The New Year with a newborn?
Most people begin the New Year with a vague list of resolutions: I will get fit, I will eat healthily, I will finally fit into those skinny jeans bought in a sale some two-and-a half years ago – and it doesn’t really matter if non-parents’ resolutions slide; there’s always next year or the regular gym membership special offers to start all over again.
However, with a tiny, defenceless dependant, life will literally never be the same again. Now is the biggest opportunity you’ll ever have to reinvent yourself, because this time, you’re starting completely afresh – for two.
There are a few things new moms need in order to get them through the day. Sleep, caffeine, gossip, sleep, a constant supply of freshly-washed bibs and muslins, more sleep… Most of these necessities you have absolutely zero hope of achieving (sorry), but focussing on the few things that you absolutely have to achieve and allowing the unimportant tasks to slide during these foggy early weeks will help you begin to see that there is life after birth.
Form as much of a routine as you can…
… but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t always go according to plan. Newborns know nothing about clocks, complicated cooking instructions or what time Strictly Come Dancing is on. There are plenty of baby books you can consult like The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford or The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan by Alison Scott-Wright – but the success of these methods depends very much on the individual. It’s probably best to try a few things out and follow your gut instinct. Your baby will thrive from a routine that feels natural to you.
Get some exercise
Your body needs to heal after its nine-month hiatus and in order to do this you must get the blood flowing again, even if it’s initially just a case of pushing the buggy to the shops or round the park to get some air. Staying at home chained to daytime TV in your old maternity gear is no good for you or your little one, so brave your complicated new stroller system and get out and about!
Make some new friends
Ideally your social life should now become twofold. Make no mistake: you still need your original network of friends – you will relish being able to relax in comfortable company with people who have known you all your life. But now is also the time to share the intensely personal milestones of motherhood in a way only fellow new moms can. There are only so many times your unmarried best mate from work can endure the gripping details of your episiotomy – bond instead with other moms over coffee at your local playgroup.
Make time to enjoy your baby
It may seem like an obvious point, but she’s never going to be this tiny ever again. I can’t think of a single parent I know who doesn’t remark on how time goes into free fall when you have children. Before you know it little limbs will be unfurling, hair will be sprouting, teeth will be budding and she’ll be developing faster than an overcooked sponge.
Take photos, videos and time just to be with her – it’s what this precious new start is all about.