surviving a newborn

Since I've done the whole newborn thing twice now, I'm basically an expert and can give expert advice. 

Jokesies. This is just based on my experience and what has helped me. If you've found anything else to be helpful, share the love- I still don't know what I'm doing in the whole "parenting" department. It's like the biggest wingin' it situation EVER (stay tuned for the teenage years to see how that all goes...).

Buy yourself some dry shampoo.
You're about to let your hygiene take a serious dive. And it's totally okay- we all understand. I like the orange one from Tresemme (let's be honest, it's the only one I've ever tried- if it ain't broke don't fix it, right?). But this stuff is a lifesaver when you need to freshen and don't have time to take a shower (which will be like, a regular occurrence for a while).

"There's an app for that!"
So when you bring your baby home, you won't know what day it is for several weeks. You'll live your life in 2-3 hour increments based on when the baby needs to eat next and also have to keep track of wet/messy diapers for the first little bit to make sure they're eating enough. 
It's a freaking lot to remember, especially when you're incredibly sleep deprived.
I found an app for my phone to keep track of feedings and diaper changes, and it's a LIFE SAVER. I still use it to this day to keep track of feedings. What's also cool about it is that you can look at all of your statistics to see how many times a day the baby eats, for how long, etc. and even email that info if needed (which would've been handy back when we were dealing with Jillian's reflux stuff and had to keep track of EVERY thing). 
The one I use is called "Nursing". There are a bunch of different ones out there.
I love technology.

Watch this video on interpreting a baby's pre-cry. 
It's gospel as far as I'm concerned and has saved me from many a fussy baby why-the-heck-are-you-crying situations.

If this ain't your first rodeo, plan ahead.
Two things have helped me immensely in doing the whole newborn scene plus toddler. First, your toddler will inevitably wake up every morning before you're ready to get out of bed. I keep a baggie of Cherrios, sippy cup of juice, and the iPad next to my bed so when Jillian wakes up she can come lay in my bed, watch the iPad and munch on some low-key breakfast until I can begin to fathom the idea of waking up for the day. This usually buys me an extra 30 minutes to an hour. Golden.

Second, before sitting down to nurse Olivia, I make sure Jillian has gone to the bathroom, has a snack readily available, and toys close by so I don't have to get up and help her with anything while breastfeeding, especially while those early nursing sessions tend to take a lot longer (fortunately Jillian can pretty much pee independently now and Olivia eats a lot quicker so much less preparation is needed).

Read parenting books with a grain of salt, but do read them.
When Jillian was born I read 4-5 books on newborns and the ever important sleep schedule. I also drove myself nuts because she wasn't exactly "by the book". Don't get me wrong, those books have some great things to say and really helped me figure things out in the sleeping department, but they also generalize a lot- and no two babies are the same. Don't beat yourself up if your kid isn't cooperating despite everything the book says to try. And remember, they call the first 3 months of baby's life the "fourth trimester" for a reason. A lot of babies won't stick to any kind of schedule or routine until after that.

You're the mama, mama.
So you have a baby? You're about to get the most unsolicited advice you probably ever will in your whole life- bottle feeding vs. breastfeeding, co-sleeping vs. separation sleeping, cloth diapers vs. disposable, cry it out vs. not crying it out...and the list goes on. People have strong opinions on the subject of babies- I have strong opinions on all of the above. Do the research and go with whatever approach you feel the most comfortable with, and don't make apologies for it. Raising babies ain't no walk in the park no matter which approach you take (actually, you will go to the park...like a lot, but you know what I mean). If someone makes snarky comments or gives judgy little looks on your approach to parenting, kindly give them the finger and move on. ;-) 

 Wear that baby.
I know there's a lot of research behind the benefits of baby-wearing, but besides all that jazz, it really does make things much easier. Like when you're trying to get dinner cooked with a toddler playing under your feet, but all your baby wants to do is be held. Or you're grocery shopping and all your baby wants to do is be held. Or you're in a busy place with your toddler and need both your hands to keep said toddler from pulling everything off the shelves and all your baby wants to do is be held. Spoiler alert- babies like to be held. Baby wraps let you do it hands free. Super convenient. Highly suggested.
I have the Solly Wrap and totally love it.  
(Plus it totally covers up that sit-up stain on your shirt- BONUS!)

Do something for yourself, daily. 
Whether it's a bubble bath, reading a book, exercising, chat with a friend not about your kids, craft project...whatever, just DO IT. You may not have time the first few weeks once you're settling in, but after that, DO IT. Lately when both kiddos are asleep and I finally have time to do something other than feed kids and wipe butts, it's usually between some sort of cleaning and something I actually want to do. The something I actually want to do has been winning lately and I haven't regretted that at all (just started reading The Fault in Our Stars- uhh love it). You still need you time. It's true what they say- if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Ask questions.
 In the first few weeks you will ask, "Is ____normal?" like 5,000 times, which is...normal. Even with my second, I still have questions because Olivia does things Jillian doesn't and vice versa. You can call your pediatrician's office and speak with a nurse about questions you have without scheduling a visit. Babycenter.com actually has a whole "is it normal?" page. Thank you for that! 

If it's your first, you will probably also break down and cry about your newborn's poop in the first few days- totally normal- happens to the best of us. I also like the birth club boards and forums on babycenter.com. It's nice to know that other moms are experiencing the same thing you are and reading strategies that have worked for others. Sometimes it's just nice to know that you're not alone! 

Have some tools in that mommy toolbox for fussiness.
Baby's cry. It happens (though a lot less I've found after watching that video above...seriously...watch it!).
In the book Happiest Baby on the Block, Karp talks about "the 5 S's" to sooth crying babies. In short:
1. Swaddle
2. Side lying position
3. "Shh" in their ear
4. Swing (or bounce)
5. Suck (binky or thumb)
I also LOVED the book The Wonder Weeks. It talks about growth spurts babies go through, both mental and physical, and why that makes them fussy as their perception of the world is changing. Serious game changer for me. With Jillian- who was especially fussy- it helped me understand WHY she was crying so much during a growth spurt and helped me empathize with her, which made enduring fussy bouts much easier for me.

And there you have it. Guaranteed to make the first few months of your new life more manageable. 
Any other tips? I'm all ears!!! 

Also check out my favorite baby products for newborns! 

1 comment:

  1. Okay. This already helped me so much. I hope you don't have a blogger tracker because you might see "Tucson, AZ" about 5 times a day on this post and get creeped out. And I would feel really weird.


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