By no means am I an expert, but now that “I’ve been there” and enjoyed the first 6 weeks with our baby girl (how time flies!), here are a few things I’ve found super helpful – feel free to share with expecting and new mums!
On October 7th we welcomed baby Mialina into the world. She arrived early on Friday morning via C-section and was this tiny bundle of pure perfection. I just wanted to hold her, watch her sleep and be there for her. Looking at her perfect little self I cried many happy tears those first couple of days. I cannot believe she’s already 6 weeks old.
She’s been feeding well, I’ve been making sure to take a good probiotic supplement myself to get her little digestive system a boost and she’s been doing quite well. I’ve been absolutely delighted about this, although we’ve just been called into the doctor’s office as she has a mild case of hip dysplasia which is common in breeched babies – Cassandra shares her bubba’s hip journey here. We go in on Monday to see what needs to be done. :-/
By no means am I an expert, but now that I’ve been given the all clear myself and enjoyed the first 6 weeks with our baby girl (how time flies!), I thought I’d share are a few things I’ve found super helpful during the first 6 weeks of being at home with a newborn:
♥ Taking it easy if you can, because healing, being relaxed and getting to know yourbaby is more important than doing spring cleaning.
♥ Saying YES to offers of support and help from family is invaluable – it gives you time for a shower, a walk, a grocery run if you can – or someone to help you with one, a sleep. Basically some me time which helps keep you calmer and more in control at other times. Having someone who is willing to help out at night is also a good idea – even if it’s just for a couple of nights a week so that Mum and Dad can catch up on sleep (babies, even when they sleep well, can be quite noisy at night). Thanks Babcia!
♥ Having a pack of terry towelling nappies on hand to protect the change table cover from explosive poos, cover yourself in case of spit ups or to place under the baby to protect the sheets in the bassinet and cot – it makes midnight or pram spit ups that much easier to clean up.
♥ Receiving a delivery of my very own ‘Stoop‘ (visit Shelley at Home Heart Health for one) which is a little step that can be placed under your feet when pooping to simulate a more natural position for bowel motion – the squat. Especially helpful following labour, c-section or abdominal surgery such as hernias and such a thoughtful gift from Shelley herself. It’s also great for anyone suffering from constipation. A must have!
♥ Speaking of pot plants… Adding greenery to the interior when moments outside are so far and few in between during those first weeks home with a newborn can help make you happy. I purchased my Watermelon Peperonia in the beautiful concrete pot from Poly and the Wren to help bring the outside in.
♥ Cooking in bulk and recycling meals is great for saving time in the kitchen when schedules are so unpredictable. This goes for keeping Mum well-fed as well. Ready-cooked quinoa or rice are great as a base of many meals also.
♥ Investing in a breast pump (handy for when you need someone else to feed bub while you go get things done). I got a Medela Swing Maxi which is good but the batteries drain quite quickly and the bottles are a touch leaky at the closure, a bit inconvenient, so read reviews before committing to one. If you prefer hands-free pumping, grab a cheap stretchy crop top or soft nursing bra from somewhere like Kmart or Target and using a paper cutter cut a 1inch-long slit across where your nipple sits and where you’ll insert the flange. Doing this instead of buying a special pumping bra can save you a lot of $!
♥ Trying different bottles for bottle-feeding or when you’re expressing – we went through three different types which Mia liked all of, it was just a case of finding the ones that she was the least gassy using. We love Dr Brown’s glass bottle using a premie teat which is slower-flowing, the Mimijumi and the Cherub Baby glass bottles.
♥ Getting a free white noise app for an old ipod (left in flight mode) has worked wonders at times and saved us money, effort and the need to purchase additional baby stuff.
♥ Saying NO to visitors when the timing is not right. It’s a hard one, but there will be plenty of opportunity to show your little bundle of joy off to family and friends. Too many visitors can make babies overtired as their attention span is only short and can put added stress on new mums.
♥ Googling for advice can open a can of worms (hello self-doubt and confusion). Everyone you speak to has an opinion on what to do and what not to do. Read, listen but you don’t have to take it all on board – some of the advice will be conflicting even, so tune into your baby and do what feels best for her, for you and for your situation.
♥ Cleaning your baby’s delicate bum with water and wash cloths works best at nappy change time. I’ve read so many baby wipe reviews trying to find the best and safest wipes after Mia’s bum got a nasty case of rash – it turns out most wipes cause a reaction in some babies. It turns out Mia had a severe reaction to Gaia natural baby wipes and it took a good week to clear up. I wasn’t going to test any others on her. Since then, it’s just been water and washers for us (when going out we’ve been keeping a wet wash cloth in a zip lock bag or taking paper towels with us the same way). Aromababy Barrier Balm and The Aromatherapy Co Baby Botty Balm have been fantastic at clearing the rash and helping protect her skin.
♥ Lastly, I had the pleasure of working with naturopath Anthia Koullouros on her new ebook and as a little thank you I was gifted a box of Ovvio Organic Peace Bambino tea which is fantastic because it helps calm the baby and their little tummies as well as helping increase milk supply for breastfeeding mums. I’ve actually been mixing it with a little dandelion coffee and almond milk. It’s quite delicious that way and great to enjoy during some me time!
My aim has always been to breast feedso with that in mind while I was still in hospital I asked my Mum and Matt to bring me a couple of things that would help the milk come in, hopefully sooner, and help with the milk supply going forward. Thank goodness my milk came in 56 hours after Mia was born because she was starting to get “hangry”. I was elated and she quickly went from a place of distress to one of fullness and comfort.
Breastfeeding regularly and often from the get go helps the milk come in early – I fed every 4 hours on the recommendation of the doctors which I didn’t think was often enough but I did what I was told.
I also supported this by drinking, from the moment I could:
- 1 cup of Ovvio Organic Peace Bambino tea day, then later on 1-3 cups Mother’s Milk Tea
- 1 cup of green Lactation Smoothie (recipe and ingredients below)
- 3 liters of water within every 24 hours
The tea and the smoothie are fantastic, but you can overdo on the good thing which can lead to breast engorgement and mastitis so once your milk is in reduce the quantity to a cup a day, alternating which one you have.
Lactation smoothie recipe
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 1/4 cup cooked oat porridge
- handful baby spinach leaves
- 1/4 ripe avocado
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 1/2 small banana
- Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Enjoy half. Transfer the other half to a bottle and store in the fridge for upto 24 hours, shake well before consuming.