How do I sort out my life with a Baby??

In my role as a Doula in the first weeks and months of your babies life, I would congratulate you for an untidy house, as this shows that any time you have is being spent on looking after yourself and the needs of your baby, as it should be.

Feeling a bit tired....

Feeling a bit tired….

However, at some point you will begin to find you can start getting some semblance of a normal life together. Here’s the thing though, it won’t be the same as the one pre-baby. So here are a few little bits and bobs that worked for me and  you might find useful in your new life with a baby.

  • Everyone will tell you to ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ but do it. If you can’t sleep, fine, just lie down and rest. You need it, sleep deprivation makes you loopy (it’s banned under the Geneva convention for God’s sake!) and your body is still recovering from birth, whichever way baby came out.
  • Get into the habit of using a diary, phone or old-school paper, and keep it in your bag. ‘Pregnancy brain’, like morning sickness, lasts longer than the name suggests.
  • Do your food shopping on the Internet. It takes as long as if you physically go to the shop but the major plus is you can do it in your PJs while breastfeeding.
  • The most efficient way to make Internet food shopping work for you is to meal plan. I’m not going to lie, this is dull and could be seen by many as being borderline OCD. However it does mean you are less likely to have half a bag of soggy lettuce and a boiled egg for lunch as you’ve just realized the only food you have in the house is the slab of meat that was for dinner.
  • On this note, when shopping make sure you include a couple of lunch options so that you’re not doomed to leftovers or toast for an entire week!
  • Especially when breastfeeding, you will need snacks that aren’t junk in the house (this will also help you regain your pre-baby figure). Dried fruit, nuts, crudites and hummus, olives, yoghurt, rice cakes, etc this is also a good thing to get used to early on as your kids will be having regular snacks for YEARS.
  • Try and get some fresh air, even if it’s a case of coat and wellies over your PJ’s you can just walk down the road for 10 minutes. It will make you feel better.
  • A low light in your bedroom, even a low wattage bulb in your usual lamp is so much better in the middle of the night than the overhead 60Watt or stumbling about in the dark. These are great and can be used for kids nightlights when they’re in their own rooms later.

http://www.ecozone.com/products/moonlight/

Finn, aged 3 weeks, in a drawer as I'd forgotten the travel cot.

Finn, aged 3 weeks, in a drawer as I’d forgotten the travel cot.

  • Babies generally travel well long-haul before they can crawl, at which point it gets really difficult to keep them entertained in a seat.
  • Don’t freak out about all the stuff you need. Newborns require minimum kit, especially when breastfed. A couple of clean baby grows, a muslin, sling and nappies are the only ‘specialist equipment’ you really need.
  • Trains are your friend when it comes to kids. They can be kept entertained by your full attention, a constant supply of snacks and the occasional wander about/trip to the loo. As opposed to having to deal with them one-handed while driving and them strapped down just out of your reach. And that doesn’t even include the nightmare that is car sickness.
  • Try and meet people with kids the same age, some mum’s groups can be painful but there is no one as likely to want to meet up 12pm on a Wednesday for a coffee and chat about little sleep you’ve had, than a fellow Mum. Some of these relationships are fulfilling but transient, others are lifelong and it’s worth remembering, these women did stuff before becoming a Mum, I’d have never crossed paths with some of my closest friends if it hadn’t been for our babies being born at the same time, from a PhD in neurobiology to a set designer to a penguin keeper.
  • It’s very likely your child will choose a special toy, (it’s never the one you think!) when they do, if you have the opportunity get at least one replacement for emergencies/wash days. You will not believe the lengths you will go to if the one-and-only special toy is left somewhere…..
  • This goes under the title “easier said than done” but ignore what everyone else’s kids are doing, don’t get sucked into the competitiveness of it. It’s not good for you and has no relation to the well-being of your baby.
  • Trust your instinct. If you feel there’s something not right with your child, go see your GP, if you’re not reassured, seek a second opinion. You are the expert on what is normal for your child.

So hopefully one of those has a sprinkling of an idea that’s helpful, and if not, well there was no harm in trying….

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