One question that I find myself asking 6 months after giving birth is, "will I ever sleep through the night again?"
I know the answer... NO!
Iím guessing I will never sleep properly again. Even when our babies are fully grown adults, we will still be worrying about them.
My first five days as a new mum were spent in hospital. I think I slept all of 30 minutes in total and thatís a generous guess. By the time I was discharged, I felt like I hadn't slept in months.
During pregnancy I was told to sleep as much as possible, as I wouldn't get much once the baby was born. I'd read this in magazines too. It wasn't hard to follow as I love my sleep, I just wish that I had cherished it more. You think, "oh it won't be that bad." How wrong was I...
So what can you do to make the early (zombielike) days easier?
Cook extra portions at mealtimes and freeze. You and your partner will both be too shattered to cook once you bring your new arrival home.
Create two baby change boxes; one for upstairs, and one for downstairs, and keep them stocked up. Babies are pooping machines in the early days and its one less nuisance trying to remember where you last saw the baby wipes at 3 in the morning.
Yes, it's great to decorate the nursery, but most of you won't put baby in there immediately. I had an immaculate nursery, which has now turned into piles of clean clothes that havenít quite made it into the draws, and clothes that baby has out grown.
Which leads me onto my next point...
Sorting clothes can wait. Everyone says, "sleep while baby sleep". Easier said than done when the dishes are piled up in the sink, but do try and squeeze in a cat nap or at least put your feet up Ė our bodies are still recovering after all.
It took me a while to follow my own advice here, but after putting the orange juice in the cupboard instead of the fridge for the fifth time, I knew enough was enough.
5. Share baby duties
If you're breast feeding, express and let your partner help out with feeds while you have a nap. It will help them to bond with baby also. Breastfeeding is exhausting and you really do need to eat and drink. I learnt the hard way and felt so weak, so snacking little and often eventually worked for me.
6. Take advantage of visitors
A good visitor will always offer their services so take them up on it! If not, just ask for help Ė acting like Superwoman takes its toll. Even if it's just for them to make a decent cup of tea and then hold the baby so you can remember what it tastes like hot.
I also asked for help with hanging out the laundry all the time. I didn't realise how many clothes, towels and bibs babies go through in a day. My baby suffered from reflux so muslin cloths were my best friend.
Getting a head start where you can means not needing too much brainpower to get through the early days. Next step, teething...
What helped you in the early days of being a parent? Let us know!
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.