I hope you aren’t hearing this for the first time, but newborns are hard. Obviously, there are varying degrees and interpretations of the word “hard” but for the most part, having a newborn can be challenging in both wonderful and exhausting ways. Whether you are a soon-to-be new, first time mom or you just had your fifth, tips and hacks to help navigate through those first 6-8 weeks are most likely helpful. As a mom-ran company, we here at The Stork Bag have the luxury of having so many moms to offer as much “mom advise” as we need so here it is- tips from The Stork Bag mom team to help you survive those early days, weeks and months with your new bundle of joy!
1. Go to bed early- Say goodbye to those nights when you and your partner stay up late watching TV or hanging out, at least temporarily. Go to bed as early as you can to try and catch up on your sleep. Not only is your body healing but you need your rest to keep up with baby. I did this with my 6-year-old and those precious hours of sleep between 8-11pm were sometimes the best I got!
2. Make time to shower and eat- Similar to above, making time for yourself is one of the best things you can do during this time. Sleep will always trump anything but taking the time to shower and eat a meal will make you feel brand new as well.
3. Don’t make it too quiet- Let baby get used to sleeping with noise around and this will make your life much easier. If you can do the dishes and/or talk on the phone while baby naps, this will not only allow you to get things done while baby sleeps, but ultimately make baby a better sleeper.
4. Say YES to help- For some reason, it’s instinctual for us moms to try and do everything by ourselves. We are all guilty of it and most of the time, it’s fine. But this time is not the time for doing it all alone. Ask for help and take it when it’s offered. This doesn’t make you a bad mom-it’s makes you a smart one.
5. Stay organized- I know, this sounds insane but hear me out. By doing a little bit here and there, you allow for more efficiency. For example, wash the bottles right after feedings while baby is happy rather than waiting to wash them when baby is hungry and crying. Throw dirty clothes directly into the washer and when it’s full, do a load. Small things like this will add up to less stress.
6. Sleep train as early as you can- It’s the last thing on your mind but also, it’s on your mind all the time. Start good sleep habits early. Some key recommendations from our mamas to focus on include keeping the baby awake during feedings, getting baby into crib as soon as possible, and putting baby in crib awake but drowsy so baby learns to fall asleep without help from you.
7. Allow as much “dad time” as possible- This is a bonding time for dad also so let dad do as much as he can. Unless you are breastfeeding, dad can do everything you can do, and you need to let him.
8. Let baby lead the way- What we mean by this is simple. All babies are different and as much as you want to believe you can follow a set schedule or recommendations from your mom friends, ultimately your baby will show you what baby needs. Don’t beat your head against a wall trying to mold what you think life with baby should look like and just let it be what it is.
9. Write everything down- Invest in a good journal (like this one here from The Stork Bag) for after baby arrives. This can be used from anything to keeping track of feedings/naps, to lists you forget because of mommy brain or more importantly, an outlet for your feelings during this difficult time. Simply writing things down can help recognize symptoms of PPD – and give you a solid outlet for the emotional rollercoaster you find yourself on. If nothing else, a good place to remind yourself that this difficult phase is only temporary.
10. Get some fresh air/sunshine- Get out of the house, even if it’s just for a stroll around the block. A change in scenery can help with your mood and moral- which in turn can help you better deal with a fussy baby. If it’s too cold for baby outside, let your husband take the reins with baby, bundle up and go for a walk solo.
What was/is the best advise you got for surviving the newborn stage? Let us know in the comments below!