just relax and do something that makes you happy (reading, watching tv, knitting, taking a long bath, whatever). Sleep is the most important thing, it helps you recover from childbirth and to be a functional human being.
If it’s your first child then try to take atleast one nap with them. Honestly with my first I totally took 2 naps a day! You’ve got plenty of other nap time left to get stuff done when they are so little.
Now if you have other kids then it depends on their age. When my second was born my first one was 2 and still took a nap, so I napped with them. And thanks to the little one sleeping most of the day it’s not that hard to match their nap times.
But maybe your kid doesn’t nap anymore, all my boys dropped naps between 2-3 years, yet went to bed around 9pm… In that case either try to put them to bed earlier and go to bed early as well. Or if you can get help from your husband, family or friends TAKE IT and sleep!!!
When my third was born my other boys were 6 and 8, so I could sleep with the baby without worrying them getting hurt or burning the house down. Maybe you have older kids who go to school, great, use that time. My boys are homeschooled, so I gotta get creative with my time. Moral of the story, just do whatever you can to sleep. And before you say “but…”, “i can’t” , try a little more and then you can despair.
Give yourself grace. You don’t have to everything! Repeat after me:”You don’t have to do everything!” You don’t have to clean, you don’t have to cook, you don’t have to host friends and family who come to meet the baby, you don’t have to go out but you also don’t have to stay in. Just do whatever makes you feel better, indulge in it during this time. And cut off anything that stresses you out and takes your time. With my first baby I basically spent the first two months on the couch watching tv with a baby on my boob. He was a colic baby and wanted to feed every 1,5h and took forever to eat, so I just sat there and watched tv and ate and sometimes I would drop a spaghetti or crumbs on his head and that’s ok. And then he would fall asleep and I would just cuddle with him and sleep on the couch with him. Did I become overweigtht or unhealthy? No, I lost the baby weight and turned back into a normal human being in the next 6 months, but for me these first months you just do what you can to rest, to stay sane, to “survive”.
Co-sleep. A controversial suggestion, but to us it was very helpful. All my boys went on to sleep in their beds in another room without fuss, but I understand this not might be the case always. What are the benefits though? Babies are meant to be with their mamas, to sleep near them, they will sleep better and you will sleep better. If you’re breastfeeding then co-sleeping just makes sense, whip out your bood and keep sleeping, or half-sleeping. But even if you don’t breastfeed, it’s much more comfier to feed your little one on your bed. To me it just made sense, it was the right choice. But you can do whatever makes you comfortable. This is the most important things about motherhood, you have to do what feels right for you and your family anyone else can go where the sun don’t shine.
Cooking & getting stuff done. If you didn’t prepare in advance or don’t have a big freezer you still gotta eat. And if you have older kids then you always need to have something to feed them. It’s mostly the chopping part, cause you can just throw stuff on a pot or a pan also when the baby is awake. Your baby may love the swing or a bouncer, none of my boys liked the bouncer and I didn’t have money for the swing.
- Cook when they’re asleep. With my third I cooked when he was asleep. We eat dinner around 6-7pm, so when he was sleeping around 4 or 5 I would start to prepare the food.
- Put them in a bouncer or a swing, or maybe your husband is at home and can watch the baby.
- Buy easy to make meals. Like pasta and a ready to go pasta sauce. You can just put down the baby for 2 minutes to drain the pasta, the rest you can do while holding the baby.
- Meal prep. You can also meal prep some meals on a day your significant other doesn’t work so he can either watch the baby or help out. Or maybe someone else can come and help you. Prep some meals that you just need to heat up during the week.
- Batch prep.Not exactly meal prep or freezer cooking, but when you’re already chopping up stuff , chop some extra for another day. Or when you’re making chicken, buy some more so you can use the leftovers for other meals.
As for getting other stuff done it’s pretty obvious, but I’m going to list the things anyway.
- Prioritize, you don’t have to everything. You need to eat, therefore cook and your family needs clean clothes. You don’t have to wash the floors every 2 days or scrub the toilet. Figure out the bare essentials and get those done, everything else can wait during this time.
- Obviously do stuff when the baby sleeps. After you’ve taken a nap too ;)
- As with cooking put the baby in a bouncer or a swing for a little bit, if they like it.
- Wear your baby, but be careful with cooking and make sure your baby is secure in there and don’t do any movements that might result in the baby slipping out or you know, all that common sense stuff.
- Ask someone to watch the baby or to help out.
Drink & eat enough. So so important, especially if you’re breastfeeding. But also when you’re not. Your body needs fuel to function, to do all the mom stuff and also to cope with sleeping less. So don’t deny yourself a good meal and don’t give me excuses about being too busy. I literally told you I dropped food on my baby’s head! I cannot deal with being hungry, I will make time to eat. I either ate holding my baby or sometimes I just let them cry until I eat as fast as I can. Sometimes that’s all you can do, there is no perfect solution. Other times the baby is asleep or simply content and you can eat in peace and chew properly, but other times is better to eat too fast or while being disturbed than not eating at all.
Music. I’m not talking about the white noise stuff. I’m talking about when your baby either wakes up during the night or refuses to go to sleep late at night, pop on some headphones with your favorite music while you walk around the room/corridor with a screaming baby. It will help you stay calm, it will help the baby cause they can hear the music and they can feel you being calm and it helps you to be more awake, cause for me there isn’t anything worse than being tired and forced to do something while sleepy. This may sound weird to you, but it helped me a lot and the babies fell asleep a lot quicker. With my third I pretty much had some music on all day long, not loud but something for him not to hear all the noise his big brothers were making. We live in an apartment and our bedrooms are small and right beside one another, so I opened our couch and let him sleep on there. If I’d let him asleep in the bedroom and without music he would’ve been up every 20 minutes.
I think I got down everything I had to say. The first 3 months are crazy, tiring, caotic and confusing but I also love this time cause I get to bond with my baby and lots of snuggling, you can’t beat that! Just remember that it will pass sooner than you think, live day by day, concentrate on getting through one day at a time. I hope this post gave you some tips or at least some hope for the future! I’m sending much love to all of you strong and brave mamas out there! You’ve got this!