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*********Six weeks in to life as a mum of three and believe it or not I'm still surviving! So far there have been a few little challenges, but it's nowhere near as overwhelming as I expected. I'd like to think that third time around I am a lot more laid back than I have been in the past and so much more willing to go with the flow.
I've put together a little list of things that I have found really helpful. Whether you're expecting your first or third (or even your seventh!) hopefully you'll find these tips useful, even if they just remind you that you're not the only one with an unsettled baby or a hyperactive toddler!
Every Baby is Different - I cannot stress this one enough, every baby is different from the last. Seems obvious right? It wasn't for me. When Lincoln was born I totally expected him to have the same needs, habits and routines as Max had. When he didn't I went into total meltdown mode. Instead of working with what he wanted, I tried and tried to get him to be like Max. And when he wasn't I cried (and screamed) and resented the fact that he wasn't a 'perfect' baby. I don't recommend taking that approach! This time around I expected Elliot to be different from Max and Link, and he definitely is. Almost every thing I'm doing with him is different and that's totally ok.
Go With Whatever Works - I am a huge advocate of doing whatever works, as long as your baby is safe I see no harm in giving them exactly what they want in the early days. Before Max was born I had a whole set of rules outlined for myself. He would always fall asleep in his own cot, I wouldn't give him a dummy, he would breastfeed for 12 months, I wouldn't spoil him by holding him to much (!!), no sugar until he was three etc etc. How totally naive was I?!! I learnt very quickly that you need to throw the rule book out the window each time you have a baby. Giving your baby what he wants is the kindest thing you can do and it also saves your sanity. Lincoln hated the swing and preferred to be put down to sleep in a dark, quiet room. Max liked to be swaddled up really tightly and loved his dummy. Lincoln refused a dummy, but learnt to self settle as soon as he was old enough to find his thumb. Elliot loves to be held and rocked, during the day he alternates between sleeping on my chest in a sling or in his Fisher Price swing. He loves noise and sleeps with a white noise app at night (which I personally love too, I have never slept better!). Lincoln woke to feed every night until he was 15 months and Max slept through the night from 12 weeks. You get the point... They all want and need different things... Just go with it!
Say YES When People Offer to Help - Any guesses what I said when help was offered with my first baby!! I thought that to be a successful parents Sean and I needed to be able to do every thing on our own. Don't get me wrong, we still had family come to stay, but I micro managed everything. The grandparents had to follow my 'parenting rules', I stressed out when the dishwasher was loaded 'wrong', I felt like a failure when they settled Max for me, I even refolded all the clean towels after my mother in law left because they weren't done 'perfectly'. I laugh about it now, but really I was so tightly strung back then. Elliot was born six weeks ago and so far I have spent a total of four days on my own with the boys. Between my mum and mother-in-law staying with us, Sean taking annual leave and us spending time up the coast with Sean's parents I have had help the entire time. And it has been the best thing ever!! For the first four weeks I didn't have to cook a single meal or even wash my own clothes. The best part was that Max and Link had lots of attention and I didn't have to worry that they were missing out because of their new baby brother. When help is offered accept it graciously!! You won't regret it.
Listen to Your Mum (and Your Mother-in-Law) - I don't quite know where I got the massive chip on my shoulder from, but first time around I was convinced that I knew better than our mums. It didn't matter that they had both successfully raised two kids each, I was sure I knew more about looking after a baby. Turns out though they both had invaluable advice and were actually quite good at looking after babies and kids. Who would have thought!! Provided you had a happy childhood I highly recommend listening to your parents :).
Enjoy Yourself - Last but certainly not least, have fun. Enjoy the little moments! Babies and kids grow up so quickly. In the blink of an eye I've gone from having one tiny little newborn to having a four year old, an almost two year old and another brand new baby. No matter what you do, time will keep on keeping on, so make the most of the little moments. Enjoy your babies, they are little bundles of joy (even when they're screaming as you try to get the perfect photo!).
This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
Having trouble during nappy change time with a wriggly baby? Try BabyLove Nappy Pants - with no tabs to contend with, the 360-degree stretchy waist allows you to pull them up quickly and easily, so your active toddler can get back to action in no time! Request a sample.