So, the moment you've always dreamed of is here… you arrive home with your beautiful bundle of joy after a magical labour (OK, probably not a magical labour… they are for some people but let’s talk about that another day!) and you are about to start your perfect family life. Then the reality sinks in… this little bundle of joy is a person who will rely on you for EVERYTHING.
It’s ok… take some deep breaths…
Use your network… I am super fortunate in that I have an amazing support network of family around me, if you are lucky enough to have family nearby, then use them! This is the time you are allowed to be waited on whilst you dote on your little person. Naturally, they are all going to want to come round and coo incessantly which is great, but this is the time to be blunt and bold and
Sleep… whenever you can. People will understand. You have just had a baby, you have disturbed sleep patterns, so if you need a nap in the morning… and the afternoon... do it!
Do what gets you through the day… I am a HUGE routine fan, I think it makes your life easier in the long run… but you can read more about that here. However, in the first few weeks you are making a huge adjustment to your life and there will be time once you are settled (say at 3-8 weeks) to implement a routine. Also, in the first two weeks particularly you will likely have a lot of visitors wanting to coo and have cuddles with your baby… having your routine thrown out because of that is an added stress you don’t need!
Eat well… when I say eat well, I mean eat healthily. Of course eat nice biscuits and cake and chocolate if you want to, but it is also really important to replenish your body with goodness after giving birth. Your body may be repairing scars, replenishing blood and preparing milk, so you need to be providing the appropriate fuel. You also need to ensure you are getting enough fibre as those first few number twos can be the scariest moments you will ever spend on the loo! A favourite for me was porridge with blueberries, flax seeds and manuka honey. The manuka is a great healer and the flax seeds really get everything in moving properly and easily! Try and eat some foods that are high in iron too as this will help give you energy.
It is ok to cry… as someone who isn’t a big crier and didn’t get particularly ‘hormonal’ during pregnancy, it was a big shock to me when on day 4 post-partum I stood in the kitchen crying about soup. A few hours later I cried because my son was just so damn perfect. Then I cried because I couldn’t decide what to have for dinner… I could go on… Crying doesn’t mean you have postnatal depression (though if you think you do, take a look at this website), it is really normal after giving birth for your hormones to take some time to settle back to normal. Ask for help, ask for hugs, or just sit and have a big cry if you need to.
Enjoy your baby ... I know it's what every other mother with older children will say to you... but they really do grow up so fast, so cherish these moments with your tiny weeny baby because they will be over in the blink of an eye.
So, there you have it. Enjoy your first few weeks of parenting... and if you have any questions... just ask!