How To Survive The First Week With Your New Born Baby?
- JWB Post
- September 2, 2015
From those sonorous midnight cries to the regular diaper-changing, from carrying a fully loaded baby-bag to feeding the baby at odd times, being a new parent is never an easy phenomenon.
Especially the first week; it is sure to try and test even the mightiest of us! But worry not, for this seven-step guide will help you through those days. And if you follow it right, you may get to witness that adorable peaceful smile on your tiny human’s face. Read on, and thank us later.
FILL THE FREEZER
Make food and freeze it. Having to forage the cupboards – or, worse, brave the supermarket – makes an already stressful situation even more so. Planning to get away with only takeaways is madness: think about what you like to eat and what has nutritional value to replenish you both. Fish pie, spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, shepherds pie, chilli con carne: it doesn’t have to be fancy, just something that would make a ready-made meal if you steamed some broccoli, opened a bag of spinach, or shoved some wraps in the oven. Sitting at a table – talking to your partner or friends, maybe with a glass of wine – is surprisingly satisfying while baby sleeps nearby, even if dinner will occasionally be Cheerios.
Accept that there will be days that you won’t go anywhere or do anything. This might be alien to you compared to your “BC” (before child) life, but try not to panic. Life will go back to normal; you’ll meet friends for brunch, even go back to work, but now is not the time. Embrace these weeks. Don’t feel you have achieved anything today? You kept another human being alive. Gold star.
DON’T HAVE VISITORS
Controversial, and of course you make the rules and can break them for whomever you wish (sister, amusing gay best friend, super-helpful parent), but in general don’t feel like you need to accept visitors. People who want to “pop in” – while the house is maybe messy, you’re knackered, and you’re trying to get a handle on being a parent – aren’t being helpful, they’re being a bit selfish because they love you and want to hold your little bundle. Firmly but pleasantly tell anyone whose visit would inspire you to tidy up or buy fresh flowers that there’s a two-week ban and you’ll see them when it’s lifted. The new dad will likely relish his role as bouncer.
NAPPIES ARE JUST TRICKY
Nappies are one of the most amusing and confusing things about the first two weeks and no amount of NCT-class practice on a doll, or even on a real baby, prepares you for the wriggling, squiggling lump whose nappy you will remove probably 20 times a day at first. Like putting up a tent, a conundrum so universally problematic that they invented pop-up tents, nappies are generally accepted to be tricky. Will you leave it on too long and forget to change it? Will you put it on too loosely and be met with the contents of the nappy inside baby’s sleepsuit? Will you put it on back to front in the middle of the night? Probably once or twice. A few accidents will improve your memory and skill, and the good news is that you’ll be almost perfect by the time they’re ready for potty training.
LEARN THE RULES OF THE PAVEMENT
Learning not only how to open and operate your baby’s pram, but also the law of the stroller jungle, is one of the most surprising and challenging parts of new parenthood. It looked pretty and practical in the store, and seems simple enough when you see people out walking with their babies, but a few hours in solo charge of one unravels a different story. Some bus drivers won’t let you get on the back, but some prams won’t fit on the front, and the pram already on there is taking up all kinds of room, what am I supposed to do? Do I need the hood, and the parasol, and the raincover, or some combination of the three? If two buggies approach one another on the pavement who has right of way? Practice opening your pram at home so you don’t have to feel foolish in front of other people, and the rest you’ll pick up after a few days on the mean streets. Just remember, all but the most aggressive alpha parents are probably just as terrified as you.
ALL THE GEAR, NO IDEA
Trying to keep the amount of “stuff” baby brings into your house to a minimum is admirable – living simply and mindfully as if reclining on a giant lily pad – but there is one area not to scrimp. Babygros or sleepsuits (the ones that cover baby’s whole body, often including the feet) and vests (the swimsuit-shaped ones with poppers between the legs) will be worn by your baby every day – all day long at the beginning. Buying seven because there’s seven days in the week will result in you spending the same amount of money on washing powder as you used to on wine, not to mention an inordinate amount of time hanging the flaming things up to dry. Buy 20, as cheaply as you can bear, and accept that even that won’t be enough.
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. No idea if you’re breastfeeding properly, or if the nappy is on, or if baby’s too hot or cold? Stay calm. The repetitive mantra of friends and baby books assuring you “you’ll know what to do” can make you feel like a failure if you don’t. Just do what you always do when you don’t know something: ask a friend, consult a book, call a helpline, or Google it. Trust your instincts as far as they take you, and then ask for help.
This article originally appeared here.