Bringing up a new baby can be a shock to the system that might cause both your mind and body a major meltdown. Here, Gemma Harrison offers a few tips to help you cope.
Tennis superstar Serena Williams made a bit of a racket when she reamed an umpire at the recent US Open.
At one point, she even invoked her motherhood when seeking to justify her boorish behaviour.
Of course, her on-court conduct was inexcusable. But watching the match with me was my niece, who said rather tartly: “Well, she’s a new Mum. That’s what happens.”
As a mother of two, I was often so tired I could barely stick the strap on a Pampers nappy. And as for being irritable; well, lets’ not go there.
And for some new Mums, the shock to the system of having your day, routine and life turned upside down can be an ordeal; one that you really didn’t see coming when that bundle of joy was placed in your arms for the first time.
But your baby’s first few months needn’t be a trial, despite your having to get up several times a night. Here are some tips to keep things on an even keel: the first of which is making sure your husband does his fair share of the nappy changing in the morning; and if using formula, the night feeds.
At first, babies don’t know they’re supposed to sleep at night. It takes a few months for them to realise this. Meantime, avoid the temptation to keep your baby awake because you want to put him down at night. If he’s tired, he’s tired. If you stop him from nodding off, he will simply cry and scream making you more stressed than ever. Therefore, if he’s showing signs of wanting to doze off then go with it.
Taking a nap when your baby does is always worth doing, so make sure your phone is switched off. Yes, your domestic load is a labour of love but your desire for a pristine home will have to be put on hold. Don’t worry about that pile of dirty dishes. If you need a nap, take it. If a friend or relative offers to help out with a spot of baby-minding or housework while you duck under the covers then take them up on their offer.
Yes, your body feels like it has been keel-hauled. But to look after your baby, you need to look after yourself – so stay fit and don’t skimp on nutrition. Prepare some of your favourite chicken or meat dishes in bulk. Freeze them and then defrost when you want and serve with fresh fruit and vegetables. If you can find room in the house, try some gentle fitness exercises or a little yoga or tai chi.
Even getting just one job done can feel like a Herculean task. The load on your mind can become a bit much to take, at times. But if you can find some me-time then make the most of it. It could be flopping down in front of the TV with your husband with a boxed set or wallowing in the bath. Yes, the mother-in-law has ‘done all this before’ but if she offers her help, then accept it graciously. And if you buy her an occasional thank-you gift, it will be worth it; trust me.