Newborn Time can be quite a shock to a Newborn Mother. It takes time to develop a workable relationship with this new time zone and get realistic about what to expect.
Basically Newborn Time is long periods of boredom (when your baby is feeding or fussy) punctuated by short bursts of activity (when your baby is asleep or happy awake).
When your hands are free you race around the house trying to do a million things - eat, shower, sleep, clean, check emails, pay a bill… It’s hard to know where to start. And then your baby needs you again and you are back to the monotony of your newborn's schedule. It can really test your patience and your sanity.
Occasionally your baby will sleep for a loooong time, but you never know when that will be. It can screw with your head not having any control over time anymore - or even your whole life.
Here’s some suggestions to get you through the jet lag!
1. Write Your Tasks Down
Those hours of feeding and rocking and holding a sleeping baby can be anxiety inducing if you have your head full of all the things you need to DO, but you can’t actually do them. The best thing you can do is get them out of your head. Have a notepad or a black board or your phone nearby and write things down when you think of them.
2. Delegate, Outsource, Prioritise, Ask For Help
You are not the only person in the world who can do the things on your list. Let your ego go for a moment and get help. Think of everyone else who could do a task on that list and ask them! If you need help with asking for help then watch my free videos.
3. Take Advantage Of Ten Minutes
You know when your baby is milk drunk after a feed and will nod off for a few minutes? Use that time! They often wake up for the second side but in the meantime you’ve had time for a glass of water or a trip to the toilet alone - bliss!
When you do have your hands free consult your list. Let’s face it - your brain is now mush. You can hardly remember your children’s name let alone the minor domestic task you’d planned to accomplish. Your list can take the place of your AWOL short term memory.
Just get one small thing done and be PROUD! You may need to lower your standards of what it takes to make you feel accomplished!
4. Use The Happy Awake Time
As a first time mum I didn’t realise I could shower when my baby was awake - now I just take the baby rocker into the bathroom with me. Of course you want to take some time to appreciate those baby smiles, but happy awake time is a great time to take a do some yoga or let your baby learn to play independently without constant entertainment.
Janet Lansbury writes a lot about cultivating free play from birth on her brilliant blog. Take a read on 5 Ways to Make the Early Days with Babies More Peaceful, Joyful and Magical and 7 Myths That Discourage Independent Play.
5. Don’t Check On Your Sleeping Baby
Babies grunt and groan a lot in their sleep. They hiccup and fart and squeak and as a mother you are biologically primed to be super sensitive to even the tiniest sigh.
Resist the urge to run to your baby every time they make a sound. Your baby will cry long and loud when they really need your attention. If you hear a wriggle or a snore step away from the cot and get on with your day.
Sometimes your noisy baby is still asleep, or can get themselves back to sleep without your help. Sometimes your baby is awake and happy (see above) so there is no need to pick them up unless you want to.
It can help to go outside and hang out the laundry - you may be surprised to find that your baby is asleep when you get back. And you just ticked something off your to-do list - congratulations!
6. Get A Good Baby Carrier
I put this one down with a caveat. Don’t carry your baby until your body is strong. Get checked out by a physio and chiro, preferably with your baby carrier. Make sure your hips are stable, your back is strong and your pelvic floor and core strength are switching on when you need them. Generally recovery from pregnancy and childbirth takes 6 weeks, so only carry your baby for short bursts before then and really tune in to your body as otherwise you can cause long term problems.
7. Boost Your Oxytocin
No one tells you how boring life can be with a newborn. Tasks are very repetitive and our culture is very isolating. You may go days without using your brain and feel like you are achieving nothing at all! In fact you are achieving a lot, but it will take time to reveal itself. When your baby grows up you’ll see that in retrospect you did a great job and it all feels worth it in the end.
But in the short-term your best strategy for coping with the tedium is to increase your oxytocin. Oxytocin increases your tolerance of monotony and boredom and makes you want to spend more time with your baby. If you are unsure of how to increase your oxytocin watch my free videos.