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How To Survive The First Two Weeks With A New Baby

Everyone says the first two weeks are the hardest. They're not wrong. If you are a first time mum, it is a complete upheaval of everything you've known before. Suddenly your whole world becomes centred around another person. You are likely still sore from giving birth. And your hormones are going crazy. That's before we even start to mention The Dreaded Day Three when the milk comes in and you feel like your actual boobs could pop. And, if you're not a first time mum, it is likely you have another kid (or more than one - moment of silence for these absolute heroes) that needs taking care of too. It is hard. And we don't say it enough. It is really hard.

I know - I have now been through it twice. And I feel like I have picked up a few pearls of wisdom along the way. This time around has been so much easier and there were things I really wish I had been told way back when I was pregnant with Ava. So, I thought I would share them with you guys instead (since I haven't quite perfected my time travel device yet).

Pretend time doesn't exist
Time is a construct and babies just don't get it. They don't understand that 3am isn't partytime. So, one thing that I found really useful this time around was just pretending like time didn't exist too. Baby wants to be up in the middle of the night? Bring the Hobnobs, let's watch a film. Daytime is for sleeping? Hell, I'd better get a blanket then. For those first two weeks whilst you are still trying to adapt to the change that is having a new baby and get some kinda routine/sense of normalcy in place, try just to loosen up on what happens when. Granted, it is much more difficult if you have another child or other responsibilities during the day but I just watched a tonne of series on my phone through the night feeds or when Asaba just wanted to be up during the night then Isaac would let me have a bit of a lie in as Asaba would usually sleep well between about 7am and 10am.

Personally, I took this a step further and actually rearranged the sleeping situation so Isaac was in with Ava and I was sharing the bed with Asaba (in his Sleepyhead). This allowed me to put on the light and watch YouTube videos as loudly as I wanted rather than trying to quietly breastfeed by the light of my phone and just hope the baby goes back to sleep soon enough as not to disturb Isaac too much (especially when he returned to work). It gave me so much more freedom during those first two weeks and I know it is definitely not for everyone but it worked well for us.

Feel free to say no to hosting
When you have a new baby, suddenly your DMs are full of friends and extended family trying to book a slot to come and visit you. And, yes, the well-wishers can be lovely and it is nice to feel so loved but the first two weeks aren't really the right time to start playing host. First time around, I barely had time to shower as Ava was constantly trying to feed. I lived off of Pot Noodles. The place looked horrendous. And the prospect of visitors would have brought me out in cold sweats. So, only accept visitors if you are ready. You are well within your rights to ask extended family and not-so-close friends (basically anyone who you wouldn't want seeing you in baby puke stained tshirts with your hair tied back in a permanent mum bun) to wait for a few weeks until you are more settled. And make sure anyone who does visit brings you chocolates - thems the rules.

Try babywearing
One thing I wish I had done with Ava was babywearing. She was quite a clingy baby and I spent so much time just holding her - she could only sleep in my arms. Babywearing would have really helped me just to get more (read: anything) done without depriving her of the snuggles she so desperately needed.

Do what is best for you
When you have a new baby, every man and his dog will have an opinion on how you should be parenting. Everyone has a hack (seemingly, myself included) that you just have to try or some advice on how best to care for your baby. And they don't hold back from making these thoughts known. Whether it is how you feed your baby, how much your baby sleeps, or even the brand of laundry detergent you are using to wash baby's clothes, someone out there will have an opinion. Hell, I have even had someone stop me in the street, peer into my baby carrier, and literally push my boobs back to create more breathing room for the baby all whilst explaining to me (a horrified stranger) how baby can't breathe with my boobs pushed on his face like that. It is likely you will come across someone with no respect for boundaries as some point too.

My advice is: ignore them. Smile politely and just continue doing what is best for you. Be it co-sleeping, formula feeding, or letting them use a dummy. The only advice you should be taking is that of a healthcare professional.

Check in on yourself
My final tip but maybe the most important one: check in on yourself. The first few weeks can feel crazy. Your hormones are all over the place. You're still recovering from birth (both physically and mentally). And everyone keeps asking how the baby is. So, be the one to ask how you are. Check in on yourself and try, if possible, to carve out a little bit of time for yourself. Even if it is just 15 minutes a day to just breathe or scroll insta or just stand in the shower and relax for a minute. You are mum now but you are also a person whose wellbeing is very important. As the saying goes, you can't pour from an empty cup so make sure you focus on you a bit too.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you are a new parent then congrats and just know you're doing an amazing job. And for more honest parenting and an absolute bounty of cute baby pics, go check out my insta.

You may also enjoy:
I Love My Post-Partum Body But...
An Honest Chat About Breastfeeding
I'm Not A Cool Mum & That's OK
Second Time Mum Blues
Reclaiming My Identity Post-Partum
Things I Wish I'd Been Told About The Newborn Stage

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