If anything is certain, it’s that life will never be the same once your baby arrives. All of a sudden, you’ll have this whole other person who depends on you, and who loves you unconditionally. Being a parent changes so much, and makes you feel emotions you didn’t know existed before. But, that’s not to say it’s all rose-tinted and easy. Far from it, in fact, life with a newborn baby can be really tough, and it’s always best to be prepared.
What is sleep?
You might think, at nine months pregnant, that you are the most tired you will ever be. The huge bump, the heat, the constant need to wee, and the backache are probably stopping you getting a good night’s sleep. Add to this the worries about impending parenthood, and it’s not wonder you’re exhausted. The tiredness of a new parent is so much more than that though. Newborn babies are pretty much nocturnal, so you’ll be spending a lot of restless nights looking after your new baby. Don’t worry though, you will cope. Just remember, it won’t last forever. Sleep when your baby sleeps, and don’t over do it. If you’re too tired for guests, say so. It’s more important that you feel well rested and able to care for your baby.
The sound of your newborn baby crying will be one of the most awful sounds you’ll ever hear. It will send you into panic mode, your breasts will start leaking and you will become focused on how to stop the cries. Sometimes a simple cuddle or a quick feed will suffice, but other times it may feel like there is nothing you can do to stop the crying. Cuddle, rock, feed, sing, walk or drive around – try anything you can to soothe your newborn child.
Breastfeeding, while natural and wonderful, can also be sore at the beginning. This takes many new mums by surprise, and can leave them feeling upset and like a failure. Rest assured, you’re not a failure. Most new mums struggle with breastfeeding. If you’re finding it painful, or are struggling to get the correct latch, or simply feel worried about breastfeeding, speak to a professional for help. There are so many trained volunteers and specialists ready and waiting to help you with any breastfeeding problems.
Goodbye me time
For the first few weeks at least, you will struggle to get some time to yourself. You will have unruly eyebrows, unpolished nails and you’ll have no idea what’s been happening on your favourite TV show. Don’t worry though, you will eventually regain some of your me time. In the meantime, ask your partner to help out by looking after the baby while you take an hour or so to relax. Have a bath, read a book and just generally enjoy using your arms again.
Slow and steady
Everything takes a lot longer when you have a newborn to look after. Simple tasks like cooking dinner, cleaning the house and sorting out the clean laundry, can take seemingly endless amounts of time. You will struggle to get things done with a newborn. It’s worth preparing for this in advance. Stockpile your freezer full of pre-cooked meals that you can heat up in a hurry. Try to have the house organised before the baby arrives, hopefully your nesting instinct will help you out there, so that you don’t have lots of tidying to do before your guests arrive. Guests won’t mind a messy house, they’ll be distracted by the beautiful newborn anyway so don’t waste time tidying when you could be snuggling your new baby.
If you need help with the house, or you need someone to look after your baby for an hour while you have a shower, just ask. Your friends and family will be only too happy to help out in return for a couple of cuddles (from the baby, not you). Try to make it to mother and baby groups, so you can socialise with other new mums who know exactly what you’re going through. It’s important to have a support system on hand in those early months.
Do you have any advice to add, to help soon-to-be-mums prepare for life with a newborn?
Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2015. All rights reserved.