How do first time mums survive?
You lose sleep and whatever happens to your baby you Google about it. You always worry and everything seems too much for you and often you ask yourself: Am I really ready to be a mum? What have I gotten myself into?
You prepared for this months before your baby was born. But it seems what you did was not enough to make yourself really ready.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Other mums just figured it out along the way (with some early preparations of course). And surprisingly, somehow, they managed to survive the first six months and beyond. Every day they doubt themselves if what they did was right and if they’re up to this new responsibility.
Most of those mums have full-time jobs or run businesses but still they’ve been able to raise their newborns. Just like everything else in life, you will figure this out and this too shall pass. Mums all over the world do it every day and it will also be the same for you.
Enough with the motivational talk and mindset. Let’s now go to the tactics. What to expect for the next weeks and months and how can you prepare for them? How to sustain being an overworked and sleepless mum?
If you want more sleep and a bit less work, you should start with your job or business. Ask your employer about the parental leave so you’ll have more time with your baby. If you run a business, perhaps it’s good to slow down or let someone else do the work for you. Most likely your job or business will still be there.
This short break is not just for giving yourself more time with your baby. It’s also about making the transition much smoother especially for your mind and body. As a first-time mum, you feel overwhelmed and it’s like things are happening too quickly. You don’t have time to catch your breath because you’re already doing too much.
As mums we’re great at multitasking. But our minds need time to process everything. We humans need time (and some rituals) to make ourselves ready. That’s one reason for most of the rites and ceremonies (weddings, baby showers, anniversaries). Aside from making a public announcement, these events and ceremonies actually help the people prepare their minds for their new journeys.
Once you’ve slowed down with your job or business, don’t expect though that everything will finally become easier. It never gets easier being a mum because of the sleepless nights especially for the first two months. After all, your baby is just starting to settle into a routine (after spending nine months inside the dark womb) and yes, he/she still has a tiny tummy that needs to be fed every now and then. Your baby gets hungry often which is one reason he/she also wakes often.
At two or three months, things become a bit easier or more predictable. Your baby finally gets longer sleep (and so do you). This is great for you because slowly a routine develops and you can now better focus on your job, business and other responsibilities. But the challenges don’t end there.
Whenever your child cries you rush to find out what’s wrong. Thankfully it’s often one of these things: your baby’s hungry, nappy is dirty, too hot or too cold (uncomfortable) or she’s sick. Crying is the baby’s way to let you know there’s something wrong because he/she can’t talk yet. But what if your baby doesn’t stop and you just can’t figure out the reason for crying? This time you should calm your baby by gently patting his/her back, swaddling or even singing. Other mums experiment on what’s the most effective way to soothe their babies. In time you will find out what that single trick is that works best for your newborn (and finally get your baby back to sleep).
We often think of having a newborn and being a first-time mum as sleepless nights, multitasking and full of responsibilities and challenges. It’s already exhausting just reading that sentence.
But let’s remind ourselves that it’s all temporary and we should actually savour this brief period. Time flies fast and before we know it, they’re already toddlers running around. These six months will pass quickly. No matter what we do, time will pass anyway so it’s just reasonable for us to enjoy the days and nights with our babies.