5 things I wish I knew in the first few weeks after having a baby
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
For those of you who have had a baby, you will most likely agree parenthood is one of the greatest privileges in the world. The sleepless nights are incomparable to the feelings of joy you gain spending time with your baby.
Before your new born arrives you may have organised a baby shower or informal meet up with friends and family. No doubt, some well wishers will want to give you advice prior to your baby's arrival.
Personally , the advice I received overall was very helpful. However, there are some advice I will not be taking on board when baby
number 2 arrives. This is due to having more experience and realising that not all the experience provided necessarily worked for me. Below, I have summarised 5 steps I wish I was privy to in the first few weeks of giving birth to my daughter. Hopefully this summary will provide new mums and dads with more time and money.
1. You do not need to purchase all the items on the “essential to buy list” found on search engine websites.
As first time parents we had no clue what was required for our daughter. Apart from the obvious items like nappies and baby grows , we were unsure of what else was essential. We looked through search engines and found a few articles with lists of essential buys for newborn babies. Although we budgeted our expenditure, our overall savings was not enough for the total recommended items required for our baby. Let's take for example the Sangenic nappy disposal bin. People claim these units are designed to lock in odours, ensuring your home remains fresh. We went for a more cost effective option, using nappy sack bags, which worked equally as well. We tend to take our bins out everyday so our home still smelt fresh.
Another item on the essential list was a baby monitor. Baby monitors are helpful, an extra pair of eyes watching as your baby slumbers. My husband and I made a decision not to purchase this item. We just crossed over to our daughter's room whenever we wanted to check on her, as our apartment was relatively small. Now don't get me wrong, I still acknowledge the benefits of these items, nonetheless by adopting more cost effective strategies we saved over £200. This money was helpful in buying other items on our list.
2. “Whenever you get a chance to sleep take it. Sleep when your baby sleeps”.
As lovely as this sounded , how could I sleep when there were well wishing visitors always in our home? I remember sitting down with our friends who came to visit and thinking about how tired I was or the number of house chores we still needed to complete.
Coincidently, as our friends left our daughter would wake up wanting to be fed and changed. I now give our mums and dad friends with a newborn a few weeks of settling into a routine and catching up on sleep before visiting. The truth is, you can always have cuddles with the baby when the parents are in a better head space to have people around.
3. Cook and freeze meals before your baby arrives.
We cooked some meals before our daughter arrived and they really came in handy. In hindsight, I wish we had cooked even more meals, because honestly if you’re anything like us, we wanted to avoid cooking for months . We were fortunate to have friends and family cooking meals for us for some time. Except, there is only so much one can do due to the nature busy schedules.
A tray of pasta bake or chicken stew would be a welcomed treat and save you time when you’re hungry and the fridge is empty.
4. Ask for help and accept it.
No person is an island. As much as you would like to think you are superwoman, you can’t do everything by yourself. As a first time mum, I wanted to provide for our daughters every need. Yet, we had trusted friends and family who wanted to help. If your family and friends want to help, let them ! It’s their pleasure to help and you will have more time to do things like catch up on sleep , date night or chill with friends in a different environment.
5. Babies can be poorly at times, it’s fine, they will get better.
I remember when my daughter had colic, her skin was shedding , when she had a stuffy nose and swellings post injections. Each time my daughter was poorly, I remember wishing the pain could transfer over to me. However, later you realise all babies are poorly at times , it’s just for a season and is part of their development. When I shifted my focus from worrying, I was able to help soothe my daughter when she was in pain and pray for the season to pass quickly.
Parenthood is a lifelong journey of highs and hopefully not too many lows. My biggest key learn so far is to enjoy the journey as it all goes by so quickly. Learn from your experiences and encourage yourself along the way, you are doing a great job!
What lessons have you learnt along the way? What advice would you give to a first time parent ?