You’ve reached the final weeks of your pregnancy countdown and suddenly the reality of very soon having a tiny human being to look after hits… Well do not fear, I have gathered some top survival tips from new parents to make the most of those first precious weeks.
1. Outsource everything you can!
“..Laundry, cooking, shopping, cleaning…Mum’s job over the first six weeks is to rest, recover, feed (baby and self) and bond. Everything else has to be done by somebody else!”Marina
The only thing that can’t be done by anyone else is forming that special parental bond with your little one in those first precious days. Dad’s / partners this means you too! If you have offers of help from loved ones, then take them, take them all! I can guarantee they would rather feel useful than be watching you try to do everything. As Hannah, Mum of two puts it – “don’t be a martyr!”.
2. Don’t forget food (glorious food!)
“The best thing we did was batch freeze meals for those first few weeks – even better if it’s food that can be eaten with one hand!”Rick
One of my favourite survival tips from new parents! In the last weeks before your baby arrives, cook extra portions of dinner and build your own supply of frozen home-cooked ready meals. Have snacks within reach when you’re feeding baby, as it’s easy to forget that you need to eat too! And when you’re running low on supplies, remember your survival tip number 1 and send a family member or a friend on a snack-gathering mission..
3. Take ‘advice’ with a pinch of salt
Your baby is just that: yours. They will be born with their own likes and dislikes so take your time to get to know them and find out what works for you. Getting help when you need it is vital, but take any advice with a pinch of salt and trust your gut. And remember guilt is a useless emotion!
“The entire parenting journey is one of guilt – you bottle feed, you breast feed too long, you cuddle them too much, you don’t cuddle them enough. Do your thing, your journey and let others do theirs – the guilt continues on for years on almost every aspect of parenting so let it go early as possible!”Claire
4. Take time to process the birth
“Understand that childbirth can happen in many different ways and give yourself time to process your birth if it wasn’t what you had hoped for.”Abbie
It is of course a good idea to feel as prepared and informed as you can be prior to childbirth. But try to accept that your birth ‘plan’ is just that, and be prepared for a few curve balls being thrown in along the way. The most important thing is for you and baby to come out the other side safe and well, however that happens.
5. The good, the bad and the ugly
There will be good days, but there will also be the bad, and the ugly (I’m sorry to say nappy explosions are guaranteed!). When it’s a bad day, remember that it will pass. Everything is a phase with babies and they will continue to surprise you for the rest of your life! You will find your way but be patient with yourself. No parent will tell you it is easy, but for those good days it is unbelievably worth it.
“You’ll be knackered beyond knackered. My kids are 20, 11 and 8 and I’m still knackered!…Remember you are not alone, asking for help is not a failure.”Lesley
“Talk to your peers, your NCT class mates, friends, family – they’ll all have been there or are right in the thick of it with you. Share the good, the bad, the shitty, the pukey and the teary… A good day might just be being able to get a quick wash and get dressed, and that’s okay.”Annie
6. Everything else can wait
Those first days with your newborn will fly by. The most common survival tips from new parents that I’ve met? Savour every minute. Cuddle them as much as you can because everything else can wait. Limit your visitors if you’re feeling overwhelmed and have a lock-in with your brand new family unit.
“You never get this time back. Treasure it and protect it. Get lots of photos of you and baby as you’ll forget how tiny they used to be! It’s not selfish for you to get to know your little one before anyone else.”Katherine
Thinking of booking a newborn shoot but aren’t sure what to expect? You can find more information here – including the best time to book.
Scroll down for more of my newborn images, and check out this recent shoot with the gorgeous baby Marleen if you want to see more! – London Newborn Shoot
For safe sleeping tips, see The Lullaby Trust for best practice advice, and remember you’re never alone if you’re feeling stuck! Mumsnet has forums and advice for everything baby-related, and plenty more survival tips from new parents!
If you’re a new parent, I’d love to hear your own tips in the comments box below – share the love! (and the fear..)