Being a mum to a newborn means getting less sleep, sad but true. And breastfeeding, for all its positives means being the only one who can feed baby. So when our beautiful daughter came into the world I had to learn to adapt, and fast.
The only way I managed to get enough sleep to function was to make sleep a priority. Until our daughter fell into a better sleep routine – which enabled me to get some sort of decent sleep at night – I slept whenever she did. If she went down for a nap, so did I.
At first this was a little hard. Finally, some baby free time! There was so much I wanted to do, let alone the things I had to do, that I just couldn’t waste the opportunity. But I learned I had to, so except for simple things like shower or eat meals I tried to get as much rest during the day as possible.
This meant housework fell by the wayside. Unless it just had to be done I didn’t do it. I managed to pull this off by accepting every offer of help or a cooked meal that came my way. Sure, it wasn’t nice to get other people to wash my dishes or do some laundry, and it wasn’t as exciting as helping with the baby directly, but I found people were keen to help me through the early days and this was the best way they could.
And there was quite a few times my husband and I “cheated” and used paid help. Sometimes we paid for a cleaner to come around and give the place a really good clean. A couple of other times it was simply getting someone to do all the laundry. It wasn’t always cheap but it made such a difference to our stress and comfort levels, knowing the work wasn’t piling up for one of us, that it was money well spent.
Of course I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my husband, who simply was amazing. He picked up for my “slack” and kept things going in addition to his full time job. Once the baby and I were in bed he’d clean and wash up or cook meals in advance. He was very keen to make sure there was as much healthy, home cooked, food as possible. If there’s a key to prioritising sleep then a constant support person is surely it. I couldn’t have coped so well without him.
So go easy on yourself and do what you can to get through that first big adjustment period.