Most parents-to-be dream of holding their newborn baby and looking after them – and most new parents find themselves more exhausted than they ever thought possible! I’ve learned the hard way that, if I’m not careful, those precious early weeks fly by in a sleep-deprived blur, so this time round I’ve worked hard to make the most of the fleeting newborn stage. I’m still a little shocked that Anna is already six weeks old, but I feel like I’m enjoying every step of the way. Here’s what’s working for me:
- Let people help. I’ve been very lucky this time round – I had family helping before Anna showed up, family around for the first few days after she was born, and lots of help from friends after that. I’ve accepted every single offer of help that’s come my way – and I will be forever grateful to everyone who did help out, for making these early new-baby weeks so wonderful for me and my family.
- Scale back activities. I worked hard to simplify life before Anna showed up, and I’m looking to simplify even more. There’s no point filling days with extras when you’re too busy to enjoy the basics.
- Hold your baby. I use my Moby-style knit wrap, and a Mei Tai style carrier to carry Anna during the day when I need to get things done. I’ll switch her into the ERGO carrier when she gets older. I also try to spend at least a few minutes each day *just* holding her – without trying to do anything else.
- Go outside. This makes all the difference for me, and it’s a huge piece of my walking six-year-old Emma to school every day. It’s also the reason I’m willing to invest in high quality baby carriers and strollers – they make leaving the house much easier!
- Pay attention to nutrition. I try to keep healthy snacks on hand (fruits and veggies), since otherwise I find myself eating chocolate chips instead of lunch… I’m also a big believer in the benefits of prenatal vitamins after having a baby as well as before, and I feel like I have more energy and think more clearly on vitamins with DHA than on those without DHA.
- Get creative with colicky babies. Emma screamed for several hours each evening as a newborn. Taking her outside often helped, but it wasn’t realistic to keep her out for hours on end in the middle of a Scottish winter. We found music that also calmed her down, as did bouncing on one of those giant exercise balls!
- Remember that it goes by quickly. Make time to notice your baby laughing in their sleep, and watch them admire their hands in the sunlight.
- Remember how lucky you are. There are couples across the world who would give anything to be kept up all night by the world’s most colicky baby. If you must complain about being tired, be careful who you complain to.
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