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Thread: coping alone in the first few weeks...

  1. #1

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    Red face coping alone in the first few weeks...

    hi all

    i would like to get some opinions/advice/experiences from mummys whove been in a similar situation...



    DP works a casual job, therefore has no annual/sick leave accrued for when bubs comes. we tried to get him onto full time ages ago but thats a whole other story..

    There is only him and 1 other staff at his work and they work opposite shifts (DP does 6am-1pm, other bloke does 12noon-7pm), so the most DP can possibly get off work when bubs arrives is maybe 1 or 2 days (the other bloke will have to do double shifts to cover for DP), which im planning on him being with me during my labour (planning on just him and me being there, not keen on having other family /friends there).

    So pretty much i will be on my own from day 1 with bubs, from about 5am-2pm 6 days a week...ideally he has said he will get up to help with a night feed to ease the burden on me but im not sure if that promise will hold, so if hes going to bed at around 11pm each night, i will technically be coping with bubs on my own from 11pm at night, to 2pm the next day when he gets home.

    him getting any time off is out of the question not only money wise but he cant get anyone to cover him, and having my mum stay cant happen cause she works full time...so i was wondering how many of you mummys have done this? pretty much looked after bubs by yourself from day 1? i mean yes, he will be home in the arvos/evenings which will be a big help but i am pretty scared about being the sole caregiver for baby 3/4 of the day, most of my friends had thier partner home for the first week or two so they could get into the swing of things.

    any advice would be great! thanks

  2. #2
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    My dp was home for the first week, and i still found it hard to cope (after he went back to work).

    things i wish i had done:
    - frozen heaps of sandwiches, cooked up bulk lots of stews, casseroles, etc and parcelled them up into meal sizes, stocked up freezer like that. i think i assumed this would just "happen" and it didn't. A new mum needs healthy food, i didn't have the ability to make that happen, with a nb.

    - paid for a cleaner to come in once a week, even if only for one hour. Everyone says "just leave the cleaning". that's BS - you just can't leave ALL of it. the counters get full of dirty dishes pretty quickly. The wet areas become unhealthy if they never get cleaned. So get the cleaner to do the most pressing areas e.g bathroom, toilet, kitchen. If they take an hour each, get them done in rotation. so each gets done once every three weeks. but cleaners are very quick, you may get all three done in an hour. (we live in a tiny unit, so i may be biased).

    - if any visitors utter the words "can i help", take them up on this, e.g yes, could you do the dishes please? not be proud like i was.

    - sleep whenever you can. stuff anyone who judges you for that.

    - contact the local aba and try to get email support from them, if you are unable to get to meetings. breastfeeding support is crucial esp in the early stages.


    i don't have family either.
    it's so hard when you don't have family to help you.

    Everyone is different though. You might score a baby who sleeps more than mine did. and if YOU get some sleep, you become a different person. You might have an easy birth and feel physically fine pretty promptly.

    Even if dh is not home, make lists, get him to shop for the things you cannot get out to shop for (if you are feeling tender e.g after c-section, when it's not advised to drive until six weeks anyhoo).
    If that doesn't work out, shop for groceries online. it's dearer, but convenient.

    Have important numbers written out near the phone, or on the short dial.

    build up your on line networks - they were my life line. I often had no-one else to ask. everyone you meet, assumes you have a mother to ask, a motherinlaw to to ask. but not all of us do.

    for new mums, there is aba local groups, playgroups, but that assumes you can get there - and you won't know that until you're in the situation. are they in waslking distance? are you ok to leave the house with bub? etc.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigi View Post

    things i wish i had done:
    - frozen heaps of sandwiches, cooked up bulk lots of stews, casseroles, etc and parcelled them up into meal sizes, stocked up freezer like that. i think i assumed this would just "happen" and it didn't. A new mum needs healthy food, i didn't have the ability to make that happen, with a nb.
    thats a good idea, heard it a few times but never really sunk in...gonna sound really dumb but can u cook up and freeze just about any dinner meals? like spag bol, tuna mornay etc?? and if so how long will they keep for in the freezer? i do cook dinner everynight but we only buy small meat portions and never have any leftovers so never had to cook/freeze/defrost anything before....

