My top tips for surviving paternity leave

Last cheeky little post before work tomorrow. Heading into the unknown that is having your first baby can be pretty daunting, so I’ve listed a few thing below that really helped us both get through those first few weeks…

Batch cooking & pre-chopped veg

Genuinely this was worth the effort. By the time Little H arrived we had nearly 4 weeks worth of fish pie / chicken casserole / curry & lasagne amongst other things. When you’re tired you don’t want to cook, and combine this with a lack of time and you’re in danger of not eating! Batch cooking allowed us to eat good food with minimal effort. Buying bags of pre-chopped veg is also a life-saver. We wouldn’t normally buy it, but when time is short… it really helps.

Baby Tracker App

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post but it was great. You need to write everything down. It was a bit of advice given to us and it helped enormously – all the midwives and health visitors will expect you to know how many times baby feeds a day, how many wet nappies, how many dirty…. if it’s written down somewhere it’s easy to answer them accurately. We used an app, Baby Tracker. Well worth looking into what will make your life easier.

Check everything works

Sounds silly doesn’t it. We bought a breast pump and the first time I plugged it in was when we needed it – and it failed. We got a replacement but this was less than ideal. Check everything you buy that is electrical works before you need it!

Know where everything is

Likelihood is your wife or partner has nested on maternity leave. In my experience this makes it impossible to find anything you need (and very easy to find things you don’t!). Mrs Heatho labelled up the drawers, labelled the piles of clothes and nappies with sizes… made life soooo much easier!

Breastfeeding support

Some simple things that Mrs Heatho say really helped her breastfeed in the beginning…

  • Serve Mum with tea in a travel mug – removes fears of spilling hot liquid onto baby!
  • Provide lots of snacks. Buy what you think you’ll need and double it. Being up all night is no mean feat and it needs to be rewarded with biscuits. Worth throwing some fruit in so there is some healthy stuff in the milk your baby gets…! Leave them next to where your wife/partner will feed for easy access.
  • Shift work – stay up as late as possible with your little one between feeds so Mum can get some sleep. Then you can hopefully sleep through and be useful in the morning to a sleep deprived Mum.

Emergency formula

As eluded to in a previous post, not everyone can exclusively breast feed. It doesn’t make either of you a failure. Sometimes your milk is late to come in, sometimes you just don’t have enough. Regardless of the reason you need it, it’s worth spending the few pounds it costs to have some pre-mixed formula milk on hand in case. A starving baby is a noisy baby – trust me on that!

Midwives / health visitors

Be curious. Ask questions. Encourage Mum to be honest about how things are going. Away from friends and family these people are your most valuable lifeline when it gets tough – day and night. Use them – no question is a stupid question if it puts your mind at rest and reassures you that you’re doing an amazing job!

Now it’s back to work…

Tomorrow I return to work, leaving Mrs Heatho to survive a day on her own. It’s been nice that our last day of paternity leave has been Mother’s Day in the UK – seems appropriate. I have no concerns, Mrs Heatho is going to boss it. Not sure how I’ll cope not being with my girls though..!

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