Wow! We’ve made it through Baby A’s first three months. I can’t believe how fast it has gone. Just a moment ago I was meeting her for the first time, staring into her little inky eyes. Now she is a smiling, giggling, babbling wee thing.
I loved the first three months – OK, perhaps not the lack of sleep, pooey nappies, or sick on the shoulder – and I’m excited about the next three, as she gets more interactive and her personality starts to shine through.
Looking back, there were a few things that I did that made those early days a little easier and stopped me feeling completely frazzled! Here’s what helped me:
- Keep your change table close.
In the early days babies are little poop and pee machines, so I kept the change table in our family living area. This is the area that I spent most time in during the day. Having the change table and a stock of supplies (e.g. nappies, wipes, bum cream, cloths, spare clothes) really close meant I could attend to Baby A quicker, which helped to keep stress levels down!
- Use a rocker/bouncer chair.
With baby number two I’m definitely on the go a little more. I find the bouncer chair with toy bar a life saver to keep Baby A occupied while I fix a snack or dinner etc for Little Miss Five.On warmer days I also take her out into the garden in it to hang out the washing. She gets some fresh air, watches me, and bats away at her hanging toys while I get the washing on the line.
Similarly, some really useful advice I read in Pinky McKay’s book Parenting by Heart (which, by the way, is a great read about gentle care for baby in its first year), is to pop the bouncer in front of the shower if you are struggling to find time to get clean! Oh, how a simple shower can make you feel alive again! I’ve needed to do this a couple of times and Baby A just watched me through the glass as I chatted and sang to her. If you are interested you can also check out Pinky McKay’s website/blog. I’ve personally found Pinky’s advice very heartening, reassuring and in tune with the parenting approach that I feel comfortable with this time around.
- Make a lunch box.
If you have to make a school lunch box for an older child each night, why not make yourself a lunch box at the same time? I’ve done this quite a few times. It really helps as I can just grab something from the box on the go. It saves rushing to try and make something when Baby A has a nap (when she invariably wakes up!) and means that I get plenty to eat during the day. If you don’t have an older child to make lunch for, perhaps your partner/husband could make your lunch/snack box as a treat for you?!
- Use a hammock.
If someone was to ask me what my favourite piece of baby paraphernalia was, it would definitely be our baby hammock. I have used a baby hammock with Baby A since we came home from hospital and I LOVE it.
I’m not talking a string/mesh laze-in-the-garden type hammock here, rather a purpose designed ergonomic hammock for young babies. It hangs from a stand (or you can use a special hook in the ceiling or a special door clamp) and when you put baby in it it snugly holds them, helping to cocoon them. As they move, the hammock gently rocks and bounces, helping to lull them to sleep (it mimics the snugness and motion of being inside you).
It also allows me to easily and gently rock her to sleep if she wakes as I lay her down, or to resettle her if she needs a little more nap time. Baby A sleeps in it for all sleeps and I have it right next to my side of the bed.
I suspect she will soon outgrow the hammock and I can’t say I’m looking forward to the transition from the hammock to a cot! But I will do it gently and slowly.
The hammock has been such a wonder. We bought it for our first daughter after finding out that she had reflux. The head is slightly elevated and so it worked a treat for her. Our hammock is from a company here in New Zealand called Natures Sway.
So those are a few of the things that helped me in the first three months. I’d love to hear what helped you during the first three to six months?