babies · Newborn · Uncategorized

Newborn tips

Years ago, my baby sister asked me to write her a book on how to be an adult. Needless to say, I never got around to it. Nor do I have any clue what I would even put in that book.

Now she’s days away from having her first baby & becoming a mama {!!!!!} and she’s been asking me to write the mama-version of said book for the past 10 months. I obviously haven’t gotten around to that either.

However, I figured it’s not too late {yet} to give her some quick tips based on my experience with newborns. It goes without saying {but I’ll say it anyway} that every baby & every mama & every experience is different and no one thing works for everyone, but these are things that I’ve found to be true and that I wanted to share.

  1. Have no expectations. Be excited. Be happy. Be nervous. Be whatever you want to be, but do not for one second have any expectations about a schedule or what your life will look like or that everything about the next few months will go swimmingly or that everything will be insane. None of that will hold true 100%, so just let it go and get excited for one of the sweetest, hardest, craziest few months of your life.
  2. If you’re breastfeeding, nurse on demand. Don’t worry if he doesn’t eat for 15-10-5. Don’t worry if he wants to eat every 2 hours instead of every 3. If he’s fussing and you don’t know how to fix it, try nursing him. I’m not saying it’s always the answer or to use your boob as a pacifier, but I am saying to let go of the rules and guidelines and schedule at first and just let your boobs figure out how to feed your baby and let your baby figure out how to eat and be comforted by his mama.
  3. Snuggle {and wear} that baby. I know I don’t have to tell you this, but newborn cuddles are the best. Soak them up. If you want to lay on the couch and snuggle, do it. If you want to get something done, put your babe in a wrap and enjoy snuggles AND be productive. Again totally your call, but snuggles are available either way and you cannot spoil your newborn so enjoy him!
  4. Get out of the house! If you want to, that is. If you don’t want to, then by all means stay home! But if you want to get out, now is the time. Do not worry about if he’ll cry in Target or how you’ll feed him or if people will think you’re crazy for going out so early. If you want to explore the world with your newborn, do it. You’re in charge, mama. I loved having down time at home, but I also loved being out in the world with my baby girl snuggled in close. This is where I’ll say again that every mama is different. I have friends who didn’t go out for weeks, and that is totally fine, too. I only say this to encourage you not to be afraid of nursing in the car or in public or of your baby crying in public. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t go out, so I’m just telling you that you CAN {and it’s actually a lot easier than you think}.
  5. Ask for help/advice. There are no dumb new mama questions. If you have a question or want help or advice, ask!!!  I hope & pray that everyone has people who check in on them like my people checked-in on me when my three were born. This is when you start to create your village, and it’s nothing short of amazing during this crazy new season.
  6. Don’t expect sleep. You’ve probably read this a billion times, but everyone will ask you “how’s the baby sleeping” immediately after he’s born. You’ll probably get all cocky because – pro-tip – brand new babies sleep a lot. So you’ll be all “oh he’s sleeping great, we have to wake him to eat, he sleeps anywhere!” which is all true and all normal and all wonderful. It doesn’t mean you’re getting boat-loads of sleep, but it does mean that at least he’s sleeping. And then he “wakes up” – because that’s what babies do. They get more and more awake and they have sleep regressions and sicknesses and teething and about a billion other excuses to make sure you never get too many decent nights of sleep in a row. He’ll sleep and he won’t sleep and you’ll sleep and you won’t sleep and it’s all okay and normal and you actually get used to functioning on less sleep than you ever have in your life. Let’s just say now isn’t the time to give up coffee….
  7. Don’t expect a schedule. Like the sleeping thing. And like #1, but this seems worth the extra mention to me. Newborns do not have a schedule. I know that we all read Babywise and we all have ideas for schedules and we all hear talk of nap times and bedtimes and eating times. But all of that is for slightly older babies. There is this glorious newborn window where there is truly no set schedule. Try {even if you’re type-A like I am} to enjoy this time with no schedule. Of course it makes it hard to plan your days, but it also means you have this flexibility that you don’t have when your kid needs a nap at 1pm sharp and you’re driving down the road windows down & blaring music because she will not for one minute sleep in the car if you can help it. Not that I’ve done that recently or anything…
  8. Accept meals and/or cleaning and/or grocery runs from people. Have someone to set up a meal train. Eat out or get take-out. If someone offers to run an errand for you or bring you food, let them. People genuinely want to help you during this special time and it is AMAZING to not have to cook or think about what you’re eating that night. In that same regard, if someone offers to bring food/coffee/whatever when they come to visit you, say yes and enjoy it.
  9. Don’t worry about bothering your baby while he’s sleeping. As newborns they can & should sleep through people talking, lights on, dogs barking, etc. Grandmas and other well-meaning folk will try to tell you to turn off the lights or the TV or whatever else could possibly be bothering this {clearly totally undisturbed} babe as he sleeps. Smile, nod, and keep the damn lights on. We vacuumed while ours slept. We moved them in and out of the car and into stores and they stayed asleep. This won’t happen forever so again, ENJOY IT. It’s like a newborn jedi trick and it’s amazing and I wish it stayed that way forever, but it doesn’t.
  10. Soak it up. This doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every second, but it does mean you should remember even the messy, chaotic, crazy times. There will be the sweetest moments you’ve ever known that you’ll want to literally hold onto forever. Those moments will get you through the sleep-deprived times when you’re wondering what on earth you’ve done creating this sweet babe who needs you all.the.time. But none of it lasts forever. Heck, it doesn’t really last long at all. So snuggle & feed & comfort your baby. Write stuff down, take a ton of pictures, smell his sweet head and enjoy this time of becoming a mama and getting to know your first sweet baby. This first-baby thing will never happen again and it is truly a magical, wonderful thing.

Congrats, baby sis. I cannot wait to see you become a mama and I am beyond excited to snuggle my nephew and to become an aunt. I’m here for you anytime you need me & I love you more than words.

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