12 Steps to Surviving the Newborn Stage
By GRANNY POTTS
I have recently read a blog that stated that it was quite all right to hate the newborn stage of parenting. As a grandmother and mother of three I do have an opinion about this and feel the need to sow helpful seeds to mothers who perhaps are struggling.
Hate is a very strong word.
Yes, of course nobody enjoys being woken two or three times in the night - in fact lets face it, its tortuous. Nobody would willingly change fetid nappies. No one would wish to be on constant alert with responsibility. Yes it's hard, very hard, but and it's a big but, you just have to get through it. It really all boils down to an attitude of mind and thinking positive. For every negative there is a positive:
A baby is a life changing commitment.
Everyone told you that before you got started but you really deep down thought they were all just making a big fuss and your wouldn't be drawn into their silliness - no your baby would just fit in with your lifestyle. Well now is the time to realize you are going to have to make big changes to your lifestyle. First your life is now not your own. Your baby needs you. You are everything to him. He hasn't read the books, has no knowledge of day and night and all he can do is cry the place down and expect you to second guess his needs. So here is my 12 steps to how to survive:
1. Drop your standards of domesticity
Who cares what your house should look like. Try and have a routine if you can and get help to maintain it but it is not the end of the world if he is wearing yesterday's onesie because you haven't got the laundry done.
2. Get something to do everyday
Go to some class or other, meet people. OK, your single friends without kids look decidedly bored now in your company so, go out and make new friends. Your are all in the same boat and it really is interesting to find out how they cope. If you have a time and place to be it will stop you feeling the day has been wasted.
3. Invite other mothers and babies over through the day.
Move the coffee table out of the way. Put mats down and put all the babies on the floor while you moms sit round and chat. You will find they will invite you back making the start of a beautiful friendship. You have loads to discuss, breastfeeding, doctors, websites, weaning, baby clothes, exercise classes. All topics that don't require full sentences as you are interrupted. Baby carriers and strollers are a wonderful invention so use them to their full capacity.
4. Weather permitting put your baby wrapped up in his stroller and walk.
Pick up shopping for the evening meal and work out a long circuit to include coffee on the way home. Arrange to meet your new friend.
5. Take up a new hobby
Writing a blog say - get all that frustration down on paper it does help.
6. Don't worry about your body image for the first year.
You have just had your insides pulled inside out so you should be able to give yourself a little time off before getting back into shape. Worrying about your weight just adds to the stress and you won't lose that much while you are constantly hungry while breastfeeding. Go on, reward yourself - coffee and cake. You need the energy.
7. Get some new clothes.
OK, we all know you are not going to be this size forever. Everyone puts weight on after giving birth and you have a closet full of clothes you can't get into yet. You need new clothes to cheer you up. It is important for your mental well being just as is getting your hair done.
8. Try and arrange to leave him for a couple of hours
With expressed milk in a bottle, a pacifier and a kind person. There are some out there.
9. Have a good cry if necessary.
You will feel better. No shame.
10. Try and get your partner involved
As much as you can but if he is at work you have to be fair. It all boils down to love in the end. Can you go that extra mile, think of the needs of others?
Say exactly what you want your partner to do. Don't expect him to be a mind-reader. He has not the benefit of the hormones you have so will not second guess what your baby is asking for and probably not even heard you get up through the night. Send him out with baby so you can have a lie in sometime. You won't feel so resentful.
12. Hang on in there.
The baby changes in 3 or 4 months particularly when you start weaning. Won't cry as much and when he starts to smile he will melt your heart. You have done a wonderful thing creating a new life. Keep saying that as a mantra when it gets really tough - goes along with "everyday and in every way I'm getting better and better.". Hate destroys so don't hate.
Granny Potts signing off. 'til next time.
About Granny Potts
She is a mother of three and grandmother of two from England, and lives there with her husband. A former midwife, nurse and teacher now retired. She successfully breastfed all her children who are now in turn successful mothers and citizens and for which she feels very blessed.