The Six Newborn Baby Learning Curvesby Sabrina Hackett-Saikul
So despite being post-birth and genuinely exhausted, most mums will admit to that feeling of pride that comes with the arrival of a child. Be it your first or fifth baby, they are all special and all little miracles. Just look what you have achieved!
However there are things that people forget to mention or don’t go into much detail about, I thought I would share some of my tips in this blog post for getting passed these… we will call them the six newborn baby learning curves!
When you become a mum you look at your bundle of joy and you feel incredible, that rush of emotions and pride… you just grew and birthed (in whichever way you did) a small human being. Go you! Own it!
But, while trapped in a chair under said small human, (in fear of waking them up if you were to even clear your throat!), you can’t help but wonder why your amazing body didn’t also develop the ability of telekinesis while it was doing this awe shattering feat! How amazing and useful would that be?! So here are my six phases… I guarantee you’ll laugh before the end of this article…
Curve 1. The “I Can’t Put The Baby Down Because We Are Bonding Or Cluster Feeding”.
Always keep the essentials close by, as in within an arms stretch! This goes for the TV remote, your phone, at least one snack, your phone charger or a charging device, tablet or a book, and definitely a glass of water. If you have a little one who won’t sleep very much then lifesaving materials can be what get you through those afternoons, as you cradle your small bundle who is finally napping but you dare not put them down. Instead, you settle into an afternoon of Netflix binge-watching and you have a whole packet of biscuits with your name on.
Personally, I chose to have a lunch bag size cool bag next to where I sat with my son. Inside it was snacks, a reusable bottle of water and piece of fruit. I kept a table to one side of me with the remotes and my phone on, and a box of tissues. On the other side within a stretch away was the cool bag, my tablet and a portable USB charger. Lifesavers for me on several afternoons!
Curve 2. The “Where’s The Flipping Muslin Cloth Gone!”
Buy Extra Cloths! So cloths for a newborn baby are a given but have you considered you may need to wipe all sorts of things off your baby and multiple times in one day. I couldn’t believe how many cloths I went through each day at first. The tip for this is to keep a folded clean pile of muslins somewhere in every main room of your home. Also, another tip is to buy similar colours of cloth so that you can just throw them all in the wash together. Because Muslin cloths are thin they don’t take a lot to wash and also dry, but you won’t want to wait a few hours when you’re down to your last one and baby is due for a feed…
Curve 3. The “What Time Is It? Oh My, I Forgot To Stop For Lunch, Again” Learning to feed yourself and the baby.
Nobody tells you how fast the time goes. This isn’t a lie, time actually goes faster and you will forget what time of day it is and then realise you haven’t had a drink for hours! Let alone a hot meal… Make sure you always get nourished every time you journey into the kitchen, keep snacks and fruit handy, things that you can eat one-handed, and keep a reusable water bottle by your favourite seat. Keeping hydrated is the most important thing especially if you’re breastfeeding and also recovering from birth too. I went by the motto of this; if your baby is having something to drink then you should be too!
Curve 4. The “I’m Too Tired To Cook Tonight, Let’s Open Up The Fast Food App”.
Every parent will admit to ordering fast food in those first few weeks with a newborn baby. But if you can organise yourselves in the weeks running up to their arrival, you’ll feel better for it, both stomach and bank balance!
The answer is this, Bulk Cook your favourite Foods! Keep some of those previous takeaway Tupperware tubs; check how many you can stack in a drawer in your freezer. Then batch cook of a few of your favourite dishes using fresh ingredients. Then you can freeze them in tubs and in portions. Throw in Veg too if you like, at least then you’re getting healthy food inside you. Chicken Curry with added Veg or even the meaty element of a Spaghetti Bolognese (made with a few Veg to bulk it out) is both easy to reheat and to add to.
If you aren’t a cook then keep in a few healthy ready meals for that first couple of days, then really make an effort to eat good choices. Pasta bake with fresh veg thrown into the oven cooks in no time; you can even get the sauces that don’t require you to cook any of the pasta beforehand, easy peasy!
Curve 5. “I Managed To Put The Baby Down, Shall I Pop On That New Series On Netflix Or Go To Sleep?”
It’s really tough when Social Media blows up with the latest amazing new thing to hit Netflix, this could be a movie or a series. However, you’re surviving on maybe 4 hours of sleep and only scrolling on your phone in order to stay awake during the 5 am feed… But there will come a day when things get easier, your baby won’t need feeding every two hours forever. And then you’ll sleep a little more… (Does 6 hours or less sound good to you?). Plus you’ll get used to the lack of sleep and you will gradually be able to do more, like managing to watch half an episode of something… once a week… then forget what happened and watch it again… and so it goes on…
Or this, one of you pops on that movie you’ve missed at the cinema and it’s finally come around to being on-demand, and then one of you falls asleep before the plot has even got going! This is the new normal, embrace it, laugh about it, perhaps start movies at tea time and pause them when you get tired. Thank goodness for pause buttons and on-demand services, am I right?!
Curve 6. “We haven’t had any 'us' time for a long time…”
This next and final curve is a more serious one and more to do with you as a new parent, it’s brand new, it’s exhilarating and exhausting but remember that you have become two different people. You are still you, just you plus a little one! And you are both a part of them. What time you spend together as a family and as an individual couple is still important. You might not get a date night in weeks, if not months after the baby is born. But if you have the support of family and you trust them, then there will come a time where you can leave your baby with that person and get back to being you “both” again.
People don’t tell you how hard it is, not being able to go out just the pair of you, you won’t get to watch television or a film without interruption or pausing it every now and then. This is the new normal and it’s okay to find it a difficult transition. Especially if you’re used to a privileged lifestyle, as in if you were used to going out for a meal once a week or popping off to the cinema at an hour’s notice…
Things will be different now and you need to embrace them, but support one another in what hobbies you want to pursue, be that together or alone. You both deserve some you time. My tip to get through this phase is this, plan, plan and plan some more. Make timetables and plan ahead with a monthly calendar and try your best to stick to it. Change the usual cinema outings to a Netflix movie and a meal at home, with a big bag of popcorn and sweets from the supermarket as a great and cheaper alternative to the cinema treats… You can take it in turns to cook or treat yourselves to a take away if you like; just make sure you find time to be yourselves amongst those precious family moments.