My little girl has just turned 2 and only now can I start thinking about writing down my experiences over the last two years! Going back to the start and cringing at how I survived with a newborn, I thought it might be a good idea to share what to expect in those first few weeks of being called mummy, and how to make life a little easier on yourselves. Not that anyone can ever really prepare you…
Obviously, every baby is different, but after having my own experiences and hearing those of people around me, there are definitely some common things to expect in the first couple of weeks with a newborn:
It’s mega crazy and you will cry! But that’s ok…
You have gone through the pain of labour and emotional feelings of holding your baby for the first time, and then after the whirlwind of it all you come home and are expected to know what to do without any instruction book. You’ll feel ecstatic one minute and possibly a little blue the next, but your hormones are all over the place so it’s normal to feel like this. I remember sitting (very uncomfortably) on the sofa once we brought our little girl home and burst into tears. I could not tell you why all I know is that I felt so overwhelmed that I couldn’t control myself. Looking back and speaking to my friends, I now know it’s pretty common to feel like that- so don’t beat yourself up about it, just ride the emotional roller-coaster and before you know it, things will have settled down.
You WILL be exhausted.
You might have already spent the last few days in labour without sleep, and things only get worse. Your little babe is relying on you to do everything for them, and in the first few weeks they don’t know what a routine is and you will have to fit in with their needs day or night. Don’t be afraid to sleep when they sleep, after all, you need your rest too- so if the house is a mess or the washing needs doing, just leave it for someone else to do. Looking back, I wish I had not put so much pressure on myself to do things when my baby was asleep, and instead used the time for more sleepy cuddles. They really aren’t small for long so cherish every moment!
Newborns cry. A lot.
These lush little beings only have one way to communicate. And that’s a high-pitched cry. Whether they are hungry, wet, hot, cold, windy or a million other things, they will let you know by crying. It can get quite a bit crazy at times to try and find out what the problem is whilst trying to console a screaming baby, but you will get there- and as a super mummy, you will also learn to differentiate between cries and discover exactly what your little one wants. I remember always wishing my little girl could tell me what she wanted rather than screaming her head off, but now at 2 all she tells me is “ketchup mummy”- so I think I’d prefer to go back to the newborn stage!
Loads of Nappies.
Your newborn won’t need much at all, but do make sure you stock up on LOADS of nappies! New babies poo about 4 times a day in the first week so make sure you’re prepared. Also, whether you decide to use cotton wool and water or water/wipes it might be best to get some supplies in before your baby arrives. The NHS has got a really comprehensive guide to everything nappy related from how to change a nappy to what colour your baby’s poo should be- it was a lifesaver for me when my girl was born.
Your body is still recovering.
I know everything is all about the baby now, but don’t forget the trauma your body has just sustained. Whatever way your baby was delivered, I’m sure you will still be in pain and need to look after yourself. I suffered a 4th-degree tear (not very glamorous I know), but I couldn’t sit down properly or have a bath for a few weeks whilst I was healing, but no-one tells you about this sort of thing. Again, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to do things and give your body a chance to recover. After all, a happy mummy means a happy baby.
Oh and something else no-one tells you about is your bump. It takes a while after you have given birth (around 6-10 weeks) for your uterus to contract and to start to shrink back to its normal size. So, prepare to wear your maternity clothes for longer than you thought!
Whether bottle or breastfeeding, your baby’s tummy is tiny and will want to be fed little and often through the day and night. After each feed, your babe will need to be winded and will often bring some milk back up. So, make sure you have got lots of cloths/muslins at the ready!
Everyone wants to see you.
You are surrounded by friends and family that all want to see you and meet the new addition- there is plenty of time for this. Whether you decide not to have anyone over in the first few weeks or whether you are happy to have visitors straight away, it’s your choice and you mustn’t feel pressured if you don’t feel ready. This is a crazy time and you need to feel happy and comfortable with your newborn first. Oh, and make sure they bring over the tea and biscuits!
Getting out of the house might be tricky.
The first couple of weeks will fly by and you won’t know (or care) what day of the week it is. This may mean you’ve spent the whole time in your PJ’s looking after your newborn. That is fine. They do say it is good to get out of the house and have a walk around the park to get some fresh air, so if you can do that then great, but don’t stress if you are still finding your feet and wondering how you will ever leave the house again- it will happen, it will just take a little time. Also, it depends on what time of year your baby is born. My little one was a November baby so I was reluctant to take her out into the wet and cold. So, I spent more time inside having cuddles and watching boxsets which was what I wanted to do.
Hopefully, that will give you a little insight into some things you might face in the first few weeks of having a newborn. Yes, it is scary, and definitely not glamorous, but is one of the most special and rewarding times you will experience in your lifetime.
We have also put together a guide to surviving the first few weeks with a newborn which is definitely worth a read.