Today I have another wonderful guest post for you from the lovely Lucy at Outnumbered By Bunnies, who had a beautiful baby girl in November 2017. Here she talks about surviving those newborn days and how to get through them – something I am currently living having welcomed our newborn into the world a few weeks ago.
My daughter was born in early November, so I feel like we’re finally coming out of the fog of the newborn days. I may be a little strange, but I’m a bit sad about it – I’ve loved my tiny froggy newborn girl!
On the other hand, she’s even more amazing now she’s getting older! We’ve got smiles and interaction and I swear she’ll be giggling any day now. Every week is more exciting than the one before.
The newborn days weren’t always easy for us, though. I had a long and complicated birth, and it took me a while to be back to full strength.
It took us a bit of trial and error to find out what worked. We’ve learnt some big lessons so far, and I know we’ll carry on learning them for the rest of her life.
Your partner is not the enemy.
Yes, there will be times you’re getting on each other’s last nerve, but remember that you (probably) got into this situation because you love each other.
You need to work together on this one. Our best trick was in the first couple of weeks, while my husband was on paternity leave, we slept in shifts. For example, he’d sleep from 10-2, I’d go from 2-8, and then he’d do from 8-10ish. It was his idea because he wanted me to have plenty of sleep to recover from the birth, but sleep is also his favourite thing in the world! It worked for us and let us both approach the start of our parenting journey more rested than some couples.
Most of our squabbles have been when we each have a view on something (She needs changing! No, let her feed first!), and it’s only because we both love her so much.
The baby is not the enemy either!
In the very early days, she felt like a tiny tyrant keeping me from sleep and my usual hobbies. As the days have passed and she’s learnt to smile and got more interactive, it’s clear that she’s just a tiny little girl trying to work out what’s going on in the world.
Now it feels like me and her against the world, rather than me vs. her during long dark nights!
I was going to exclusively breastfeed, avoid anything that might cause nipple confusion, and use cloth nappies. My combination-fed daughter is currently asleep next to me, in her disposable nappy, with a dummy, having just finished a bottle of formula. It turns out she had her own opinions as well!
Also, work on your physical flexibility. The contortions I’ve done to reach my phone while holding a sleeping baby could probably qualify me for some Olympic gymnastics teams!
Accept other people for who they are.
My mum wanted to visit all the time, bring food, hold the baby and then clean my house and take my laundry home with her. (My mum is absolutely heaven-sent, can you tell?)
On the other hand, my dad didn’t feel ready to hold her until she was three weeks old. He wanted to feel useful by doing practical tasks for us like fixing a leak under the sink and clearing out our garage. We never would have thought to ask for those things, but it was so incredibly useful.
Other people visit, want the fun cuddles and expect to be entertained and fed at our expense. We’ve managed to limit that sort of visitor, fortunately. But by working out who will be like that early on, I don’t feel so upset when they do come round and ask me what’s for lunch.
Learn to love early morning TV!
Some of my most treasured memories are of sitting in front of the TV at 5am while the world is dark, breastfeeding and watching repeats of 90s crime dramas. It helped me stay awake and the sound of voices seemed to settle her.
Talk about your birth.
If you need to, that is. I had a rather traumatic birth but emotionally I’m handling it quite well. I think it’s largely because my husband and my mum have both encouraged me to talk about it a lot. Sometimes it feels almost like a compulsion, an absolute need, to discuss various aspects of it.
I thought I would remember every moment forever, but it’s amazing how quickly memories are fading. I love the photos that show how tiny she was, the first time she met her Nana, the time she learnt how to stroke the rabbit… Amazingly, I spend so much time looking back at them already.
Also, pretty much every single person you know is going to want to see photos on the off-chance you go out alone, so have them ready!
And finally, the cliché…
This too shall pass.
Everyone says it, but it does go quickly. The days may be long but the weeks are apparently very short. I can’t believe that it was a whole two months ago we were making our way to the hospital on a dark, rainy morning.
On the other hand, I can’t believe she’s only been here for two months! It feels like I’ve known her forever.