Wow. The first 3 months goes QUICK.
It has been filled with so much learning, trial and error. I have so much more respect and understanding for all mums and dads out there. You guys, life is tough, bringing up a newborn is tougher, and the best part is, you never do it alone, there are literally thousands of other mums and dads going through the exact same thing!!
There is one thought I always think when it’s 2am and also the 5th time I’ve been up, and it’s so comforting to think that there are so many other mums/dads up at the same time. I’m not going through this alone, there is 100% chance there is another mum up, feeding her baby too. It actually stops me from feeling sorry for myself, which is good, I can just get on with life, rather than whine and whinge (even though I still sometimes do).
Julian is a hungry baby. He feeds every 2 hours at night! For the last 3 months, every night, I have been sleeping in blocks of 1.5-2hrs. It’s ageing me. If I am lucky, there will be a 3 hr block, or Brodie will take Julian in the morning on the weekend so I can sleep in. “Sleeping when the baby sleeps” is not a thing. I can’t do it. It’s like I’m so tired i’m overtired and then can’t switch off….. ANYWAY, I could go on and on and on abut how shitty my sleep is, but the thing is, it will pass. It won’t last for much longer, and I will get my sleep back eventually. I’m blogging this to share and hopefully there’s a mum out there reading this thinking…. thank god it’s not just my baby who doesn’t sleep through the night!
So here we go, I am in no way an expert, but these following things have helped me navigate the first 3 months.
Here are my top tips to survive the first 3 months:
1. Communication with your partner. I’m pretty sure I cried for the first 3 weeks. Probably just hormonal, but it’s so overwhelming. Having Brodie there and being able to share how I was feeling was really important. Discussing who would cook dinner, or clean up (or not clean up) really helped us establish a good night time routine and keep me feeling sane.
2. Cuddle with LOVE. Your baby is crying and you don’t know why. It’s easy to get frustrated and want to ask your baby WHYYYYYY. One thing that really worked for us, was cuddling Julian with love. Speaking to him in a soft, soothing voice, and projecting so much love towards him. Babies don’t cry to piss us off, they cry for so many reasons, and sometimes they just want to know they are safe!
3. Support. Make sure you have some support, whether its your parents, a friend, someone a phone call away, a Facebook group, a mothers group, the in-laws, the neighbours…. anyone who can lend a kind word, or come over for an hour to help out. At some point, you will need to rely on people, and that’s ok. Remember, it takes a village.
4. Listen to your body. Don’t go and join an 8 week challenge/run 10kms/do a HIIT class 6 weeks after giving birth if you are still exhausted and recovering. Statistics show that it takes almost a year for the body to completely heal, not that you should wait a year, but if there’s one thing I would recommend, it’s get checked out by a Women’s Health Physio once you feel ready commence exercise.
5. It will pass. TIME WILL PASS. In the blink of an eye, your baby will be a teenager. Those sleepless nights will pass, you will eventually get sleep, the tough times will pass, and you may even get your body back (with the right guidance).
6. Food! Eat food. Don’t starve yourself if you are breastfeeding. Nourish your body with good food and it will support your recovery, your health and your energy. I really struggled with eating proper meals the first 3 months, and it really helped to buy pre-made healthy meals that I could whip out for lunch or dinners if we hadn’t had a chance to get to the shops. I recommend Odyssey Lean meals if you are in Australia.
7. You are an Individual, not just a mum. Look after yourself. Don’t forget you are also a wife, a friend, a sister. It’s so easy to get caught up in newborn land, and that’s totally ok, but remember, you need to look after yourself too. Go get a massage, catch up with a friend, shave your legs, get your eyebrows waxed. You’ve earned it.
8. Nap schedule. Newborns are all over the place with their naps, but it really helped me to loosely follow a sleep/feeding guide so that I understood how long Julian should be between feeds and sleeps. It also helps you plan your day and do activities between the naps.
9. Overtired baby. One thing that really helped me, was recognising signs of a tired baby so i could put him down before he got over tired. Researching into how long babies should be awake for was also super helpful.
10. Express and store. Pumping a little milk after feeding Julian in the mornings and before I go too bed was a good tip I got. That way if I want to pop out on the weekend, Brodie has a supply of milk in the fridge/freezer he can use if needed. A haaka is also great to collect letdown from the other boob when feeding, and keeping that milk over the course of the day. Keep your eyes out for mastitis though. Also I wouldn’t recommend pumping for the first 6 weeks while your body is adjusting to the amount of milk it needs. Check the ABA website for further info.
11. YOU ARE DOING SO WELL. You are doing the best you can, you are an amazing mum and don’t forget that.
That’s just a few of the tips I can remember, if you have any, I would love you to comment them below!!! 🙂