A field guide to new borns for newbie parents

Some friends of ours just had a baby so I was mulling over what advice to pass on – as we have now been parents for a whole month! Here are my top five tips:

1. Be nice, and remember to eat

A kind word here and there you’ll make your partner feel like a million dollars (even when she is bent double like a safety pin from the c-section). Alex took the lead during the first two weeks as I was recovering from the surgery, and as I slowly built up strength it was his words of encouragement that I was “Doing really well” that helped build my confidence. You might both be winging it but being nice to each other makes everything better.

It’s also really important to eat. You are working 24/7 so you need the calories to sustain you otherwise you’ll be no use to your new born. Everyone says “Sleep when they sleep” (HA!) but I say “Eat when they sleep”, and keep snacks and water dotted about in case you get hemmed in somewhere.

2. Anything goes during the first few days, weeks & even months

Be prepared to (temporarily) throw out your preconceived notions of parenting, and embrace anything that makes your lives easier. We did things in the first week that I never thought we would: co-slept for four nights (then transitioned the girls to their crib), fully embraced formula and plastic bottles with disposable liners, bought a truck load of pacifiers and Pampers. Now that we are a month in we are using regular bottles (the nipple of the glass bottles didn’t agree with the girls), and are slowly transitioning to cloth diapers but we also are bathing the girls in the kitchen sink (and not that often – once a week if that) and enjoying the “freedom” of being able to pop the girls in their bouncer seat and swing (beats being pinned to the couch with the girls on cushions).

3. Newbie parents get a pass on recycling

Given that you’ve already added a baby or two to the global population explosion don’t worry about being green whilst you are trying to get over being green parents. Remember that wipes are your friend. Be they for your baby’s bottom or cleaning your kitchen. Things will slowly return to a 2.0 version of normal I promise. Just don’t beat yourself up if you are tossing all those Red Bull cans straight in the trash.

4. Fresh air is your friend

As soon as you feel comfortable taking your baby out do so. The fresh air and exercise is just as good for you as it is for your wee one. Within a day of coming home from hospital we went on a little jaunt up the block to Starbucks, then a few days later out to a cafe for lunch and then a week on we were at the park so Alex could play tennis (we even ended up changing the girls diapers on a park bench and feeding them al fresco). Even though I was still randomly bursting into tears it was good to get out of the flat. Saved our sanity and stopped us from climbing the walls.

5. Do not Google ‘flabby stomach skin postpartum’

You will not be wearing your skinny jeans home for the hospital, and it is going to take time for your uterus (along with everything else) to return to normal. Your body was not designed to snap back into pre-pregnancy shape overnight despite the celebrity propaganda to the contrary. So, in the meantime embrace your “mummy tummy”, and remember that you are not fat but recovering from pregnancy.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dodging Acorns
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 19:54:47

    I couldn’t have written it better and I’ve been at it for 3+ years 😉

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  2. Rosanne Bate
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 03:35:13

    Bless, all so true, but you can’t tell any one that till they have been there.
    For mothers of twins find a friend with one baby and have triplets between you, helps loads. My girlfriend had twin boys when Ruairidh was born , I swear they thought they were triplets for the first year or so of there lives !

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  3. cryscryss
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 06:33:09

    Absolutely fantastic advice, Leah. For instance, just this morning, I had decided to embrace having a mummy tummy, feeling that it is a pretty great badge to wear, actually. And we’re using disposable diapers until a semblance of sanity returns. ha!

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    • Leah Hung
      Dec 01, 2011 @ 20:52:40

      As much as I want to use washable diapers until we have the sleep thing sorted I just don’t have the energy. But, that being said if I get a good nights sleep then I try to use some washable diapers during the day. Baby steps.

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