Being a new mum can be hard. Scrap that. Being a new mum IS hard. It’s a given. When our bubs arrived he was very much wanted and changed our world for the better. We love him to pieces but I can’t deny that our first few months were hell as I struggled to work out all the breastfeeding issues.
I never knew what real exhaustion felt like before he was born. The thought of another level beyond that if you have twins or more than one child makes me anxious just thinking about it.
In those first few months, there is so much to learn. It can be overwhelming and can make you irritable and surprisingly snappy but you will find a rhythm that works for you. Eventually. So to all those new mums out there, hang in there. It gets easier.
Eleven months in, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for a few of these so called ‘teething issues’ with being a first time mum. I thought it would be helpful to share a draft schedule of timings that have worked well for me but to also show the rest of the world, just what goes through the brain of a new mumma! When I was contemplating life as a future mum-to-be, I would have found this extremely helpful to give me some insight into what to expect when one was expecting. Even for current mummas struggling to fit everything in and who are trying to bring back some order to their day, you may find this helpful.
Bear in mind that these there are not set in stone. Nothing seems to be lasting with baby schedules and every baby is different. But sticking to a (very loose) schedule has really been helpful for me. Sometimes bubs drops the 3am feed which is utter bliss but by this point, my body has adjusted to wake up regardless so it’s short-lived bliss. I’ll take what I can get!
I - For whatever reason, it feels like my next day begins the moment my head hits the pillow. Oh wait. That’s because it does. One day bleeds into the next when you don’t get to sleep…
11:00pm - Dreamfeed. Bubs is basically asleep for this feed and this little top up puts him back to sleep.If only I could eat while napping...
3am - Sometimes he squeals for comfort and no amount of cuddles can pacify him. Even the dummy becomes the enemy. It’s time to call on the superhero - this is a job for the boob! A quick 5 minute feed seems to pass his high standards for love and attention and soothes him back to sleep (for now).
6.30am - The day doesn’t start off as planned. There are no sounds of tweeting birds or soothing massages from my husband. It starts with construction work across the road and my hubby accidentally elbowing me as he rolls out of bed late for work. I crank up the white noise LOUD so (fingers crossed) bubs doesn’t stir. If I’m lucky, he drifts into a deep sleep for a while longer.
9.00am - Bubs wakes for another feed or will just lay in his cot, giggling and singing to himself. Moment of pure bliss and all is temporarily forgotten from the night before as I avoid looking at myself in the mirror in fear of seeing black holes for eyes.
9.01am - Moment is over. I pop bubs into the spare bassinet in the bath tub so I can have a quick bathroom break and shower. Then it’s onto breaky.
9.20am - He has started eating solids so I’ll give him some purees and finger food. World War 3 has erupted on my kitchen floor. Tip - it’s good to get into the habit of bubs eating whatever you are eating so you don’t have to make different food. Trying to train bubs early to be a not-fussy garbage disposal unit for whatever future kitchen disasters I’m bound to create as I experiment with my cooking to appease to his growing taste buds (and appetite).
10am - The dreaded errand run ensures. Try to look presentable for fellow civilians. Check mirror to find breakfast in my hair. Check over nappy bag to make sure I have enough supplies for the day. You never what adventures await! Tip - always pack more than you need. Once I was down to my last nappy & well, that is a whole other story. You do not, I repeat, you do not want to be forced to try and ration nappies. Pack snacks for yourself to avoid sacrificing your retirement savings to a particulate fast food outlet with golden arches.
10.30am - Depending on the day of the week, I may even find myself attempting to be social. We’ll do something like either a Mum’s group, a walk, playgroup, caffeine injection or a grandparent visit. Go me, being all social and all...
11:30am - Social outing cut short. Bubs calls for a nap or lunch depending on his mood or where we are. Sleep happens between 30mins - 2 hours (2 hours is rare and only if he’s had a really big morning. Note to self - have more big mornings).
Noon (or whenever he wakes up) - Time for a bit of lunch (solids or breast-feed or both).
1pmish - Remind myself I need to eat too. Playtime or we go for a walk/playdate/swim until he is tired again and so I put him down for nap. Beginning to ponder if I exist for the sole purpose of simply feeding this child and wearing him out so he can sleep??
3.30pm - Try to do all the housework. Impossible. You can’t possibly do 8 months of housework in one afternoon. Succeed in getting one load of laundry on the line because we’ve all run out of underwear. This is a victory. I appreciate your applause.
4.30pm - When he wakes up it’s time for me to start cooking dinner so I’ll leave him in his highchair to play or with something on the floor so he can roll around and practice crawling. Bless him.
6.30pm - Daddy is finally home after a very long day. Dinner is still not ready. Daddy is very hungry. I reply by handing over bubs for some playtime, then proceed to finish cooking dinner. Then it’s Dad’s turn to feed him some solids, give him a bath and maybe read him a story.
A note on dinner cooking. If I’ve been organised I do a big cook up on Monday to last for dinner the next day. Wednesday’s we go to a friends place for dinner. I’ll then cook on Thursdays for both that night and Friday night. Hubby cooks Saturday and we normally go out with friends on Sunday night and try to have at least one date night a month.
7pm - I’ll give bubs a breastfeed and then put him down to bed. Most nights this stretches to 8pm.
Beyond 8pm - We finally get to finish (or start) our dinner, have a quick catch up, try to do some chores and hit a brick wall at about 9pm.
Obviously this is not a strict schedule. I try to give myself some time in the morning to decide what adventure we’re going to get up to that day just for fun regardless of how little or big it is. This helps to keep me sane and it’s great having some fun tales to tell bub’s dad rather than just “bubs tried to eat the drawstrings of his shorts today.”