I was exploring the RM archives this morning when I stumbled across this gem from days past. Seeing that I am back at baby square one with my now 4-week-old, I decided that this puppy deserves a repost because (a) I need to remind myself of some of my own advice and (b) I know a new slew of expectant mamas who would benefit from a bullshit-free lesson on how to survive the early days. Enjoy!
Inititally published May 25, 2015
This post was originally going to be an email to a few of my girlfriends who are in the last few weeks of incubating their offspring; they are anxious, they’re preparing their homes for their new arrivals and I am sure they are getting lots of bullshit advice like “when the baby comes, just make sure you nap when they nap!” Basically, they are me 14 months ago, and because of that, I wanted to give them a few extremely practical tips for surviving early motherhood – rebel mama style. So in no particular order, here it goes:
- Go out and get yourself some loungewear that won’t make you look like you spent the night in a frat house and borrowed a random dude’s sweats to traipse around in the next morning. I’m talking loose cotton/modal blend pants and draped t-shirts. I suggest purchasing this either in black or ecru (the latter disguises spit up beautifully). You’re going to have a lot of visitors and you will likely be more excited about “entertaining” if you don’t feel like draping yourself in a cloak of invisibility due to frumpy pyjamas.
- Stock up on dried fruit. Having a baby puts your body through a lot and it takes a little time to get things working again. Help your body out by giving it TONS of fiber. You will thank me for this later.
- Your baby will want to be held a lot which is great because babies are super cute and you’ll want to hold him/her just as much! However, this will only allow for one-handed food consumption. Smoothies are an awesome way to get lots of nutrients in a small window of time and BONUS, they require only one hand AND you can drink them while standing and bouncing (you’ll do this a lot… but just think of it as light cardio exercise mixed with squat reps. You’ll have your body back in no time).
- On a similar note, embrace healthy fats in your smoothies (and your diet in general) like avocado and coconut oil – especially if you’re nursing. I was constantly hungry because I produced more milk than your average dairy cow, so avocado, banana, ginger, coconut milk and cinnamon smoothies saved my ass time and time again.
- Two words: concealer and blush. Seriously. I’m not a big makeup person generally, but a dab of concealer under tired eyes and a little blush to make me look alive and I don’t know how much better I looked… but holy crap did I ever FEEL better. And honestly, anything that makes you feel like a human and not a baby regurgitator in the weeks after childbirth deserve to be taken seriously.
- Acquaint yourself with all the local restaurants with delivery services. Uber Eats is now your new best friend. Seriously. Best service ever. Failing that, you’d be surprised how many non-pizza joints have affiliations with companies like Just Eat, that will make it possible for you to order an actual meal to your house when someone stops by to meet the baby right around dinner time (this is bound to happen. Just accept it and do not feel obliged to cook food yourself!)
- Invest in some luxurious hand cream. You are about to wash your hands more than you ever have in your entire life. They will get dry. You will feel like they look like the hands belonging to the evil queen in Snow White. A great hand cream is a perfect indulgence for a new mom.
- Don’t fill your space with baby things. Honestly, they don’t need much (especially at the beginning). Actually, in prepping for early days with baby, I suggest having something you can put them down in that you know will be a safe place for them, then just get shit that makes you feel happy and calm. Designer candles? A cashmere blanket you can drape over yourself and baby on quiet afternoons? A Bose speaker for some chill music? Do what you gotta do. A happy mom = a happy baby.
- Arrange for someone to clean your house for you. No matter how you get the job done (ie. vaginal birth or C-section) you’re not really going to want to be mopping floors for a bit, so either hire someone or ask a close friend or family member in advance if they’d be able to help you out with some things around the house.
- Don’t skip showers. Nothing makes you feel grosser than realizing it’s been 3 days since you’ve thoroughly cleansed your body of dried breast milk and general disgustingness. Ideal time for showers = when family comes to visit the baby, when someone who has recently had a baby comes over (they will likely volunteer to hold the baby for you while you bathe… just say YES), when baby is awake and happy to chill in his/her bouncy chair/mum-a-roo/whatever – put it in the bathroom with you, poke your head out every couple of minutes and you’re good to go.
- Go for walks. Even on the days when I was so tired I wasn’t sure that getting off the couch was an option, if I went for even a 10 minute stroll, I felt a million times better. Fresh air is good for you, it’s good for the baby, and it’s good for your body’s recovery process. win/win/win
- From day one, help your baby understand that nighttime is for sleeping, and daytime is party time. At the beginning, doing this won’t have much of an effect on their general sleep/wake cycles, but you’d be shocked at how quickly they figure it out. Personally, from 9pm until sunrise, I kept the house very dim and quiet. I spoke to the baby very little and when I did it was in soft tones. Daytime all curtains were open, music was turned up, books were read etc. In just a few weeks he started sleeping longer stretches over night – I successfully tricked him into thinking there was nothing worth staying up for! 😉
- Pick up a couple slimming nursing tanks by “Boob” – these are perfect for the moderately vain new mom. Give yourself a couple of weeks before trying to get into this baby, but when you feel ready, pop it on for an instant body image boost. It’s basically spanx for your mid-section. It holds everything up and in and makes you feel like less of a blob.
The underlying theme in all my advice here is DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOU. These will be the first days, weeks and months of no longer being pregnant – it can be a really emotional time (I, personally, was a little sad to not be housing a baby anymore, strangely enough), but it’s also an important time for self-love. Of course, a lot of your love will be directed toward your new family member, but you must remember to save a little for yourself. People may tell you that this time flies by. In my experience, however, time only moves quickly in hindsight. When you’re at home with a newborn, time becomes glacial… minutes can feel like hours, days can feel like weeks; so in that time, make your home your haven. Fill it with beautiful scents and music. Wear clothes that feel luxurious on your skin, and create an atmosphere that inspires visitors to be relaxed and happy too because babies can feel the energy around them. At the end of the day, it’s not about the most cutting edge toys, the fanciest bassinets, or even the most eco-friendly soothers, it’s about creating a space for your family that allows for calm, rest, and a whole lot of love.
Elite Daily thought this post was pretty cool, so they wanted it on their site too! Check it out HERE