I’m delighted to announce that our beautiful baby girl, Ellen, arrived into the world 10 weeks ago and has completely captured our hearts. We have already forgotten what life was like before her! She is growing so fast and her little feisty personality is already emerging. I remember saying to my hubby during her first week that I didn’t want her to grow up, as we marvelled at her tiny fingers, tiny toes and little rosebud mouth. But every day she amazes us with another little milestone, and we can’t believe how fast she is growing. As I type, she is lying on her activity mat kicking her legs like mad and singing away in her own little language. She’s full of smiles and so cute when she tries to talk to us. I could spend all day chatting to her and watching her little expressions – and sometimes do!
She was a full two weeks overdue, so I had plenty of time to read up on what to expect before she arrived. It definitely helped to have some idea of what to expect but it has still been a steep learning curve and every day is different! So I wanted to share a few tips that I found really helpful. Without these I might not have made it through these last 10 weeks with my sanity intact!
Accept all help offered – bringing a new baby home from the hospital is overwhelming so accept help from family and friends. My mum came to stay with us for the first two weeks and I am so grateful to her for that. She still comes to stay most weeks and it’s brilliant to be able to get things done when she’s here!
Fill the freezer – I spent a day batch cooking at the start of my maternity leave (www.first1000days.ie/let-the-batch-cooking-begin/) and it was time well spent! Some days you will barely have time to make a piece of toast so having the freezer stocked is very handy and will help to ensure sure you are getting the nutrients you need if you are breastfeeding, as well as helping your body recover from pregnancy and labour.
Sleep when baby sleeps – I had received this advice from a lot of people before Ellen was born but didn’t realise how important it was until she arrived. As a self-confessed neat freak, I was sceptical that I wouldn’t spend her nap times cleaning and doing washing, but I soon realised that sleep means survival. So the laundry and cleaning took a back seat, and we are no worse off because of it!
Stock up on essentials for baby – babygros, vests, cotton wool, barrier cream and nappies are the very basic items you will need initially. Get the changing station stocked up before you go into hospital, and wash the tiny clothes in non-bio detergent. You’ll need a good few babygros and vests as you may end up changing them several times a day. But that’s really all they need in the first few weeks. It doesn’t seem fair to dress them up in little outfits when they are so tiny, and babygros are just so cute and comfy.
Get your partner involved from the start – they can start changing nappies in the hospital and continue when you get home! This will help them to bond with baby if you are breastfeeding. Also make them have skin-to-skin contact with baby when you get home for the first couple of weeks. And be prepared for this to completely melt your heart!
Take photos and videos! Not a day has gone by that I haven’t taken several photos and videos of Ellen. It’s lovely to look back on them already and see how much she is growing. Plus I can send them to my siblings who live abroad. It’s so easy these days with smartphones – just make sure you back up your photos and videos!