I won’t admit to being an expert at being a mother (really, though…who is?) or that I know everything about newborns. We’re slowly getting out of the newborn phase now that baby Jeff is over a month old and is more alert with his surroundings. I thought I would write my 15 tips on some things that really helped us out during the first month while adjusting to a newborn. I hope these tips help any mamas-to-be and new mamas out there!
1- It takes a village.
I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before but really, it’s so true. I know some of you are not as blessed with parents or in-laws who are enjoyable to be around or let them help out but if you have that or if you have friends that are available…make use of them! We’re really lucky to be living with my parents right now, my mom takes baby Jeff at least once a day and that time to rest, cuddle, work or get out of the house is a blessing. It’s also great to have someone who’s done it all before around, even though sometimes it feels like we’re doing everything wrong it’s still nice to have that experience around daily.
2-Alone time with your significant other is important.
I’m a firm believer in a “marriage-centered” relationship and focusing on your other half just as much as your kids. Scott, my fiance, and I had a really strong relationship before we got pregnant and it’s only strengthened more since. Take the time to nurture your relationship, which is really hard with a newborn. If nothing else, spend 10 minutes talking and cuddling in bed at the end of every day. It will help.
3-Figure out who is best at what.
One parent is going to be better at something than the other, that’s just how it works. And it’s okay. Take advantage of it. For us, Daddy is so much better at calming baby down and getting him to sleep, I don’t know why…I think it might be because I have the boobs and baby Jeff thinks the more he cries while I hold him the more likely I’ll feed him/let him comfort nurse. So most days and nights, Daddy gets to rock and bounce the baby to sleep and it works for us.
4-Get an App to keep track of feedings (and poos, pees, medicine/vitamins and growth).
I love having something that tells me the last time baby Jeff ate! Sometimes he’s really fussy and I know he’s not hungry yet because the app tells me it’s only been 35 minutes since he ate last. Trust me, don’t try to just remember it on your own…you won’t. I use my app to keep track of when we give him a bath, when I take vitamins or pain pills (essential the first 2 weeks when I was taking Tylenol constantly).
5-Bouncer or swing.
We received a swing at our baby shower which was fantastic! Unfortunately, baby Jeff hates the swing but we learned pretty fast that he loves loves loves to bounce! So we picked up a bouncer and we can usually get him to sit in it, calmly for about 15 minutes at a time. Get one, or both at first and figure out which your baby likes more and stick with it.
6-Take a picture (or two or three…everyday).
Look for those moments in the day that you look at your newborn and just think, “I want to remember this forever,” or “He’s so cute I want to eat his face,” or “I love seeing my significant other holding our child,” and capture that moment. The first month is overwhelming and hard but you’ll want to remember those feelings and those moments later and they can be far and few between.
7-Find something to occupy your time during long feedings or restless nights.
Sitting there thinking can be nice sometimes, but personally it’s rather detrimental to my emotional state. So I learned that my local library has e-books I can download to my phone. Love it! I also browse twitter, instagram and my reader during nursing sessions. Scott sits up with baby Jeff in the early mornings when he refuses to sleep without being held anymore and he has been watching movies on netflix. Find something that interests you and keep it close by while nursing or sitting with a restless baby.
8-If 1 thing calms baby well, give it to him/her often.
About 90% of the time, holding baby Jeff so he can see outside calms him instantly. He could lay and stare outside for hours (maybe…okay probably an hour at most) and be perfectly content. It’s awesome and amazing. Find something that is so entrancing and calming to your baby and use it, often.
9-Snacks for mom.
Keep snacks for mom nearby during nursing sessions. You get hungry. If there aren’t snacks nearby, be sure your significant other is around to get you food and water.
10-If you’re uncomfortable baby is most happy.
I hate to admit it but it’s true. Think of the most uncomfortable position to sit in for hours on end and that’s probably the only way baby will be calm and sleep. Get used to it.
11-Pick up at the end of the day.
I know the last thing we all want to do at the end of a day with a newborn is clean but it can really help your sanity the next day if you spend 10 minutes tidying up your most used areas.
12-Give yourself a break.
This has been a hard one for me! Sure, if you’re reading this you’re probably present or active online and on social media somehow. If you read my blog you probably have hobbies like art, photography, blogging etc and those things are great and might even be your job. But ya know what? You just had a baby! Give yourself a damn break and don’t stress or worry about your blog or your twitter for at least a month. Just let it go. Go look at your baby and tell me that isn’t better than staring at the screen, honestly.
13-Let him sleep however he wants to.
This might be a hard one for some parents. I know they say ‘back is best’ but sometimes, if baby won’t stop screaming while lying on his back…just put him on his side! It’s okay, I promise. For us, we don’t really have choice since baby Jeff has rolled to his side from his back since day 1. He very rarely sleeps on his back and that’s okay.
14-You can’t spoil a newborn.
This is common advice too and I think it’s true. Newborn babies were nice and warm and close to mom for over 9 months, it’s scary to suddenly be in the open world and have to be away from mom. It’s okay to hold your newborn 24/7, you won’t ruin him and make him needy for life.
15-Get out of the house.
Be a normal human for an hour and get coffee, go grocery shopping or go to a park. After a week home with baby Jeff, Scott and I got out of the house for an hour to get coffee and just be together. You can take the baby with you if you want but trips out alone are great too. You’ll be showered, in real clothes and interacting with adults. You might just feel human again even with the lack of sleep.
There are so many more tips, tricks and advice I (and most parents) could give but I don’t want to sound to preach-y or push-y ha! Trust me, I still have no idea what I’m doing but I’ve learned a few things along the way that might help some other lost new parents. Good luck!