I remember spending a glorious five days in the hospital following the c-section birth of my son. It was a really nice hospital with a private suite with a flat-screen TV, decent food and even a massage and spa service. You read that right. I could order a freaking pedicure — and I did. I was in a safe cocoon of baby love and people who were waiting on me, but the fact that I was a brand new single mum didn’t escape me. As much as I wanted to be independent and too cool for school when I got home, I waved the white flag and asked for help. Here’s how I handled the first few weeks home alone with my brand new mini-me …
1. Ask for help. You likely had someone at your side when you delivered and the nurse was there to take your screaming baby into the nursery so you could catch some Zzzzs. As you ease into single motherhood, accept and ask for help. My mum slept over my apartment the first week I brought my son Jack home and my dad was basically a round-the-clock chef. I welcomed girlfriends (with pizza!) over to visit and grabbed a quick shower while they argued over who could hold my son first. Trust me, it’s not a sign of weakness — even if you signed up to be a single mum or whatever your circumstances may be. It doesn’t always take a daddy in the home — but it does take a village!
2. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Duh, this is excellent, tried-and-true advice for all new mums, but single mums should really crawl into bed when their newborn is napping no matter what time it is, or how many dishes are in the sink. Here’s why: There’s no one to tag team with in the night. You’ll be changing a nappy, then feeding your baby, then rocking your baby back to sleep — if your baby even goes back to sleep. You’re a one woman circus now, so rest up whenever you can, because you’re on every two hours in the night those first couple of months.
3. Have someone take pictures of you with your baby. Professional newborn portraits are great, but you’ll also want to capture everyday moments with your baby. I was notorious for making family and friends take photos of Jack and me doing mundane things, like him sleeping on my chest while I lounged in mismatched jammies on the couch, or ones of me hovering over the kitchen sink making a cone of bubbles atop his perfect little head during bath time. If you don’t have family and friends take these random pics, you’ll end up with a zillion, adorable photos of just the baby. You’ll want mummy and me snaps to look back at. (Six years later, I still ask strangers in the park to take pictures of us swinging!)
4. Give yourself a break. When Jack was a month old I accepted an invitation to have brunch with my girlfriend. My mum was excited to have her grandson all to herself for an extended period of time and I was, quite frankly, thrilled to have a mimosa and salad with my pal. I have tons of married mum friends and their supportive husbands watch their baby while mum gets a Sunday pedi or goes shopping. Single newbie mums especially deserve time to clear their heads and relax sans baby — you have my word!
More tips for single mums:
- 10 Things Only Single Mums Get
- 8 Guys Reveal How They Feel About Dating Single Mums
- What it’s Like to Be Single & Dating As a Breastfeeding Mum