Below is a list of things that helped me get through the first few weeks after giving birth, allowing me to heal and bond with my baby.
- Preparing the nursery before the birth. My baby wasn't going to be sleeping in the nursery at first. And I plan to keep him in the room with us while he still fits in his moses basket (he's quickly growing out of it). But having everything set up in the nursery was a real help. It meant I knew where everything was - the nappies, clothes, muslin cloths, spare bedding, towels etc... I also had a place downstairs in the living room for nappies etc... so I didn't have to go upstairs each time I needed to change the baby.
- Freezer Meals. I'd planned to make a load of pre-prepared frozen slow cooker meals with fresh ingredients that you just pop in the slow cooker, but it didn't happen. But I did make extra potions of meals when cooking our daily evening meal that I placed in the freezer. I also stocked up things like frozen breaded chicken and potato croquettes. This has been so helpful, especially to be able to eat nutritious meals when I needed it most, but didn't have the energy. Some of the meals I made were, lasagne, stew, soup, chicken pie, toad in the hole, sausage casserole, shepherds pie.
- Giving the house a thorough clean before the birth. A few weeks before I was due my mum and her husband came over to help me give the house a really good clean from top to bottom. My energy levels were dropping, so I would struggle to do this myself and I knew it would be hard to keep on top of things afterwards. This meant that once my baby came I didn't have to worry too much about cleaning the house for a while.
- Polish and disinfectant wipes. These have been so helpful for keeping on top of housework without too much effort or time. It's now nearly 3 months since my baby was born and I'm no longer in pain from the birth and my energy levels have returned. But with a baby in the house it's hard to find the time to clean. I find I have short windows of time while my baby sleeps to be able to do some cleaning. I want to do this as quickly and easily as possible and this has really helped.
- Stocking up on essentials. Some of the essentials I stocked up on were, nappies, tinned food, freezer meals, long life milk, toilet rolls, kitchen paper towel, cleaning products, my sanitary towels. This meant that we could avoid some desperate trips to the supermarket in the days and weeks after giving birth. It also helped financially when money was going to be tight.
- An understanding husband. I know it sounds a bit
My husband and our little babe
- My mum close by. Just knowing I could call my mum if I needed some extra help was a blessing on it's own. Being the oldest of 7 children, trained in childcare and having helped with my brothers kids I'd had lots of experience with babies. I didn't expect I'd need too much help when it came to me having my own baby. But add recovering from childbirth to that, having the extra help really was needed. There were a few times when I wanted to go out to the supermarket. Knowing my mum would come with me made it a lot easier. It meant I didn't need to deal with taking the car seat out (which I was yet to master at the beginning). I could push the baby in the pram while my mum pushed the trolley.
- Loose clothing. In the weeks following the birth of my baby I spent most of my time wearing leggings and loose t-shirts. Sure I could have worn PJ's all the time, but this way I was still comfortable and felt like I had made the effort to get dressed. Getting properly dressed took more energy than I had, but this I could cope with.
- Pain killers. I was sent home from hospital with pain killers, but I definitely needed more than they gave me. The pain and discomfort probably lasted around 6 - 7 weeks, so having pain killers in the house helped when the pain got too much.
- Sleeping as much as possible. This wasn't going to be
With my baby when he was around 1 month
- Dry shampoo. You soon realise when you have a baby in the house you don't get much time to yourself. Although they do sleep lots when they are very young, you can bet your bottom dollar that they'll start to cry as soon as you step into the bathroom or make yourself something to eat.
Dry shampoo has been a life saver when I've not had the time to wash my hair. It's meant I've been able to go 2 or 3 days in between washes, making shower time a lot quicker. If I managed to have a shower and get dressed before baby woke, that was a bonus. And I then had extra time for other things, like eating :)
- Sound Sleeper App. Who knew a simple app would help my baby sleep. Believe me it worked! Not every time, but it did a lot of the time. The app has various sounds that you can play for your baby, including a womb sound. Those first few weeks were a learning curve for us as parents. But our baby was dealing with a brand new environment. Every sound and movement are all new. This app really helped in those first few weeks.