Congratulations! You have a new baby on the way! How exciting! You are probably also thinking “How on Earth am I supposed to do this?” Right?
Well, here’s the thing, there are many, many women who have done this before, so you can too!
We’ve put together a list of a few tips which MIGHT help – before your baby arrives, during labour and for those first few weeks. Remember, what works for someone else may not work for you. So DO YOU!
Before Baby Arrives
- Ensure that your toddler is part of the excitement of your pregnancy – but don’t tell them too early. 9 months is an incredibly long time for them, and they may even start to think that the baby is never coming. But do get them involved when you start to show or feel baby move – and speak about the baby often. Showing them photos of themselves as a baby may help this too.
- Start planning for the labour and ensure that your toddler is comfortable with the people who will be assisting with their childcare. The last thing you need is worrying about your toddler when you head out the door.
- If they are already in a nursery or other childcare setting, try to retain their routine and keep them there for at the least the first few weeks after baby comes home.
- Encourage the toddler’s independence. Ensure that they can do as much as possible for themselves, and are also ready to help you when the baby arrives. Ask them to pass you those hard-to-reach things you drop on the floor! Praise them for how helpful they are! When the baby arrives they’ll be happy to bring you the muslin, or dummy, or a snack for themselves.
- Stick to your toddlers routine – in a changing environment, the stability they have in their own routine will provide them with much needed comfort.
- Cook as much as you can – for yourself and partner, as well as for your toddler. Anything that can be frozen in appropriate portion sizes will definitely help when baby arrives.
- Prepare many little Busy Bags for your toddler. This will really come in handy when you are needing to feed / change the baby, and work a treat to distract your toddler when you’re out and about too. Change up the contents too!
- Create a toddler area which is safe for them to entertain themselves for a little while – activities which they can distract them in times of free play.
- Most importantly: Treasure the time you have with your toddler – as soon as you bring that baby home, that toddler isn’t your baby anymore, and they will feel even more grown up than before.
Labour and bringing baby home:
- Take a bit of extra time at the hospital while you can. Your toddler is fine with their childcare at that point, so take a few extra hours to rest with only your baby.
- Buy a present for your toddler from the baby. They’ll love the surprise. Coupled with this, if you receive many gifts for the baby – get your toddler involved in opening the exciting ones, or only open the others when your toddler isn’t around.
First few weeks:
- Eat well and rest – it’s got to be about you. If you are eating well, drinking enough water and getting enough rest, you are more likely to take the little problems in your stride.
- Be careful when lifting toddler while you are recovering. They are much heavier than you think and especially for your pelvic floor or C-Section wound – be sure to not over do it with your toddler.
- Reject any and all unwanted visitors! There is plenty of time for them to have their baby cuddles when you’re in the swing of things. Do not feel guilty for protecting yourself from overwhelm.
- Forget about a routine for the baby – focus on your toddler’s routine and give them as much time as possible. Your baby will soon fit into the way things work, and will inevitably be more patient than your toddler.
- Shop online! Don’t be pressured into having to go to the shops for items. Order online and save yourself the headache!
- Lower your standards – no one cares when last you polished the wooden trinkets on the shelf. Spray some furniture polish around when people come over, or ask your toddler to help clean, and who cares if it’s perfect. If you can, try book a cleaner in. Even a once off decent clean will bring you some peace.
- Wear your baby. There are some amazing slings on the market. Baby will love being in a sling and being close to you, and you’ll have both arms free to manage your active toddler too.
- It often helps to wake up in the morning before your toddler wakes – just to have that shower without one of the interruptions!
- As soon as you can try get out the house once a day for a little walk. It doesn’t have to be much, but it’s amazing what some fresh air does for your brain, and the baby and your toddler will feel the relaxed vibe.
- Keep a log of your baby’s feeds, changes and naps. It’s surprisingly easy to forget these things when your toddler is begging for another round of catch…
- Plan what you can: Time with your partner – book that time out, or the lie in for yourself. Book a morning where he takes the toddler out for some special time for them. Plan some duties for him to do, even if he washes the darks with the whites…
- Sing. Sing to the baby, sing to your toddler, sing to yourself. It’s amazing how singing (no matter how awful!) can reduce your stress levels. It takes the pressure off, and your toddler is likely to be a bit more amenable after singing some of their songs too! Add some humour to your days.
