Surviving those first few months

Last updated 13:29 27/02/2012

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Ian Munro

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You may have noticed a bit of a theme to my columns during the last couple of weeks.

They've tended to be about littlies, very little littlies.

And that's because both our daughters have newborns and, therefore, babies are preoccupying our minds and hearts at the moment.

So one more column on that theme resulting from last week's visit across the ditch to catch up with our youngest and their first child.

You forget over the years just how much time and energy a newborn really takes.

You remember that it does, but just not how much.

While some quality sleep is top of the essentials, it isn't always possible, and a sense of humour seems to be the next best help to carrying you through. If you can laugh about changing a nappy for the third time in 15 minutes, you'll probably make it.

That aside, it's really important to schedule some time for yourself, even half an hour, at some point each day.

Easy to say, a little harder to do, but something worth forcing yourself into making happen.

And not just for catching up on a few chores but something you enjoy doing – a walk, some other form of exercise, or perhaps a read or a spot of gardening.

To maintain your health and well-being, keep exercised and properly fed and watered yourself.

If you start feeling run-down, get a checkup. Take care with lifting and carrying – you'll be no use to anyone if you injure your back in some way.

Try for some sleep or at least a rest when baby sleeps – yes, it might be nice to catch up on some things that need doing, but you'll handle the rest of the day better if you feel a bit fresher. In fact, limit housework to the essentials for those first months. Or let Mum or mother-in-law get on and do it.

A slow cooker is ideal for preparing some main meals in bulk that can then be frozen in meal-sized portions. Coupled with a rice cooker, you're set for when you just don't have the time or energy to even think about what to have for dinner let alone prepare it.

If there's a local parents' group – join. Sometimes they can be undermining if there's a culture of "my Mary's smarter than your Jane" but, equally, you can get friendship, advice, support and maybe some reciprocal babysitting.

Above all else, keep in touch with your partner. Don't let baby push him out. Both be involved.

Dads are quite capable of bathing baby, nappy changing, getting up at night and vacuuming, when push comes to shove. And find ways to spend some time together.

© Ian Munro 2012. All rights reserved.

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