Having a baby is an amazing thing and you’ll be surprised at how much you love that little bundle considering all the hell it is about to put you through. When people say things like ‘it puts things in perspective’ you nod with a a sense of understanding but you don’t really understand… But you will. Friends, the latest movie, Saturdays match, gadgets, games, personal appearance and many other things that you considered important will all fall by the wayside once you are having 4 hours sleep a night for weeks on end.
Don’t worry though, as I’m sure you’ll have one of those babies that sleeps through and is not trouble at all. But just in case it isn’t the perfect baby, here is a few pointers for you:
Weeks before the due date start stocking up. If you are making a stew, bolognese, or curry, make double, in fact, if it can be reheated, double it up and bag it in the freezer. There is a good chance that you will either be so tired, or unable to find a hours cooking time that reheating a bag of bolognese will be a consent and keep you off the ready meals and takeaways long enough to get yourself together. It sounds a little extreme and your fridge does end up like you are preparing for the apocalypse but trust me, you’ll thank me.
Getting up a few times a night is hard and staying awake whilst feeding is a struggle. At that time of night the choice of TV is appalling so it’s always good to have a box set ready to start watching. This gives you something to look forward to when you get downstairs. I cleared the entire box set of Battlestar Galactica with Lucy and most of 24 with Livvy. I think most people nowadays has some form of Netflix, but if you haven’t then the investment of £6.99 a month (free for the first month) is well worth it.
Chocolate and Energy Drinks
Each night you will pop downstairs, prepare bottle and feed the baby. Over time this becomes draining so don’t forget to treat yourself with little energy boosts. A bag of giant buttons in the fridge is a great way to give you a boost throughout the night and during the day, why not, reward yourself with a red bull for elevenses to keep you alert. Having 5 hours sleep one night is easy, having 5 hours a night for a week is pretty tough, over a month it’s harder and after that it’s like SAS training… There is no recoup time and you don’t get to lie in on weekends.
A chair with a footstool
Don’t underestimate the power of a footstool. There is less chance the baby will fall off you, it is better for your circulation and it’s easier to sleep on a chair with a footstool. We opted for an actual feeding chair and footstool that both rocked. It was (and still is) fantastic. It has padded arms to lie the babies head on if needed, it rocks, it has big pockets for all the remote controls and other ‘things’ you’ll need.
Not only will you need a microwave to heat up all the frozen food in my first point but a microwave could save you 35 minutes of a baby screaming a day. The sound of your own child screaming is the single worst thing a parent can endure. Your baby is biologically design to resonate a sound that smashes around ‘your’ eardrum worse than a grenade. In the blind confusion of the scream you stand next to the kettle, waiting for it to boil and then you stand for another 4 minutes waiting for it to ‘warm up’. All of this because, someone said, that someone heard, that microwaving babies bottles is bad. 30 seconds in the microwave and you are done and ready to Southern that wounded little soldier.