Every woman, man and dog will be telling you what you need to do for, with or to your new baby for the best. But few people will tell you what you should be doing to keep yourself well and happy. Pregnancy, birth and motherhood is a huge journey for you and your body, and it should be treated accordingly.
1. Encourage a baby bedtime from the start -it makes a huge difference to have a bit of downtime in the evening whilst baby is asleep upstairs. This might sound like a distant dream but you baby also needs a good 11-12 hours of rest time (this isn’t necessarily sleep time, but rather time in a dark and comforting room). Even just eating dinner in peace can make all the difference – ask your partner, a friend or a relative for a precious hour that could make all the difference to your own ability to cope.
2. Don’t drive yourself crazy with worry and pressure – It doesn’t matter if the house is spotless or if you are eating an organic meal cooked from scratch each evening. Take the pressure off. You are doing an amazing job just by coping, so make sure you take a moment to appreciate it.
3. Get a good support system in place – people who are helpful and importantly non-judgemental! You’ll need them and they will want to help, especially if they know what the first few months of motherhood can be like.
4. Make sure you are keeping yourself healthy – hydrated, eating enough, vitamins. The body goes through a lot during pregnancy, birth and postnatal. Look after your body.
5. Focus on positive feelings – I find it really useful to write down three good things that have happened in a day. It’s also nice to look back on.
6. Don’t choose this time to push yourself back to work, move house or make other huge decisions – take time. You need to adjust to being a parent, and what sounds right good now, might seem nuts in a few months when you have taken stock and everything has settled.
7. Be kind to yourself – you are going to hit bumps and negative feelings. Be realistic, open to help and support and keep calm. My favourite phrase of parenthood is “this too shall pass!”