  4. #4

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    I was home alone with a 10-day old baby. Before that I was in hospital apart from one weekend when DH was around anyway.

    I found it quite easy, but then I bought cakes. I did stock up pre-birth on food I'd cooked and frozen too. And some friends made me meals. DH also washed up: I'd save all the washing up all day for him. And DS slept quite a bit in the day so I found life a LOT easier without DH around thinking we could "do things" - yeah right like I want to go out for a walk or go shopping right now!

    It's easier if you go out while still pg and find mothers' groups and coffee mornings. That way people pop round and because they have fairly young children they remember that you need help so will just muck in and do it!

    You can freeze just about any meal, it will last about 3 months. Probably more but mine don't last more! Stews, any sort of pie (including cottage and fish pies with no pastry in just mash potato), pasta sauces including bolognase sauce... pasta doesn't freeze too well though.

    I have family nearby, well, in-laws, who don't want to have anything to do with us unless I force it. So people see SiL getting so much help from her mum and our MiL and assume I get the same. That hurts!

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    TM I don't know where you live but there are companies that provide this service. Our BIL & SIL bought us a voucher from a local company that provides frozen ready to eat meals and it was seriously one of the best and absolutely THE most thoughtful gift we received. If there is someone who wants to buy you a gift but doesn't know what to get, you could suggest this. The company for us was Gourmet Dinner Service, they are in Sydney - try googling to see if they are available in your area.

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    Even though my then DF had time off work, a lot of that time I was in hospital (5 nights after the birth). We came home on a Sat night he & his mates spent most of that night socialising with neighbours while all the girls & I fussed around my son. He was around for the Sunday, Monday & Tuesday but then back to work on the Wednesday.

    I also had the added stress of having his 5 yo daughter with us for a week from when I got home (it was school holidays) so I was a first time mum not knowing how to do anything with a newborn (his daughter was 2 when we got together so I knew no baby stuff) but having all the responsibilities of a second time mum.

    I coped pretty well I reckon. I had huge breast feeding issues & spent most of my time feeding him or pumping. He projectile vomitted after all feeds so I had huge piles of washing and was constantly having to clean the carpet, the couch, etc etc but I managed OK.

    I also had a slight problem in that my mum got sick and was in hospital with an infection 2 days after the birth (probably caught off my son who had one too) so she couldn't be around to help me and that had been the plan.

    You just have to make the most of what you've got. Take any help anyone offers you. My MIL did housework & laundry for me. Have some meals frozen ahead of time. My mum prepared heaps for me. When people visit let them make cups of coffee themselves.

    I didn't even find getting up for feeds in the night all that bad - it was just part of being a new mum (I actually find it much harder now that I'm back at work though).

    You need to sleep when bubs does.

    Don't stress about your house being a mess. People don't expect a tidy house when they visit & if you are lucky some will help tidy up.

    Don't feel bad if you realise it's 1pm & you haven't got around to having breakfast yet.... just aim to do better the next day. Most new mums will skip meals at some stage just because they are so busy tending to bubs that they don't realise how much time has flown by.

    I dealt with all the night time stuff because my ex was working and needed sleep. I dealt with all the day time stuff cos he was at work. I'm now a single mum and to be honest I don't feel like I'm doing that much more in relation to child care than what I was when he was around.... he just did the token nappy change or feed & held him or played with him.

    To be honest I've never understood the saying that everyone says "the first 6 weeks are the hardest" because for me they just weren't. It was all new & exciting, despite all the challenges. I was never sleep deprived (though I am now that my son is 9 months old & teething).

    I'm sure you'll be fine. It can seem daunting at times but it just takes time for you and bubs to get into a routine and things that seem hard at first become second nature in no time.
    Last edited by satya; March 28th, 2009 at 08:03 AM.

  7. #7

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    this exact same thing happened to me. I will be back later to let you know how i have been coping- the ups and downs...

  8. #8

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    Sounds like the ladies in here have given you some brilliant advice . No advice from me, just lots of . You will have your belly buddies ladies with you from day 1 hopefully offering truckloads of support .

