Your First Month With a Baby

Your First Month With a Baby

Whether this is your first rodeo or you're an old hat cowboy - that first month with your new baby is going to be a shock to the system... why? Because if you've done it before and you've decided to do it again then you've almost certainly forgotten how hard it can be. If this is your first baby, then no amount of advice is going to fully prepare you for what is about to ensue. I shall however, do my best...

Sleep deprivation:

The deprivation of sleep. Lack of snoozes. Too much awake time. Absolutely bloody knackered.

ALL of the above applies and it will hit you hard. This is the most difficult part of parenting a new baby and you can't really prepare for it. You can't 'pay it forward' with sleep by having more of it before the event. You can only make up for lack of sleep afterwards. New babies are nocturnal, and they need to feed regularly both day and night. It will make your brain feel foggy, your body feel weak and is likely to affect your mental health too. Absolutely try to rest when your baby rests and seek support from your partner to help with bedtimes or getting ready in the morning if you have older children.

Lochia:

Your body will make up for the lack of periods in the last 9 months by spending the first month letting it all out. This applies even if you've had a c-section. You can't really do much about this, except buy some massive pads, big comfy underwear and eat lots of iron rich foods.

Visitors:

They will come! Or, they will want to come. Depending on how you are recovering and how intrusive this may feel, you may wish to set a time frame within which you DON'T have any visitors. Invite or accept those who will bring food/help tidy up/ know how to hold and change a baby/ wont judge. Hold off on those who are likely to expect to be waited on and may stay longer than is reasonable.

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Recovery:

Whether your birth was easy or hard, vaginal or c-section, it's really important that you rest and recover and don't overdo it - even if you feel able. After birth your body is still full of the relaxin hormone which makes your joints and ligaments loose. Your body is also adjusting after carrying a baby. You will be prone to injury and your uterus will be contracting down. Do not do any heavy lifting and try to limit bending and stretching. Definitely delegate the housework, or just leave it be.

Washing:

You're about to have A LOT more washing to contend with, especially if you use cloth nappies or reusable wipes too. Babies poop a lot, and often have nappy blow-outs where they leak. Spitting up milk means you'll get through a lot of muslin cloths too. Make sure your washing appliances are efficient and in good working order and have a clothes horse or clothes dryer ready and waiting too. Again, delegate this job to those who have not given birth.

Food:

Hopefully you will have prepared by batch cooking some meals and stocking up your freezer ready. If not, try to make sure you're snacking on healthy items to help your body heal and repair and also give you the energy you need to make milk and be up all hours with a baby. Microwave meals are totally acceptable and due to the current energy cost crisis, may actually be your cheapest option. You can poach an egg or make a healthy omelette in a microwave quickly and easily too! Smoothies are a great breakfast option and you can usually have them one handed whilst holding a baby!

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Being at home:

Get comfortable with your four walls and make sure you are surrounded by things which make you happy. Lots of new mums will be up and about quickly but plenty won't. You may be struggling to heal physically, feeling anxious about taking your baby out, or just feeling like you need to rest and recover before facing the world. All of this is okay. Prepare by having things to hand such as big bottles of water, long charger cables, books, treats and plenty of cushions.

Appointments:

Your first month with a new baby won't be without a few appointments! You'll usually be visited at home by a midwife within the first couple of days of taking your baby home. You'll have a heel prick test for your baby at day 5 which usually involves you going to see the midwife at the surgery or hospital. You'll also be contacted by your local health visitor team who will arrange to come and visit you for your first meeting.

Going it alone:

This is the scariest bit. For most families, 'paternity leave' is a standard 2 weeks and then the partner returns to work. That first day alone with your baby can feel daunting and scary - waving off your partner in the morning and closing the door knowing you're in charge of it all by yourself until they return. Try not to make big plans, lower expectations and have a chilled day without putting pressure on yourself to do too much.

Hair:

Make the most of those pregnancy locks in this first month because you're about to kiss them goodbye very soon! All the hair you didn't lose when pregnant is about to start shedding. This is total normal but also quite alarming when fistfuls come away whilst washing or brushing your hair!

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