Dealing with life as a new mum

Our health visitor passes on her pearls of wisdom about coping with newborn crying, getting your little one to sleep, and even catching forty winks yourself…

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Chill-out tips for sleep-deprived new mums

  • Be realistic. Some days eating and sleeping will be your greatest achievement, but it will get better.
  • Prioritise what needs doing. Only tackle the essentials, like appointments for your baby.
  • Sleep or rest when your baby does. In the evening, go to bed very early, even if you have to get up to feed.
  • Turn your mobile off. Constant interruptions can be frustrating so let voicemail take the strain.
  • Accept all offers of help. Get friends and family to do some ironing or bring you a home-cooked meal.
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Coping with crying

  • Keep a diary of when your baby cries. Then build a routine that frees you up to deal with these difficult times.
  • Crying is communication. It’s her way of reacting when she’s overwhelmed, so sometimes just being there is enough.
  • Try a warm bath and massage, or skin-to-skin contact cuddles to reduce stress.
  • Get out as much as you can. Being in supportive company will help you.
  • Speak to your doctor. Excess crying can be a sign of reflux, which can be relieved with medicine and support.

Ways to ward off baby blues

  • Be prepared for feeling emotional, tearful or irritable, as it’s common in the first few weeks after the birth.
  • Share how you’re feeling with someone close to you, so you can get support and encouragement.
  • Eat regularly as keeping your blood sugar levels even will help.
  • Focus on one task at a time, as you’re more likely to achieve it and that’ll boost your confidence.
  • Rest and sleep whenever you can, to give your mind and body the chance to process the impact of giving birth.

Ways to tackle mummy tiredness

  • Set yourself up for the day ahead with a big bowl of porridge and a semi-cold shower.
  • Prioritise sleep and rest instead of doing chores whenever you get the chance.
  • Go to bed when your child does, even if you don’t get to sleep you’re still resting your body.
  • Write down thoughts to clear your mind if you can’t switch off easily.
  • Try deep breathing techniques. Just setting aside 10 minutes for some relaxing breathing can refresh you.

Tips to help your baby sleep

  • Spot the signs. These may be a certain cry, yawn, restlessness, or going very quiet.
  • Don’t wait. When your baby gives you a ‘sleepy cue’, put her down to sleep while she is still awake.
  • Keep a routine. Be consistent when establishing sleep routines. Your baby will learn and expect similar routines, knowing you understand she needs sleep.
  • Be patient. It may take a few minutes for your baby to settle, so give her a little time.
  • Be in tune. If your baby’s tired, let her sleep. Don’t feel you have to keep her awake because it’s the ‘wrong time’.
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Tips for a healthy sleep pattern for your baby

  • Look for cues like a certain cry, eye rubbing, blinking or yawning that can indicate it’s time for bed.
  • Put a sleepy baby to bed before he dozes off somewhere else. Otherwise he’ll be confused when he wakes up.
  • A nightlight keeps a room softly lit so it’s not too dark if your baby stirs.
  • Take a moment when he wakes to see if he self-soothes. Often he’ll settle again without you having to pick him up.
  • Consistency with routine, even when you’re away from home, helps maintain the good work you’ve done day to day.

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