Surviving_baby's_first_three_months

Surviving the 4th trimester | How Baby & I made it to 4 months……happily!

Phew!

Can’t believe it.  Bebe is 18 weeks old.

4 and a half months ago I awoke to contractions {finally} in the middle of the night and had no idea of the body-wrenching pain and heart-rending joy that was to follow over the next 3 months.  A quiet season of finding out a few things about Nixie, and discovering exactly how different he was to his big brother.  Obviously this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo, but, the 8.5 year gap between babies left me feeling like a first-time mama a little more than I ever admitted.

What I did have, was a bit of perspective on my side.  I was no longer a 25yo in a foreign country with no family and friends with kids for support.  Dave and I are the most settled and happy we have been since we moved our family to New Zealand and having my Mum close at hand for support and baby-snuggling-duties has been invaluable to my state of mind.

I was walking with bub this morning, after a failed nap-time, and was marvelling a little at my calm state of mind and lack of anxiety.  I was able to nail it down to a few key coping strategies that have allowed me to steer clear of the baby blues and just be present for Nixon;

Roll with the punches | Be flexible

Babies aren’t born on time (usually!), they don’t have a schedule and they have no concept of what they should and shouldn’t be doing and when.  Nixon had a lot of trouble feeding in his first month and had to learn how to sleep during the day.  He is still not very good at napping.  Once I stopped obsessing about how long he had been awake vs how much sleep he had had that day, life got a lot better.  Agonising over 45 minute naps simply wasn’t going to change anything, at least it was a nap right?  Recognising that every day was going to be different also took some getting used to.  I am a person that likes and thrives on routine and that time will come for Nixon too, but it can’t be expected during his first 3 months.  If he wouldn’t sleep in his bassinet but would sleep in my arms after breastfeeding, that’s what we did.  Letting expectations get the better of you will only promote feelings of failure.  Let your baby do the talking and listen!

Take advice from varied sources

Nix was hospitalised at 10 days old for Failure to Thrive.  Worst.  Mama.  Ever.  Or so I thought.  Hearing those words sucked.  But not once in the first month of his life did the midwife, nurses or lactation consultants ever suggest topping him up with formula.  We did this with the support of our wonderful GP and it was exactly what our boy needed, some ‘easy’ calories to give him the energy he needed to breastfeed properly.  He needed a single bottle-feed each day for only a few weeks, then armed with a prescription to increase my milk supply {again suggested by my GP} he has been exclusively breastfed ever since.  Plunket have been resolutely single-minded and fixated on benchmarking so no thinking out-of-the-box from them unfortunately.

Exercise

I am lazy.  I am not a gym junkie.  I do not own any work-out videos and this is most definitely NOT about losing baby weight.  But, getting out each day for a walk did wonders for my crazy.  If Nix wouldn’t sleep at home he would always doze off in the buggy.  That 30-45 minute walk was respite for me.  Even if he remained awake it was a period of time where I wasn’t ‘actively’ caring for him.  He didn’t need to be held, fed, changed or comforted, he was quite happy cruising in the buggy and my mind was free to wander outside of the realms of our nursing chair!  If you don’t have a good neighbourhood for walking, pack up the car and do laps around the local park – this serves double duty as a good confidence boosting outing and no pressure practice for getting out of the house.

Reassess what’s important

Everyone tells you “forget about the housework” “leave the washing” “who cares about the vacuuming?”.  Well, chances are, you care!  If you liked to keep your house a certain way before baby arrived then this is unlikely to have changed once you are home from hospital.  The reality is that you absolutely can’t do it all, especially if you are recovering from birth trauma as I was.  But, keeping an even keel is what’s important here and if living in a shambles is going to have a negative effect on your mental health then rally the troops!  I realised that there were three things that if done each day, allowed me to feel like I had control over the house and that I was actively contributing and being a productive member of the family.  Here’s where you interrupt and exclaim loudly “YOU WERE TAKING CARE OF A NEWBORN, YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING ELSE!”.  But see, I did have to do other things and I’m glad I did.  I communicated to Dave that making the beds, keeping on top of the laundry and keeping the kitchen clean and tidy made me feel good, he then knew that helping out with Ethan and Nixon in the morning so I could get those things done helped start my day off on the right foot.  Crazy I know but it worked for me.  Dusting be damned I say!

Try not to over-analyse everything about your baby

I was definitely guilty of this, but TRY not to let paranoia seep in.  Remember; every baby spits up, a lot!  Every baby is going to lose weight, then gain weight.  Every baby will wake at night and not sleep during the day.  Just pat yourself on the back for making it through another day or another difficult night because it will get easier – and quickly!  The newborn fog is a really short, challenging season but you will emerge at the other end equipped with the tools you need to carry on being an awesome mama.

Surviving_baby's_first_three_months

 

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Melissa

I live in rural Auckland, New Zealand. Two boys, one big, one not so big and 2 boy dogs belong to me and I them. I love Coca Cola in all of its sugar-less forms and I love you internet. I take way too many pictures of my kids and collect them all here. This is what I am doing when I should be cleaning or cooking or doing other 'useful' things.

7 thoughts on “Surviving the 4th trimester | How Baby & I made it to 4 months……happily!”

  1. This is an awesome post, and great advice. I just think it's So important to go easy on yourself! Good on you. And yay, you've made it to the other side of the first few months! x

  2. Awesome! Bookmarking this post to re-read in a few months! I'm all for everything you said but I know in reality it doesn't always happen! Congratulations and here's hoping for a nice routine in the next few weeks/months!!
    xx

  3. Awesome post – so what I needed to hear after Number 1! I am so with you on the housework though – and like you, those were also my three things… IF I got the beds made, the washing done and kept the kitchen relatively tidy; I felt I had done ok! Hubby was very good at picking up the rest, thankfully!

    Well done you – Nix looks like one happy baby!

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