(Image credit: Nest Design Studio Australia)
The early months after my twins were born are, I must admit, a bit of a blur due to a combination of exhaustion, bewilderment and utter bliss I’ve never experienced before or since. From the sleep-deprived fog of that time what comes back to me is a list of things that made it all a bit easier.
And the biggest thing is: Make it nice for you. The baby really doesn’t care as long as you’re there so make it as comfortable, convenient and nurturing for yourself as you possibly can. Little Pickle will be having interior design opinions soon enough so for now, if you want a blousy wallpaper or crazy patterned curtains you go for it.
Then make it practical.
1. Nappy changing.
You’ll be doing a lot of this so make it easy. I had a changing table – with drawers under for the nappies, wipes, muslins and paraphernalia so it was all easily to hand for those times I was barely conscious. And the best thing I did was have the whole thing raised by 8 inches with blocks of wood so I didn’t need to bend. I can’t tell you what a difference that made to my physical well-being, especially in the early days after the Caesarian.
I found mine slept longer and more regularly with blackout blinds and there’s lots of evidence to suggest most children do. Google it, or start here: http://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk
3. And light.
You’ll probably be able to navigate your way round the baby’s room in your sleep before long, but a night light is still a must-have on my list. Low enough not to interfere with baby’s sleep but just enough to let you find the necessaries.
4. Keeping cool (and warm).
Babies sleep better in a cool room (The Lullaby Trust recommends 18 degrees C/65 degrees F). But that can feel too cool for you, especially if you’ve left your dressing gown in your bedroom, so I had a lovely cashmere blanket to keep me warm when I was ‘on duty’.
Make sure you have a place to be relaxed and comfortable. You need as much soothing as the little ones! A really comfy chair or sofa will be a godsend for feeding or dozing off in.
6. Cleaning up.
Save yourself time and trouble by using ‘draw’ sheets that just go under the baby’s head. Babies sick up a lot and you can just whip those off instead of having to change the whole cot. And while we’re talking about what we might politely refer to as ‘baby fluids’, it’s good to know that they’re much easier to get out of all wool carpets than mixed fibre ones.
Finally, if at all possible sell anything of value to get yourself a night nanny occasionally. One saved my sanity in the early days by letting me actually sleep at night. (And once or twice get to the pub with my friends!)