  9. #9

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    hun, i'm going to be in a similar situation and have been trying to get my head around it big time! my DH is a truckie that works away between 5 and 10 days at a stretch. my plan is to cook up a heap of food (we're still catching up now on all the food we lost when the fires went through) - i do have family semi locally (20-30k's away) that i can call on if i really need it, but i am planning on trying to do everything myself. we bought a heap of plastic meal sized containers. cooking up heaps of casseroles and stews and things. one day a week i'll go to mum's for something "different" for dinner, but the rest of the time i'll be doing it solo. school holidays start soon down here, and my niece and my aunt both love cooking but neither have real skills, so both will come out - we'll have four slow cookers on the go (they are your best friend cos you can cook up to a dozen meals at once!) - and we'll just buy bulk meat and veg and cook it all up into meals. thankfully, this is something i'm used to doing as we do it for DH all the time.

    DH will leave within a fortnight i think, and as much as his boss will try to get him home a bit more, i understand that he'll be away a fair bit and this is something we have to get used to.

    my plan is to make sure i stay on top of the baby's washing while DH is away - i have enough for myself that i can wash once a week without a drama. so if that has to wait for DH to be home, so be it.

    i have already said to my mum she is welcome to visit Gremlin whenever she wants, but i won't be waiting on her. if she is here, she can make her own cuppas etc. if she is feeling helpful (she's not particularly healthy so i won't push it) she can help out around here. my sil already does this when she visits...

  10. #10

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    Okay now that DD is settled I can post. This will probably be long!!

    My situation- My DP works 2 jobs. He works his first job 8am-1.30pm and then he comes home to have a shower, get some lunch and then goes to his second job that starts at 3pm-11pm and then gets home at about midnight. So he is at home basically 8 hours total and that is mainly to sleep and shower. DP got 2 days/nights off work (and I was in hospital at this time). The day he came to pick us up, he had to go off to work that arvo for his night job.

    My mum and step dad came down from Qld but didnt stay with me. Mum just came round for a couple of hours during the day to help. I needed to get use to being by myself as quickly as I could but it was nice knowing that at least mum was in the same city if I was desperate.

    Lonliness- Mum and dad left Sydney to go back to Qld after 7 days and I cried the entire day that they left (I hadnt cried at all before then). I suddenly felt really alone. DP working 24/7 and my parents a state away. It is long days by myself...it is lonely and I find that even though I have two dogs and a baby, I do feel quite alone. My mum calls me everyday and DP calls me a few times a day but I feel sad taht he is missing out on seeing his daughter. He can go a couple of days without even holding her once because she is asleep when he gets home and I know this sounds slack but i dont want him to pick her up when she is asleep as I am the one who has to settle her again. He will just give her a kiss.

    Eating- Meals are hard. Some days, I have had weetbix for brunch and dinner (no time for breakfast sometimes) and even having the energy to cook something is hard, esp when trying to settle a baby at night. Definitely take Rosehip Fairy's advice and get some meals cooked up in advance. Last night I ordered Chinese as I was so hungry and juist couldnt cook, or settle DD. However by the time I got to eat it, it had gone cold (thank goodness for microwaves).

    In saying the above, it is not all bad. Not all days are shockers, most days DD is very good. Sometimes it will be that she is great during the day and shocking at night, or shocking during the day and great at night. Still less than 3 weeks so early days still.

    Cleaning- If you came to my house, it is clean and tidy. I make sure that I do jobs during the day when I can. We dont have money for a cleaner. We dont have a dishwasher but each night I will wash up. I will also put a load of washing on at night and hang it out on the air dryers, then in the morning put the air dryers outside. I find if I do a small load everyday it doesnt become a massive task. I also still manage to iron DP's work shirt and make his lunch everyday for him to take. So I think I am doing quite well for being by myself. I also feel really proud of myslef when I get stuff done around the house. If my house is tidy then I feel good.

    Showering- I also make sure I shower and get out of my pj's as soon as I can in the morning. At night time once she is asleep, I go and run a bath and soak in there for 15minutes. That is my me time at the end of the day and I love that I still manage to get that, so make sure you have something that you want to do and try to do it every day or every second day.

    Shopping- I just cant do groceries. Its to hard. I put dd in the pouch the other day and went to coles but could only get a basket of things and even that was a mission. DP will do the shopping on the weekend and I'll just have to make do during the week. Although I am in the fortunate position that I can walk up to my local shops and grab one or two things I need if I am desperate.

