These are five things that I think really helped me to survive those first few weeks when your world has totally changed overnight by a tiny human that relies on you now more than ever. Your days feel like they merge into one with the nights and you’re running on Mum power because it sure isn’t sleep.
1. Let people help
Let people visit when you’re ready and when they do don’t be afraid to get them to put the kettle on and make you a drink whilst they are doing theirs. I am such a hypocrite in saying let people help because even now I am Miss independent and always try and take on the world on my own but I am learning to ask for help. It is ok to say. I was so worried people wouldn’t think I could cope but that isn’t the case. People either love feeling helpful or are thrilled to hold your new addition whilst you do the washing or grab a shower. Mum’s are great at this and husbands too of course. Jack took over all the duties in the house for the first 2 weeks whilst he was off and our mum’s were both around to cook for us, put a wash on, whatever we asked really to help ease the transition. I owe my sanity to those three. My best friend was also a gem baking me another batch of her shortbread, this time stars which I didn’t have them long enough to take a picture. My excuse… breastfeeding. Am I sorry? not one bit. They were delicious.
2. Stock your freezer
Before Elliott arrived one of the most useful things I did was to spend a day cooking (mainly watching my mum cook if I’m honest) lots of meals to pack my freezer with delicious, healthy meals. I mainly saved them for when Jack went back to work and it took pressure off in the day as all I had to do was to prepare the steamer. Even then I cheated by cutting up all of my veg and putting it into tubs following a shop to make it easier for myself on a day to day basis. I used Joe Wicks’s Lean in 15 recipes. I plan on doing this again too as it was so easy and helpful after the initial work.
3. Take 5
For me this was a quick bath in an evening. Whilst I fed Elliott after tea, Jack ran me a bath with witch hazel or lavender oil to help me heel and then I put Elliott down for a sleep and hoped in. It was just a few moments to relax and reflect on my day but for me it really helped.
At some point in my day I made sure I found one nap time where I joined Elliott for an hour. It was so beneficial for me to just get that little boost when we were on that 1 ½- 2 hour nap schedule in the beginning. Following food in the evening I also got in some shut eye. It’s amazing how new mums survive on such little broken sleep, again it’s back to the Mum power.
5. Get out
I had a baptism of fire on day 1 at home with the midwife not being able to make it out to me due to short staffing so asked if I could go to them. It took an hour to leave as we (I) was so worried I’d not got everything but looking back it gave me confidence to go out again and so each day we left the house for a small trip. Day 1 of jack going back to work I braved the independent house departure to meet a friend for coffee. Each time I left I learnt and adapted the contents of my bag and grew in confidence to go out again.
I’d love to hear your tips for surviving those first few weeks or what still help you now.