I’ve had three children and if there’s one thing I can tell you, it sure ain’t easy – especially in those first few weeks when hormones are running high, your body has battled through birth, you haven’t slept in days and you’ve got a bundle of joy on your hands that just won’t stop crying. I’m not about to give you a list of completely unattainable targets to meet – instead here are 20 real things I found helped me, that I hope will help you too!
1. If you’re lucky, you’ll make time for a shower by 4pm. In the meantime, invest in some dry shampoo. Chemical-free, ideally.
2. Don’t feel bad about ignoring or saying no to visitor requests – stay in your bubble as long as you can.
3. The sudden drop in hormones post-baby can cause very dry skin (in addition to lots of other fun symptoms) so stock up on plenty of nice natural oils to moisturise your skin – not just baby’s. Don’t forget about taking care of yourself too.
4. Keep an ongoing list of gifts you have been given on your phone – you will never remember who gave you what when it comes time to write your thank you notes otherwise.
5. Download the headspace app and do short meditations while you breastfeed. It calms the baby too, I find.
6. Buy a nice water bottle to keep by your bed and with you at all times. Nursing is thirsty business!
7. Line up play dates (at other people’s houses) for your older kids, if you have them, so you have some scheduled distractions ready.
8. Nursing bras don’t have to be ugly. Buy one that makes you feel human and feminine every time you put it on.
9. A friend on speed dial that you can cry to when/if the blues set in at any time – with no judgement of course – will help you no end.
10. You don’t need to use any soap or shampoo on a new baby – just water – but a pure organic oil is great to apply after bath for a short massage.
11. Treat yourself to an awesome pair of stylish trainers – you’ll be walking a lot with the pram or the baby sling – so even if you’re secretly wearing your pyjamas under your coat, a cool pair of sneakers can make you feel put together.
12. Sorry to say, but you won’t be going out much in the next few months so download a few box sets that you’ve been meaning to watch.
13. Eating nutritious food is essential for new moms. Whether you are recovering from surgery, a long birth, or just exhausted from sleepless nights, feeding and emotions (that applies to every new mom), it is so important to fuel your body with fortifying foods that will give you real energy (not sugar!). Schedule in regular deliveries from Ocado if you can, ask your friends to drop off some extra food for you and be sure there is plenty of nutritious food in the freezer. If not, ask your mother-in-law to get cooking and stock it!
14. Don’t waste your money on fancy dresses or cute jeans for babies under 6 months – they live in baby grows and onesies. Make life as easy as possible for yourself.
15. Don’t wash your baby’s clothes in chemicals – buy non-toxic baby laundry products. Remember, it’s constantly touching their skin.
16. Borrow as much “stuff” as possible. It’s a short window that you need all the baby gear so don’t waste money needlessly. People are usually thrilled to get baby goods out of their house if they are past that stage. Just don’t forget to make a list of who has given you what – it will be incredibly helpful when it comes to returning it.
17. Schedule in a manicure/pedicure for yourself in a few week’s time. Ideally book someone to come to you at home. You’ll need the pampering by then!
18. Remember that if you are breastfeeding, all you’ll want to wear is button down shirts. I went to Gap, Zara and JCrew to stock up on denim and white oxfords – or if you fit in your husband’s, borrow his.
19. If you have other kids, invest in some fun projects to keep them occupied on rainy days – or sunny days. I scrolled Amazon for arts & crafts, science projects, and puzzles that would take more than 10 minutes to complete.
20. Get outside – it’s the best medicine. Keep nappies, wipes and a change of clothes in your pram (that’s all you really need) so you can head out at any time without a nappy bag. Or strap on the baby carrier and get walking. A little fresh air always clears the mind, refreshes you and, don’t forget, helps you lose your baby weight naturally without dieting.
But more important than any of these tips is to be kind and patient with yourself – it’s not an easy task bringing life into the world and caring for a little baby. Cut yourself some slack whenever you can and pat yourself on the back when you’ve showered before 4pm
Header image: Florence Finburgh Photography