    Coping strategies- Get out of the house every day, even if it is just to walk your baby in the pram. It is good for the sanity levels to get out of the house and bhe in the freesh air, Talk on the phone to someone each day, Do something for yourself each day, cook in advance, talk about how you are feeling (PM me anytime- dont keep it bottled up if you arent coping because PND could kick in), enjoy the special time you have with your little one (you'll never get it back so make the most of it).

    I will try and write more later, but I think I have written enough for you to think about for a little while and I also need to go and have a shower whilst DD is asleep LOL!

    Big and remember it will all be okay

  11. #11

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    hey TM i was in a simalar situation when we had DD and will be again this time around.
    I honestly dont know how i did it, but i did lol, i know fat load of help i am!!
    Once u get used to your babies routine (supposing ur doing the baby led routine) its alot easier for u to organise things like cooking and cleaning, definetly pre cook alot of meals before bubs gets here and even grab some of the frozen meals from the shops incase u run out, they arent hugely tasty but they do the job! and stuff the house work for the first few weeks....who cares! so long as u and bubs have clean clothes, thats all that matters (if u dont have a dryer i'd highly reccomend investing in one!)
    I know useless post really, but for some reason our coping mechanism kicks into overdrive when we have kids and things seem to happen without us realising it!!
    Also tell your midwives and MCHN who come for house visits, they may offer u some more visits seeings as though you'll be alone. not so much for the babies sake but more for your wellbeing.

  12. #12
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    my dp didnt have any time off when dd was born, he had the day she was born, and the next off. i came home on a friday afternoon, so we had the afternoon and weekend just the 3 of us which was great. by the time monday morning came, i was ready to tackle this new mummy business!!!

    i found my dd was a big sleeper, and even though i was told ''sleep when the baby does'' i couldnt just switch off and nap unless i was beyond tired i couldnt function. We spent a lot of time sitting on the couch breastfeeding,so i armed myself with some dvds, the remote, snack & drink, house & mobile phone, diary/notepad/pen and baby book. and if she went off to sleep, id just slide her off onto te couch and curl up and watch the tv. for me, relaxing was as good as sleep!
    i found too, that gave me the energy to get up and chuck some washing on! i would fold washing or hang it on the clothes airers with dd on a blanket on the floor next to me.

    I kept all dd's clothes/nappies etc in the lounge room, because thats where we always were. there was no point putting her clothes away in her room, when iw as downstairs all day!
    you'll find things that will help youon your way. like others have said, if someone offers any help, they mean it! askthem to chuck the wet clothes in a basket for you, or take out the rubbish bag when they leave or grab you a litre of milk on their way over.

    im not saying its going to be easy, but i went into it thinking 'i can do this!' dont put expectations on yourself to have a clean house all the time, all you need is clothes and food! who cares if the clean clothes are in a big pile on the arm chair! i say take each day as it comes, you may have some good days and bad days. dont be afraid to speak up if you need help hun!

  13. #13

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    Thanks so much for all your advice!
    I knew there were people who'd done the same thing but I needed to hear it!

    Definately gonna stock up on the frozen food!!! Will try rope my mum into cooking some stews as she has a slow cookers, ill do a few batches of spag bol and tuna mornay etc, and DP...well he can keep Dominos on speed dial LOL

    I was mostly worried about house upkeep as im a total neat freak...I think I will hav to talk DP into doing dishes, that's my most hated task, clothes washing is easy (yep my mum got us a clothes dryer for baby shower!) and I can vac every couple days....out whole house is tiled which helps.

    And yes I was also worried about the 'sleep when baby sleeps' thing...I am a terrible sleeper and no matter how tired I am I can never nap...so perhaps slobbing on the couch is a good idea

    I know DP won't expect everything done, but I bet he will have this look on his face like "what did u actually do today"... but as long as he has a clean work shirt and dinner he can stuff the rest!

    As for visitors, all my friends pretty much abandoned me when I got pg (was a big party girl)...both my best friends work full time and live 20-30 mins drive away, and 1 of them has a toddler too so I hardly see them as it is...so my only visitor will prob be my mum once or twice a week.

