How to Survive the First Three Months With a Newborn
You’ve just spent nine months growing and carrying a human being, survived childbirth and now have a precious newborn depending on you 24/7. Phew! Congratulations on making it this far Mama.
What next? Read our essential guide to surviving the first few months – from those who have been there.
Nourish Your Body
While you are recovering, sleep-deprived and potentially breastfeeding, your body will have extra nutrient and energy demands placed upon it. Now’s the time to nourish yourself with the good stuff.
Vege soup, chicken soup, casserole, lasagne, fruit, yoghurt, nuts, lactation cookies, smoothies and herbal teas are all good ideas. If you are breastfeeding, up your water intake – you’ll be extra thirsty. Your health is just as important as your newborn’s –look after it and both your body AND soul will thank you for it.
Talk to Others
Talk to those close to you about what you are going through – your partner, mum, close family members, friends and/or those in the same boat. You’ll be amazed at how talking can often make you feel better.
Other mums with babies can be a great source of support and will be interested in talking to you about the same things – from how many nappies a day your newborn goes through, to how spilly they are. If you are not already part of a coffee group, your local Plunket will have one you can join, or check out your Neighbourly app. Even if you would normally have zero in common with these women, you will now – and might even surprise yourself by finding a lifelong new friend in the process. If anything, you will have a reason to get out of the house once a week.
Get Sleep (or Rest) When You Can
With sleep not so abundant as it once was, you’re probably feeling zapped for energy. Sleep while your newborn sleeps. Get your partner or friend/family member to look after baby for an hour so you can catch some z’s. Book a postnatal massage at Bella Mama Pregnancy and Postnatal Spa and have a rejuvenating nap afterwards in their cosy nap room.
Sleep deprivation is not nice, and can feel like it will never end. It WILL get better eventually we promise. And if you need to stay in your pyjamas until 5pm some days, that is totally acceptable.
Help is Good
The saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is truth. Accepting help and asking for help when you have a newborn is wise. Don’t feel guilty if someone offers to do your vacuuming, cook dinner, look after older children or do your supermarket shopping for you.
And, while we’re talking housework – it is totally ok to let your standards slip while you have a newborn. Side note two: online supermarket shopping can be super helpful if this is something available to you.
Use the Resources Around You
If you have a question or concern about your baby, breastfeeding, or your own mental/physical health, there are plenty of super helpful resources out there designed especially to help you during this unique period of your life:
– Your midwife/obstetrician
– 24/7 Plunket Line (parenting advice from Plunket nurses): 0800 933 922
– 24/7 Healthline (health advice from health professionals): 0800 611 116
– Your GP (visits for babies are free)
– Read these amazing books for new mums “The First Forty Days”, “Dear Mummy, You’re Important Too”, “The Golden Month”
Self-care can do wonders for the soul. Have a candle lit bubble bath, indulge in some dark chocolate. Take a walk or catch some Netflix. If you have a partner, ask them for a massage or better yet – have a relaxing, blissful postnatal massage at Bella Mama’s. The benefits of compassionate, nurturing touch with a massage therapist trained in postnatal massage are endless. You can even have a therapist come to you at home.
If you are finding taking care of a newborn joyous but tough (life-changing!) work, you are completely normal and you definitely deserve that treat!
Remember the Phrase “This Too Will Pass”
You might be concerned about an issue with your newborn and think it’ll ever end. But trust me, it will – and you will be on to the next issue before you know it. You may find yourself googling everything under the sun, and end up more confused than ever. Trust your gut! There is no right or wrong way to parent. Don’t compare yourself to other babies or other mums. What works for someone else’s baby might not work for yours and vice versa. Try things out until you find what works for you and your newborn baby.
Many newborns find comfort in sleeping to white noise – they say the sound is similar to what they hear in the womb. Get a speaker/iPad/old mobile phone and play white noise through YouTube or a music app. There are also numerous white noise machines on the market.
Savour Every Moment
The days may be long but the months and years FLY by. Take photos of your newborn and you. Soak up those cuddles, soak up those smells and sounds. Enjoy the heart-melting moments and the beautiful journey of motherhood you have just embarked on. You are doing the most rewarding, toughest and important job out there. Be kind on yourself, you are doing amazing!
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