We asked our coffee group just how they managed to find time to themselves with a newborn
Shannan and Theo (15 weeks)
Each week I set aside a night when my toddler is in bed and my husband is in charge of baby Theo for a couple of hours. During this time, I paint my nails. It makes me feel like a human for a little while. My sisters come over every fortnight and we spend some time watching TV, painting our nails, eating great food and chatting about non mum-related stuff. Initially, it was a struggle to find some alone-time with my firstborn, but the second time round I feel like I’ve adapted. It wasn’t instant – it took a couple of weeks to establish a routine, but now I don’t need to feed him all the time it’s definitely easier. I try to plan my time wisely, making the most of the time when they are having a nap, even if it is just spent doing household chores, on the sofa in front of the TV or catching up with a friend.
Jessie and Kalani (16 weeks)
Once a week when my partner gets home from work, he looks after Kalani and I run a bubble bath. I love baths; they have a knack of really helping me to calm and unwind, even if it’s only for half an hour. It can be pretty tricky finding a hint of time to myself though, so on a Tuesday my mother-in-law, who lives close by, comes over and looks after Kalani whilst I head to the shops to stock up on groceries or to potter about.
Finding ‘me time’ was hard at first, but now Kalani is a little older and has longer, more frequent naps, it’s easier to catch my breath and focus on myself. During naptime, I’ll also do little, quick activities that don’t take up much time. I’ll paint my nails or do my hair. I’ll catch up on my favourite TV show with a coffee or I’ll clean the house.
Louise and Elara (17 weeks)
‘Me time’ is when my baby is sleeping. During that time, I relax on the sofa with a coffee whilst catching up on some TV, or I make a start on some housework. I try not to do too much as Elara doesn’t go down for long. She is generally a pretty chilled out baby. I can pop her down during the day and have some time, though recently she has started to roll over, so I have to keep darting back.
‘Me time’ definitely has its limits. Initially it was really hard to find time alone, but now she is a bit older and loves her toys, it’s become a lot easier. Joining a coffee group has really helped. I can catch up with people who just ‘get it’. We’re all in the same boat, in the same moment. The babies, being similar ages, are also all at a stage where they are starting to acknowledge each other. They’re watching us, watching each other, keeping themselves entertained, which means we can relax and have a chat. I would really recommend finding your local coffee group and going along to a meeting. You won’t regret it.
Nicole and Lucy (15 weeks)
To be honest, there’s not a lot of time with a newborn, especially in those first three months. I also have a two-year-old so it can be limiting. As they get older and time becomes more available, I am able to find ‘me time’ in the little things.
Every day I have a shower, be it quickly in the morning or at night, or I go out for a walk to get some fresh air and exercise as Lucy sleeps soundly in the pram. It’s good for my mental health and great for Lucy, too. As time goes on, it gets easier. I don’t need to breastfeed as often so time between feeds has increased. The other day I took my toddler to the movies, whereas a month or two ago this wouldn’t have been possible. Lucy would have needed feeding. The best advice I could give is to use your people, your family or your friends during this time. They are your village, your support system if you’re feeling a little alien. What’s more, they will probably only be more than happy to pitch in and help out if you’re having a bad day.
5 ways to exercise with a newborn baby
- Subscribe to a YouTuber who posts postpartum videos, whether you’re exercising solo of with your tot. We love Blogilates.
- Join a mums and bubs fitness class. Kanga classes improve cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.
- Walk! Catch some afternoon sun on a crisp winter walk. Meet a friend and grab a coffee on the way.
- Hike! Pop baby in a carrier and head out for a hike. Great for bonding and also for building strength and stamina.
- Buggy boot camp. Held in your local park, but this ain’t no walk. A mix of cardio drills, planks and push-ups. But don’t worry, you can tackle this at your own pace.
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KIM: My journey to becoming a foster parent goes right back to when I was 15. I have always wanted to be able to help a child in need. I have been married for 30 years and have four children of my own, as well as one grandchild.
'If only I had known'
'If only I had known' is Catherine Cameron's latest blog on the overwhelming transition of returning to work. The struggle to come to terms with the new role of part time mum and the realisation admitting that you are struggling, is ok.
Recently, my sister and I took our toddlers for a walk to buy a morning coffee. As we walked, my sister asked if I had a preference as to where we might dine.“Somewhere with good high chairs,” I replied. There wasn’t a mention of location or coffee quality. High chairs were my primary focus.