Having a newborn is hard work. Those early days are exhausting and overwhelming, and once your partner goes back to work after paternity leave you are left alone and it’s all down to you. Here are my top tips for surviving the first couple of months as a mum.
- Nap. I know, I know. Easier said than done. You have a million things to do, the house is a tip, the washing is overflowing. But seriously, in the very early days try to nap. It really helps. After all, you are recovering from a physical event and your body needs sleep to heal.
- Get out of the house every day (once you can manage it). Even if it’s just for a stroll round the block or to the shop to buy some milk. I usually do this every day—even if it’s raining—and it makes me feel 100% better to leave the house and get some fresh air. It’s even better if you can find a baby group to go to. Chatting to other people going through the same things is invaluable and you can get some great advice from mums who are a few months ahead of you.
- Eat well. As tempting as it is to live on cake and biscuits, this will make you feel like absolute rubbish. It’s hard when you have a baby to care for, but grapes or apples to snack on are just as easy to eat as biscuits (you only need one hand to eat them!) and you will feel 100% better for it. I still have cakes and biscuits, I just don’t only eat them! If you are breastfeeding, it’s also really important to drink enough water. Make sure you fill up a glass before starting a feeding session. I had cooked a few healthy meals for the freezer before the baby was born and these were so helpful once my husband was back at work—cooking from scratch in the very early days was nearly impossible with a baby who hated to be put down—and it meant we didn’t turn to takeaways too often.
- Ask for/accept help. If people offer to bring you lunch/milk/meals for the freezer/to make you a cup of tea, make sure you accept. If people don’t offer, but suggest coming over to see the baby, ask them if on their way they can pick up some lunch. People are usually happy to help.
- Go to bed early. It’s tempting to stay up so you get time with your partner once they are home from work, but we both soon realised my sleep was more important. Once the baby is asleep in the evening, go to bed. The newborn phase doesn’t last for long and you just need to survive.
How did you survive the first couple of months with a newborn?