The mothering thing is a minefield – to give advice or not, how to give advice and all that. I think usually advice is welcomed from friends, and a little harder to take from mothers in law. Especially when they’re telling you to give your baby water and trying to get her to eat avocado covered in salad dressing. At three months. Anyway, I wish the midwives at hospital had told me a few things that would’ve been useful, and saved me a whole lot of anguish at various times. So here’s my ‘getting started’ list, if anyone is as clueless as I was about how to look after a newborn. Feel free to add your own in the comments too…
1. Newborns are only good at being awake for about an hour, most of which (or all of which) they’ll spend feeding. So it’s pretty much eat, then go back to sleep. Nice, huh?
2. Don’t go for more than three hours from the start of your last breastfeed before giving another one. I let Bunny sleep (because I thought that’s what you did) for as long as she liked in hospital (one time over six hours), and that makes establishing your milk supply hard. New babies find it hard to wake themselves to ask for food, so you have to wake them sometimes.
3. When in doubt, feed.
4. Drink LOTS of water. I still don’t drink enough. I got so dehydrated after my op in hospital that the catheter bag was a dark, golden colour. The sort of colour that says ‘go to hospital’ on those dehydration charts. Except I was in hospital already. Thanks nurses. Another thing I think probably didn’t help my milk supply.
5. The thing you tried to get them to stop crying 30 minutes ago that didn’t work, might work now.
6. When in doubt, feed. Food makes everything better.