On Monday our littlest member of the family will be 6 weeks old. Now usually that is when I start to feel a bit more normal and settled. And I kind of do feel that way. And in other ways I am still on the couch feeding for a lot of hours and adjusting to a slower routine. And today I realised that usually at the 6 week mark (with the exception of our last little guy) the baby would have been baptised. I still have the forms here just like the envelope from the hospital to register his birth and all of those fun jobs that I just haven’t gotten around to.
But since this is the 6th newborn that we’ve had I thought I’d put a few tips up that help me get through the crazy days (and nights, oh the nights) of life at home with a newborn.
1. Lower those standards
Babies are all consuming and need you unless they are sleeping. So get ready for the house to stop looking like a show home……mind you if this isn’t your first baby then you stopped that show home stuff long ago. You’re going to spend a lot of time feeding and holding a baby so I’ve been spreading out the jobs that I would usually do in 1 day over a few days. The stairs in our house hadn’t been vacuumed since I got home from the hospital until this week which is unusual for me but just not a priority. So chose your priorities (hot shower when you can get one) and let the housework slide a little.
2. Keep the fridge and pantry well stocked
I am so hungry. Sooooo hungry. I’ve been putting healthy snacks in this week so I can stay away from the tim tams and also because as soon as I’ve finished feeding I am just hanging out for something to eat. I love nut butter on corn thins or rice cakes, almonds, trail mix, fruit, a bit of yoghurt, homemade biccies and whatever I can find. OK today i had pretzels and m&m’s in a bowl together! And if a friend or someone in the family is coming to visit and they say can I do anything for you ask for milk, bread or something to eat as it saves having to go to the shops for one or two things.
3. Get the big kids working
One does the sweeping, one does the dustpan and broom. No tv until the playroom is cleaned. Helping with the dishwasher and so on. You’d be surprised what even your littlest ones can help with even if it’s just packing up a toy box so instead of doing everything yourself make this the time that everyone pitches in to help out.
4. Get out of the house
yesterday I ducked out to a lunch for a few hours with other mums and it was fabulous. Just to get out of the house and off my couch and have a change of scenery with my little man. Do it. Whether it’s joining a mothers group, playgroup, walk somewhere or a trip to the local shopping centre for a walk around and a coffee just get out and do it. My trick is feed the baby, change the outfit and nappy and go go go. Don’t waste any time just get on the road and go.
5. Always have the nappy bag well stocked and by the front door
A little something I learnt with the twins was always having a well stocked nappy bag and when I get home I’ll top it up with nappies and wipes, check I’ve got an outfit. It can be a drama herding everyone out of the house let alone just a new baby so having the bag ready to go at the door is one less thing you need to worry about. And it means you won’t be caught out while you’re out without enough nappies or a change of outfit. And boy have I been out and had the mother of all nappies that needs to be changed. This nappy bag is 4 years old and still going strong.
6. Muslin wraps are good for everything
Use it as a burp cloth, cover up if you want to while feeding, drape it over the pram to keep the sun off, change a baby on it, sit on it, lay baby on it as a playmat and just a few weeks ago when baby decides to do a big poo that goes up his back just before you need to go up to communion at mass well just wrap up baby to hide the poo up the back of the jumpsuit and deal with the situation shortly afterwards. So many uses and the bigger the better. The muslin that is.
7. Do a load of washing a day
This is something I already do it but it can get out of the control quickly and we had a bit of a singlet situation recently as I was changing so many outfits and the new nappies I was trying were leaking a little and we had so much rain. Most baby clothes are light coloured so aim for a load a day. Who knows when you’ll get to fold it and put it away but at least baby has lots of fresh outfits and you’re up to date with the baby stuff. I still remember when my aunty and nana came over when I had newborn twins and folded some laundry for me. Oh was there a lot of laundry in those days.
8. Keep a sense of humour
You’ll need this later on as your kids grow up but definitely keeping a sense of humour even when you’ve had no sleep is really important. On those days when every time I put the baby down and then he starts crying I’ll think about the funny side of putting a baby down sleeping then he wakes and doing it again and again and again like this mum and it’s kind of funny! It’s so easy to snap at everyone in the house when you’re so tired and feel like you haven’t done a thing all day but trying to keep it light and happy works for me.
9. Keep the vacuum, dishwasher and washing machine going when baby naps
None of our babies have liked peace and quiet so keep the background noise going and let baby sleep to it. I think you can even get white noise on a cd to help babies sleep so there is definitely something in that.
10. Use your sling
Often the only way I can get anything done is by using the sling. I use either a soft sling like the hug a bub or my ergo around the house and can hang out some washing or bake a cake. If you’ve got a cranky baby on your hands then try the sling at home. And take it everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11. Get some sunshine
Take that morning or afternoon tea break outside in the sun. I just feel so much better when I can grab 10 minutes in the sun. Here we have the birds singing all day and usually the only time I read the local newspaper cover to cover is when I have a baby in the house. So get a bit of sunshine and it gives you a change of scenery and some fresh air without being too far from baby and what needs to be done.
12. Find clothes that fit
I love to get out of my maternity jeans as soon as I can. I have a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that suit the inbetween stage – things like smock tops, loose dresses, elastic skirts, big cardigans – and I just feel better when I’m out of maternity clothes. You can pick up some great stuff on ebay if you don’t want to pay full price or buy jeans in a size or two bigger than your usual size. I’ve bought a pair of jeans and some great loose pants since having my baby and I feel much happier in them than if I was in my maternity jeans. They are 2 sizes bigger than I’d usually wear but I didn’t pay too much for them and they will be great while I get back into shape.
13. Ask for help
Whether you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, sad, depressed, struggling or have a lot of emotions or perhaps just need an extra pair of hands tell someone. Whether it’s your hubby, a friend, a mum from school, the class parent, your parents or your child health nurse or doctor. When you have a new baby there are so many changes and you spend so much time along with this new little person. It’s easy for emotions to be all over the place or to feel like you’re a different person or just that you would love a bit of help. So definitely speak to someone even if it’s just to get something off your chest.
14. bath, feed and bed
just like we love a nice hot bath and bed so do little babies. I love to bath baby at 8.30 or 9 and give him a big feed then wrap him up and put him down. you can get a few hours if you’re lucky ( I repeat if you’re lucky because it doesn’t always work) but after a long day and if bub has been up a lot then it can work wonders.
and 15. treat yourself……….
chocolate, your favourite magazine, online shopping, a pedicure (I have been known to take a baby or toddler on my lap if necessary), a wash or blow dry (goodness knows my hair has seen better days), new lipgloss…whatever makes you happy keep it up. We all feel a bit better when we look after ourselves and it’s so important to do when we’re looking after a new little baby.
What’s your top tip when you have a newborn?????????