During those first few weeks after baby’s arrival, it can seem like the sofa is your new BFF. Between feeding, napping and nappy changes, you might even start to wonder if there's life outside those four walls (it's still there, don't worry!). To make your recovery after birth a little easier (and a bit more entertaining), here's my short guide to surviving those early days at home.
Nothing can ruin your morning quite like finally seeing baby napping in your arms… and then realising the TV remote is across the room. After a few repetitive feeds, I worked out how to set up a survival station within arm's reach. Put a table next to your sofa with things you’ll need – think tea in a thermal flask, snack food, water, books, sudoku – whatever suits your vibe. And always, always make sure the remote isn't... well, remote.
It's important to stay in touch with the world outside when you're recovering after birth. Keeping your mobile close at hand can help. Make sure the Wi-Fi is connected and your charger is nearby to keep the dreaded ‘10%’ at bay. In fact, put ‘leave the charger in another room’ at the top of your 'things not to do after giving birth' list.
Once you’re set up, reach out. Drop an old friend a message or even just text your mum. I found that having a catch-up with a mate did wonders for my mindset when I'd been without adult conversation for a while.
As well as friends you know, find new ones online. There are plenty of forums and groups (like the 2am club at mothercare) where you can meet new parents who are in the same situation as you. Who knows, you might even make a pal to share days on the sofa with.
A sofa has space for more than one mum, so reach out and invite another new parent for a relaxed afternoon hanging out together. Stick on a film and chat over cake and tea – what better way to spend a rainy day? I made friends with two other new mums and we rotated houses, giving us all a break from the routine. It's amazing how exciting a different sofa can seem with a newborn, and the like-minded company was lovely.
find a hobby
Whether it’s reading a book or doodling in a sketchpad, find a living-room-based hobby to beat those feelings of restlessness during your recovery after birth. Do something that makes you feel like you. I loved my e-reader (you only have to free up a thumb), and I read my way through the Man Booker shortlist during the night feeds. In case that sounds a bit pretentious, I also developed an Angry Birds habit. Again, one finger only.
Right now, baby is trying their hardest to make napping an art form. I used to take advantage of their quietest moments for a trip to the park. We'd wrap up all cosy and head out to see the ducks – and when we became pros at this 'going out' lark, we'd even manage a coffee meet. A little walk is great exercise and the fresh air can help to clear your head.
ask for help
Sometimes, I'd had enough of that sofa. It had developed a permanent imprint of my bum, and I occasionally felt like I couldn't spend another minute feeding. If you feel like this, or ever start to worry that it's all too much, don’t be afraid to ask for support.
If you have any concerns that your little milk monster may be feeding a bit too much, check in with your health visitor or doctor. Remember, there are people around you who can help while you recover. Reach out and ask a friend or family member for a hand or even just a chat – and share that sofa.