The first 6 weeks after the birth of your new baby is difficult. This here sleep deprivation hits you like a subway train traveling 100 miles per hour. Survive the first six weeks and you can survive anything.
Hopefully by 6 weeks your baby starts to sleep a bit longer at night. For us, our children were formula fed, at 6 weeks they started sleeping 7-8 hours per night. I want to offer you up 5 tips for making it through the first 6 weeks as a new parent and how to not just survive this period, but how to thrive.
1. Be mentally prepared - Get mentally prepared and understand that it is going to be hard. But decide right now to take it in your stride and to push through no matter how difficult it will be.
2. Make good friends with caffeine - Although caffeine won't stop you from being tired, it makes you believe that you can survive the day. You are likely going to be so tired that 20 cups per day won't help you. But a warm cup of coffee or an energy drink will make you feel 10 times better.
3. Work as a team - Working as a team will make life easier for both of you. Alternate night feeds so that you both get a little bit of sleep and if she is breast feeding get her to express so that you can bottle feed at night time. Help with the house work, help with changing the nappies and give baby lots and lots of cuddles. Be a support for your partner and work together to help each other.
4. Understand that it won't always be this bad - The first 6 weeks are the hardest, but it gets easier after that. Once your baby starts sleeping through the night it becomes incredibly fun. You will stop being so sleep deprived and your baby will start giving you more love back. They will start smiling, laughing and loving your company.
5. Eat well and exercise - Eating well and exercising will keep your energy levels up even when you are tired. Lots of vegetables and fruit and avoid processed foods. For exercise go for walks, maybe even a casual jog. Take the pram and take your baby for a walk and let your spouse sleep in.
The first 6 weeks are far from hell, you will have a great time getting to know your new baby and getting lots of cuddles. Enjoy the first 6 weeks and do you best to get your baby sleeping through the night as soon as possible. It is the good nights sleep that will help you be the best present you can be.