Because forewarned is forearmed. Mmm, four arms would be useful wouldn’t they?
THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
If you’re in a traditional domestic set-up, typically you’ll get 19 seconds to yourself during the early part of the evening, some time after Pointless but before The One Show. This is because your partner will have come home from work only to have a wriggly baby thrust into their arms at 70 million miles an hour while you mutter something about quickly washing your fringe. If you’re not in a traditional domestic set-up and your partner’s either non-existent or not in the house, this is a good time of day to invite a very understanding friend or family member round to do some baby-holding. If you want some proper peace and quiet, demand that they take the baby for a stroll around the block while you have a short but sweet lie down so you can feel proper zen ahead of the madness that awaits you in 5-4-3-2…
THE WITCHING HOUR
Some time after 6pm, newborns turn evil. They’ve been so reliably cute all day, gazing blankly but angelically at visitors and the man in the corner shop. And then, trouble strikes. It’s around this time of day, just when you’re starting to feel pretty tired and peckish yourself, that they descend into a frenzy of deranged hunger and exhaustion. We recommend a sling, lots of jiggling and even more milk. If you’re breastfeeding, this is where you understand the true meaning of cluster feeding. But! It’s a good thing, promise. They’re chomping away furiously to up your supply and secure their order for the future. They’re clever like that.
THE HAND JIVE
This is where you and your partner take it in turns to perform essential functions like consuming food and doing wees, because your baby categorically won’t be put down. And this is where that freezer full of batch-cooking comes into its own… there simply isn’t any time to cook from scratch. If your freezer contains nothing but vodka and lemon slices, Just Eat is your friend (as long as they don’t ring the doorbell just as the baby finally nods off).
At some point in the evening, your baby will have their fill of milk and crying, relax a bit and seem like going to sleep for more than five minutes is something they might do. And this is where they tend to do their biggest chunk of sleep of the night. So, make the most of it – it might be tempting to let them doze on you or pop them in the Moses basket next to the sofa while you tuck into a boxset, but at this stage in the game your own sleep needs should take priority over Netflix and chill, so either leave littlun downstairs with your partner or put them to bed next to you in your bedroom, so you can get something resembling quality rest before the night ahead. Eventually, this chunk of time will turn into their actual bedtime and you’ll start feeling like a human being again. Something to look forward to, eh?