- Co-ordinate naps when possible, and when it happens, no matter how rarely – SLEEP! No excuses, no supermum-mode, no guilt. Sleep when they are both asleep! Post Natal Depression rears it’s ugly head at any sign of sleep deprivation. So SLEEP!
- Bath time logistics: Feed baby first, then bath with toddler, then feed the other side while toddler plays. Or feed baby while toddler plays in the bath, get toddler out, then feed baby while reading stories. Or feed baby and settle to sleep, then do bath time as special time with your toddler. Ultimately – do what works for you. If changing bath time to the morning suits you best – DO IT!
A few final tips:
- Stop telling yourself it’s so hard. It’s a phase, it will end, and when it ends you’ll miss it.
- Chill out – you’ve got this. You’ve done it all before, now just do it again. As long as you’re all alive, with a little song and a cuddle here and there, you’re doing well.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. No matter when your friend’s baby starts sleeping through, don’t compare yourself to them. Do what’s best for your family. What works for someone else may not work for you, and that’s perfectly fine.
- Know when to ask for help. Lean on experts. Don’t try to do it all yourself. There are friends, family, and experts who are available throughout to assist you. Doula’s, Lactation Consultants, Midwives, Health Visitors, Maternity Nurses, Sleep Trainers, Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Night Nannies, Babysitters, GP’s, and so many more. ASK for help when you need it. You’ll be stronger for it.
Enjoy this incredibly special time, it’s a time you’ll never forget.
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It’s something we all wonder, how on earth do we get great pictures of our children, especially when you have more than one!
Our photographer Claire shares 5 top tips with us this evening. Let us know how you find these tips and if you manage to get a great photo, we would love to know!
A few important rules to teach your daughters ❤️❤️
1. It’s OK to cry when you’re hurt.
But, wash your face, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
2. You are a woman, you do NOT need a man, but you can absolutely enjoy your life with a good one.
3. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.
4. Never walk through an alley alone.
5. ‘Can’t’ – is a cop-out.
6. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
7. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
8. Stay true to yourself always.
9. Your body, your rules.
10. If you have an opinion, you’d better know why.
11. Practice your passions.
12. Ask for what you want. The worst thing they can say is no.
13. Wish on stars, and then get to work to make them happen.
14. Stay as sweet as you are.
15. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
16. Reserve “I’m sorry” for when you truly are!
17. Question everything … except your own intuition.
18. You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does….walk away. You deserve better.
19. No matter where you are, you can always come home.
20. Be happy and remember your roots.
21. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
22. Be kind; treat others how you would like them to treat you.
23. If in doubt, remember whose daughter you are and straighten your crown. ?
Self-care, it’s one of those things we can often put at the bottom of our
Of course we’re not suggesting you neglect your little one/s for the sake of getting your nails done, but we do think your child/ren benefit from witnessing your own self care as much, if not more than you do. Here’s our thinking…..
- Your daughter sees you caring for yourself and learns that she is important and she must look after herself too.
- Your son sees you keep fit, attend to your hobbies and get out with your friends and learns that his partner has the right to do these things too – he is a better partner for it and will have happier relationships.
- All your children see you take time out for yourself, they learn that you respect yourself and they will respect you too.
- You take out time to look after your fitness , then to your children, keeping fit and looking after your health is a normal thing for adults to do – in turn they look after themselves and it is a life long habit.
- You get some time out to do something you love or see a friend you value and you are a happier Mummy – your child wants this more than anything else in the world, the consequence it, they are happier too.
- Your partner sees you valuing yourself and he/she is more likely to value you also – you have a better relationship and your children feel more secure and enjoy a more harmonious home.
These are the reasons we feel you need to give yourself time to keep fit, see your friends and keep up with a hobby – it’s not just for your sake, it’s a really important part of their happiness and learning too.