Surviving the First 6 Months of Parenthood
You have just become a parent for the first time and it is beautiful, it is magical, it is so exciting but you think how on earth am I going to survive? Surviving the first 6 months of parenting is where you think you just need to ‘survive’.
However, what if I told you that everything that didn’t go to ‘plan’ doesn’t have to continue? That birth plan that didn’t flow, that nursery that hasn’t been slept in, those arms that are never empty and that washing pile that is building doesn’t have to be that way.
As a second time earth side mother myself and combined with the knowledge and information from Kristy from The Sleep Teacher who is a mother of three herself shares the best tips and tricks to surviving the first six months of raising a baby.
Your Guide to Be Prepared and Equipped with Knowledge to Survive The First 6 Months.
It is important to know that you cannot create a bad habit. You should not let the joy of parenthood be taken from you with worry or fear about the actions that are coming naturally to you.
Establish Feed, Play, Sleep Routine.
This isn’t a strict routine but begins a sequential routine. As a first time parent it is important to create a cycle for yourself and baby. When they wake up feed them, change them, play with them and put back to sleep.This allows you to not begin creating the ‘feed to sleep’ association which I find is personally the hardest one to later break so avoiding it in the initial stages helps you survive beyond the first six months.
Pay Attention to Awake Times
The awake window begins from the moment your little one wakes up until asleep again. These are crucial to surviving the first six months seamlessly for both yourself and baby.An overtired baby (awake beyond recommended awake time) will fight going to sleep and you will be overwhelmed trying to problem solve when the answer is sleep but you will have to now work hard to get them there. When they finally are asleep it will result in likely them waking shortly after.
Set Up Sleep Space for Success
It is true that a dark room, white noise and arms down swaddle are the ultimate comfort additions to recreating the sensations of the womb resulting in sleep success for long stretches of times.
Have a Supplies Basket
This is your go-to basket for easy access to frequent use products. I recommend the Skip Hop Light Up Caddy here (use discount code: Mikhailla to save on your purchase) which is spacious, easy to move around the home has a touch light perfect for night time too.You will want to keep in your basket nappies, burp cloths, wipes, nipple cream, a onesie, water bottle and spare swaddle. Consider having two of these stations in your home.
Create a Wind Down Routine
This is a process of preparing your baby for naps and bed time. You want to keep it consistent but will be different for every family. This could look like closing the blinds, popping baby in swaddle or sleeping bag, reading a book or singing a song, turning on white noise and initiating a sleep phrase like ‘It’s time for sleep now’ before placing them in their cot.
Don’t make night time feeds & night time changes exciting.
Avoid stimulation at all costs throughout the night. This begins teaching them the difference between day and night. Keep the room dark and as time goes on your little ones bowel movements will decrease overnight and this is when you should avoid overnight nappy changes.If a nappy change is needed do so before feeding so that the feed can wind them down prepared to go back to sleep.
Prepare for Witching Hour
This is a real thing. It arrives just as you cook dinner, bath and prepare for sleep. They can become so fussy that no one and nothing can calm them down. Check out The Sleep Teachers ‘calm a fussy baby’ demonstration video by clicking here.
It is true that your baby will thrive off a routine just like you do. Please do not stress yourself on establishing a strict routine as a calm mother is best when it comes to surviving the first six months. A stricter routine can begin around 12-16 weeks of age.
Solids & Sleep
Introducing solids early on isn’t the answer to sleep. It can result in disrupting sleep more as babies are often not ready before 6 months of age.Midwife & Baby Nutrition Consultant Luka speaks about the important role of the stomach being ‘ready’ to digest food in this video here. This includes the process of being able to sit well to have the core strength to digest and process without pain to avoid disrupting sleep.
It is good to encourage your baby to nap in a pram, carrier, car. Get out for a walk, coffee and fresh air as this will be good for you and your baby.
Be Kind To Yourself
There is a lot of pressure on adjusting to your new normal. A lot of right’s and wrong’s that come from many different experiences.
You don’t need to know your little one inside and out. It is a learning adjustment for you and important you take it slow and accept help to survive the first six months with ease. Visitors will want to hold your baby and it is a great opportunity for you to take a nap. Be kind to yourself while you adjust to your new role.The first six months of parenthood is equally beautiful in the way we survive but together with the above tips and tracks from Kirsty combined with her incredible sleep programs that I highly recommend you will be equipped with the knowledge to flow through parenthood.
Thank you for the contribution article written by Kirsty from The Sleep Teacher.
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