Why hello there! As I was lying in bed last night, I started running through a list of things that I wish someone had drilled into my head when I was in the first 6 weeks of babyland. So here they are, plus a couple of extra for good measure.
- Pre-Moistened Facial Wipes. Get some. When you are standing bleary eyed, exhausted in front of the bathroom mirror before something previously known as bedtime (which now will be anytime between 7pm and 4am) you will feel slightly more human because you have cleaned your face. Forget the exfoliator, cleanser, toner nonsense. Just swipe and fall into bed.
- Get Outside Everyday. Even if it is just to the end of the block. Take the baby with you - in a stroller, in a sling or in your arms. You will both benefit from the fresh air, and you will remember that the world is still going on outside your front door.
- Say Yes to All Help. Someone offers to walk the dog, make you dinner, clean the house or tidy your closet....whatever. Someone offers to help, the answer should always be YES.
- Witch Hazel. Get some. It works wonders.
- Rest. I did more than I should have in the first 6 weeks and twice my body reminded me that I had just had a baby by completely shutting down. Most of the time I felt pretty good and I had a pretty well behaved baby. As a consequence, I was up and running around more than I should have been until WHAMMO! full body meltdown. So even if you feel good, take it easy.
- Bake a Lot of Muffins and Freeze Them. Or better yet, get someone to bake them for you. Do this before you give birth. If you are breastfeeding you will hunt down food (especially carbs) like the folks in Clan of the Cave Bear. At all times of the day and night. Having semi-healthy food handy is critical.
- Drink Lots of Water. Especially critical for breast feeders. After every feed, drink a big glass of water. Pursuant to #6, you will also have the thirst of the desert. I got carpal tunnel badly in both wrists and had to wear splints to bed - armed with those I would chug a huge bottle of water just before bedtime, gulping like a dehydrated hockey player. So sexy.
- Get Some Digital Entertainment. Your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, etc will be your new best friend. Breast feeding for hours on end is so much better with digital entertainment. I have played more Scrabble on my iPhone in the last 8 months than I care to admit. And by the way, Kindles, iPhones and iPads make GREAT push presents. You listening, Daddios?
- Take Lots of Photos. Everyone told me this and it is true. Babies are tiny for an instant and then suddenly they have 8 teeth, are yanking on your hair and blowing raspberries full of puréed chicken and sweet potato on your face. Take a million photos the whole way through.
- Learn to Say No. This goes back to #5. Everyone wants to see your baby - but most of the time in the early days the baby will be sleeping which means you will be the one entertaining. No dice, mama. If you're tired - decline politely and don't feel a bit bad about it. Or better yet, tell them that you have some laundry they can do while you have a nap.
- Enjoy. It's amazing, tiring, confusing, wonderful and all together incredible. And it will fly by - so treasure every moment.
That's certainly not the whole list, but it is a good start. Hopefully it will help some of the new mamas out there. Anyone have anything to add?