We all get told that being a mother is one of life's greatest blessings. However, those first few days and weeks with your baby can be as terrifying as they are amazing.
Having had three babies, I have discovered that surviving this first period with a newborn all comes down to getting your mindset right. This is especially true for the first one.
Keeping in mind that each mother is different and that everyone learns through experience, I have put together a simple list of my top 4 tips for surviving this first stage, particularly if you are a first-time mom and you haven't slept in seven days.
These are very practical steps, so they are absolutely implementable.
Navy Seals go through Hell Week, you will go through something similar, so learn from their experience. Unless you want to be a zombie after a week, you need to learn the art of power napping. A 17-minute sleep will be enough to keep you going for a while. Add a few of these during your day when baby sleeps.
I struggled accepting the concept of napping, as I hadn't napped since my early Uni days. But it works.
Tip: See your day as a 24-hour day and not a 12-hour day (or however long your active day used to be). It will make you less stressed about not getting your night's sleep, as you are now above the schedule and routines of normal people.
Most notably, your husband. He'll love getting involved if he gets a specific task. If he is home, let him help bath, dress or put baby to sleep. Call in a grandparent to take your baby for a walk. They'll love an excuse to visit, again.
Tip: If you've expressed milk during the day (or made from powder), put it in a bottle in the evening for your husband to feed the baby.
Added bonus: You will be able to sleep through this entire feeding session and get even more sleep.
Danish culture (and probably many other cultures) dictates that any visitor to your home gets served all sorts of home-baking, organic teas and coffees and numerous other (gourmet) treats. STOP.
This is what the Kiwis taught me: Allow your visitors to make your tea and bring baked goodies or food for the freezer. Now sit back and feed your baby and watch your visitor dish up goodies for you. They'll feel useful in the kitchen, especially those that get uncomfortable looking at you (engorged) breast-feeding.
It's also perfectly okay to say no to visitors during the first few weeks.
Tip: Get an A4 paper out and hang it on the door saying: "We're sleeping. Please come back later" and if you're cheeky, add "and please leave your baked goodies on the front step". Your friends will be so relieved to know they're not intruding. Just remember to take the sign down again.
Every baby is different. Although advice is always good and welcome, try to keep in mind that a big part of surviving is being adaptable and learning as you go.
Most importantly, remember that these first few months pass so quickly, so this hazy period will be over before you know it (3 months is a good mark).
Tip: People say to embrace and enjoy this special beautiful time. Don't feel bad when you don't. It's only special and beautiful some of the time. The rest of the time it's just hard work.tried-and-tested newborn checklist
“The feeling of dressing your child in such an amazing fabric that you know is sustainable and temperature regulating is a delight and something I can highly recommend to others”
- Magnificent Mama, trusted Danish magazine for women
We've done the work for you and put together a list of essentials that will get you through those first weeks and months.
On top of everything else you need to think of in week 35, you need to start packing your hospital bag.
We bring you the full list of what you need to pack. All very practical.