My newborn is 8 weeks old. Now that I feel like I can come out of hiding and not wear pajama pants all day (okay, just on Sundays), I can’t help but feel relieved that those initial six weeks are over. Lack of sleep, making sure baby is fed, clean, secure, and sleeping, not to mention helping the other kids in the house, is a lot of work! I’m not going to lie; those six weeks were rough!
These 8 things really helped me get through those first 6 weeks:
If someone asks if they can do something for YOU when baby is home, say YES. It is just naturally difficult for me to say yes to help, but this time around I let myself have help, and it was a great thing. I said yes to dinners bringing brought into our house; I said yes to my mom and mother-in-law offering to hold the baby while I slept or showered; and I said yes to friends taking my older kids on play dates. I said yes to friends dropping off lunch. I even said yes to my husband getting take-out every other night.
Let Go of Certain Things
If you’re like me, you LOVE a clean house. But, you know what? The dishes can stay in the sink, the laundry can wait to be folded, and the toys can be left out a little longer than usual. Dusting, mopping, scrubbing the bathroom, vacuuming- although nice to get done, it is okay to get to these tasks later! Truly. These things can wait, and you can let go of the idea that your house HAS to always be clean.
Speaking of dishes, buy paper products to get you through those first few weeks. Paper plates and bowls will help you not have a sink full of dirty dishes. Don’t worry- you’ll be able to get your dishes back out soon enough, but it is SO nice to not deal with dirty dishes and just focus on making sure you get a meal in between feeding and taking care of baby.
For me, my guilty pleasure is a good television series or a good book. I finally was able to catch up on television shows on my DVR and find a good television series on Netflix. While feeding baby, I would watch these shows to get me through those late hours with baby.
Something to Look Forward To
Those first six weeks you’ll probably just be able to take it day by day, but it will do yourself good to have something to look forward to. Whether that is a family dinner that gets you out of the house, a date night, or even take-out and a movie that you’ve wanted to watch, just plan something!
You always hear the advice “sleep when baby sleeps!” For some, this is unrealistic and difficult to do, especially when you have other kids at home. But, if dad is home from work, go rest. If your kids are on a play date, go rest. If your kids want to watch a movie in the middle of the day, close your eyes and rest. Take advantage of any down time there is in the day to rest.
Let Go of the Mom Guilt
After my husband went back to work, I was texting my sisters: “My kids have watched so much tv today! I feel so bad!” But, looking back on it, it wasn’t the end of the world if they got to watch their favorite shows, while I was working on latching while breastfeeding the new baby. I know that I won’t be dependent on television forever, and right now, it is a helpful resource, so I am going to try and get rid of that nagging mom guilt. I know that I will play, read books, play outside, and take them to the library, just as soon as I’m ready. You will too.
Know It Will Get Easier
Know that your days will not always be so exhausting and that you will be able to catch-up on sleep. For now, enjoy that little baby as much as you can.