    I spose its consollation that DP only works 5 mins up the road so if I NEEDED him I can drive up there, but I just really don't know how well it'll work...most days when he finishes he locks himself in his shed and plays guitar for a few hrs, I feel like its his reward for workin all day but im sure once I have bubs ill be saying "too bloody bad I've had no break today so u don't get one!!"

  14. #14

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    You have lots of good advice (and support too!) from everyone already. I will just add a couple of things that I can remember from DD being newborn. My DH works in remote areas so has a roster of two weeks on, two weeks off so I am alone for half of each month, and that included after DD's birth.

    If you drive, make time as soon as you can, to take a trip in the car with someone, but with you doing all the work, as if you were alone. A grocery trip is a good one, because then you can also practice using the trolley bassinets, loading up at the car etc. Just having someone else there the first time is a massive confidence booster that you'll be able to do it alone, and the ability to get out and about will sometimes save your sanity.

    Cooking for one is not much fun, and hard if you're at the end of a long day. It's great if you are organised enough to be prepared in advance and freeze stuff, but if not, my tip is the packets of individual frozen vege mix (crap can't remember the brand) a bag of frozen mashed potato ( it's quite good, much better than powdered stuff) and some sort of frozen chicken/salmon/whatever. Together, it makes a healthy meal and only takes about 2mins for each in the microwave.

    I think it will all be so exciting for you, you will probably forget to be scared

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrystalBoo View Post
    Cooking for one is not much fun, and hard if you're at the end of a long day. It's great if you are organised enough to be prepared in advance and freeze stuff, but if not, my tip is the packets of individual frozen vege mix (crap can't remember the brand) a bag of frozen mashed potato ( it's quite good, much better than powdered stuff) and some sort of frozen chicken/salmon/whatever. Together, it makes a healthy meal and only takes about 2mins for each in the microwave.
    hhaha i already use these...call me slack but it saves so much time and pots and pans

    just rang DP and told him im gonna be cooking up some stuff to freeze...hes like, oh i will cook one or two nights a week....lol as if...and if he DID....it probabyl wouldnt be edible anyway! LOL poor thing, hes trying i spose

  16. #16

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    Hey there
    My DH only had a week off and has worked long hours since Z was born.
    I ended up cooking some lovely meals from a Women's weekly freezer food cook book - lots of diff food to what we normally ate pre children which was lovely to enjoy once I got home with my babe. I froze in single portions so that DH and I could eat at separate times if need be. Worked a treat.
    Also I ordered the bulk of my groceries online for the first few months.
    Not the cheapest but our local delivery man always popped the groceries in the kitchen right near the fridge easy to unload etc! I could nominate when they were delivered so that it worked with sleep times or when DH was home to unpack. I still then managed to pop up to the shops from time to time but did not have to go every day etc.
    A friend of mine did light and easy for a month or two to get her through.
    She really appreciated the variety!
    Even if you don't sleep do try to get your rest (read a book, newspaper watch trashie tellie whatever) whilst the babe is sleeping, especially in those first few months when you are up at night and still getting into the swing of things!
    You are going to be fine! Good luck.
    Belinda

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    Quote Originally Posted by tattoo_mama View Post

    just rang DP and told him im gonna be cooking up some stuff to freeze...hes like, oh i will cook one or two nights a week....lol as if...and if he DID....it probabyl wouldnt be edible anyway! LOL poor thing, hes trying i spose
    Don't put him off, say that would be great! Do some cooking together now. If he doesn't know any recipes, show him your favourites. Google recipes if you want something particular but don't know how to cook it. Even if he only cooks meals on the weekends, it will give you a break, and you might discover that he is good at it and enjoys it.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate07 View Post
    Don't put him off, say that would be great! Do some cooking together now. If he doesn't know any recipes, show him your favourites. Google recipes if you want something particular but don't know how to cook it. Even if he only cooks meals on the weekends, it will give you a break, and you might discover that he is good at it and enjoys it.
    we have tried but he really is awful...and gets really frustrated and misses ingredents...plu he said the trade off is i have to do the dishes after ....yuk i hate dishes id rather cook! but i bought a cafe style sanwich maker (one that doesnt seal the sides) and have taught him how to use this so he can make some lovely sangas now which is a great help

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