As you may have read in my previous post 10 Hardest Parts of Being a First Time Mom, you now know that being one is as exhausting as it is exhilarating. But don’t lose control and freak out just yet! Because I learned a few tricks on how to get through the first few months with a newborn.
How to Survive the First 6 Months of Parenthood
1. Ask for help
The first few weeks are critical because you have just delivered the baby, so you’re probably exhausted. You’ll need to rest to regain your strength and produce milk for the baby. Call your mom, your sister, your aunt, and your mother-in-law! Heck, call your whole family if you need to, because you’ll need all the help you can get.
Also, summon your mommy girlfriends to lend you a diaper-changing-hand or some useful tips on what worked and what didn’t, based on their experience.
It’s okay to ask for help because this is our first time caring for a small human. We don’t become experts overnight!
2. Prepare for nursing
I feel a little silly for not thinking about this trick sooner. I bought a small basket and filled it with the things I need when I’m nursing – like my phone, a water bottle, something to read, a small towel (because there’s always something to wipe), and some treats. Just don’t let crumbs fall on your baby! Lol! You can add anything you think you might need, so you won’t have to move around reaching for things and end up irritating the baby.
And be sure to PEE FIRST! Can you imagine going to the bathroom with your baby latched on to you? You wouldn’t want to cut your baby’s feeding session short. Trust me, you don’t!
Almost all the moms I’ve talked to had one advice: “Sleep when you baby is sleeping!”
It really is the best advice. Don’t stress about the dirty dishes or your bushy eyebrows, beshie. You’ll have time to take care of those things when your baby develops a sleeping pattern. Right now, you need to focus on taking care of yourself, so you can take better care of your baby.
At night, you can take turns with your husband. Vauhn and I did this on weekends when he’s off from work. I’d be up with the baby all night, but I get to sleep until noon. He, on the other hand, does the morning shift.
What if the baby has trouble sleeping? Do whatever it takes! Nurse the baby to sleep, rock or dance her around until she dozes off, or let her fall asleep on your chest. We even put her in the car seat and rocked her to sleep! It’s all about survival — your survival!
4. Mimic the womb
With our daughter, the key to calming her down is swaddling. She’s most comfortable when she’s warm and snugly wrapped in a blanket (except for her arms, she wants them free and loose). I’ve read that swaddling mimics the environment in the womb where she was all cuddled up and secure, that’s why it calms her down.
5. Meal Prep
Okay, I admit it! Between me and my husband, he’s the better cook… No, let me rephrase that, he can create food perfection from scratch! He would slice, dice, and julienne whatever is in the fridge and it still turns out yummy. I, on the other hand, am the master of boiling, frying, and reheating.
On weekends, he would prepare meals good for the whole week, so I won’t stress about my lunch or merienda while he’s at the office. He’ll divide the food in portions, thus, ready to shove in the microwave to reheat. Bon appetit!
6. Heat and Massage
Blocked ducts are the worst. Couple it with engorged breasts, you have a recipe for agonizing pain! When this happens, apply heat to your breast and gently massage it. In my experience, even a warm washcloth works. You may also try filling up a disposable diaper with warm water, then put the inside of the diaper towards the breast. It will stay warm much longer than a washcloth.
Nursing frequently and emptying the affected breast thoroughly is also as important. So make sure to nurse at least every 2-3 hours.
7. Let go and let Dad
Many first time Dads are hesitant to get involved in the caring-for-baby aspect for fear of doing something wrong and provoking the Mommy-Monster! Well, it shouldn’t be like that. You should allow your husband to make mistakes without criticizing him. After all, it’s his first time to be a parent too!
In my case, I’m very happy because Vauhn is such a hands-on Dad. After my C-section, I was exhausted and in pain, so he took over – from swaddling and changing the diaper, to learning how to bathe the baby. He was on Super Daddy Mode!
8. Invest in Quality and Efficiency
If you haven’t experienced the stress of trying to figure out why your baby is crying non-stop at 3 in the morning, you’re one lucky mama! In my experience, Rigel was a gassy baby especially when we were already mixed feeding her. So, I suggest you invest on feeding bottles which are created to reduce gas on babies. You can check out my post on 5 Reasons Why I love Philips Avent Baby Feeding Bottles.
Also, invest in a sterilizer with a built-in dryer! It has seriously saved me a lot of time. Normal sterilizers just steam the bottles and when it’s done, the bottles are all wet, so you still have to transfer them to a drying rack. With a built-in dryer, you won’t have to do that because, after sterilizing, it will automatically switch to “Drying” mode. When the alarm goes off, the bottles are clean, dry, and ready to use! I got mine from Lazada. It was on sale so I got a thousand pesos worth of discount!
9. Nourish yourself
Yes, you have a newborn, but you shouldn’t neglect your health. After going through pregnancy, labor, and childbirth, you’re bound to feel all sorts of things. If you feel pain, dizziness, bleeding (more than usual), or anything out of the ordinary, consult your doctor. Also, ask about vitamins/supplements which you can take, just in case the doctor forgets.
Lastly, don’t forget to eat and drink lots of water especially when you’re breastfeeding. You wouldn’t want your milk supply to go down.
Just remember that you’re an amateur at being a mom, so, don’t be too hard on yourself. Soon enough, you’ll be rewarded with the cutest smile ever which will make your heart melt. That alone will make up for all the craziness of the past 6 months!
Have you got any useful tips on how to survive the first 6 months of parenthood? Please, please, please write it down on the comments section below. We
want NEED to know more tips!!