5 Rules For Life With a Newborn

Image via Chaunie Brusie

So baby number four is coming in just about three months. (OK, I'm being generous, but it helps me to get through to round up … or down, I suppose.)

And as I prepare, it's tempting to think, “Oh, maybe this time around I'll get one of those cute, content newborns that is happy all the time.” But more than likely, my next baby will be just like her siblings, which is why I'm sticking to these completely unofficial but totally proven rules for life with a newborn.

Image via Chaunie Brusie

I will feel like crap.

With every baby up until now, I admit that I have fallen into the trap of thinking that maybe, just maybe, all of the weight that piled on me during my pregnancy was “just” the baby. With my first daughter, I foolishly even brought a normal pair of jeans to the hospital to wear home.

Let's all have a good, hearty chuckle at six-years-ago mother Chaunie, shall we?

This time around, however, I know the truth: I will feel roly-poly, smushy, and all over just not myself for a long time, probably even for the first year, and I can either roll with it and spend time enjoying my baby or constantly feel depressed and anxious about a body that is just doing its job.

Image via Chaunie Brusie

Sleep is #1.

I never wake a sleeping baby (no matter what). I have let a newborn sleep in a car seat in our room. I have dozed on the couch, in the sun, or even in my car with the air conditioning running and the door open. Whatever it takes, there is no shame in my game for slipping in those small snatches of sleep that will help me get through. And while I don't always sleep when the baby sleeps, in that first week, if I can hack it, you had better believe I will.

{ MORE: 5 Tips For Working From Home With Baby }

Image via Flickr/ Liz

Swaddling is king.

Honestly, in the three years I worked as a labor and delivery nurse, I never came across a single baby who didn't immediately calm down to some degree with a good quality swaddle. And even for those of us who have the proper swaddle training, the middle-of-the-night swaddle can be a tough thing to accomplish. So get yourself a nice swaddle blanket and thank your lucky stars if your baby responds to the magic of the swaddle.

Image via Chaunie Brusie

Sometimes, babies just cry.


Sure, they can't exactly communicate, but if you've fed them, changed them, snuggled them, and loved on them, there's still a chance that your baby may–gasp–still be unhappy. Whether it's because you have other kids to tend to or, heaven forbid, you need to run to the bathroom for five minutes, I assure you that your baby will not melt if you let him/her cry. You might even be a horrible enough mother as some to snap a picture of your baby crying, just to remember the sweet, sweet lullaby of those early newborn days.

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You do know what's best for your baby.

Those early days can be so hard, especially if this is your first baby. You may wonder if you will know what your baby needs, or if the doctor is right, and you're not feeding him enough, or if great-aunt Shirley is right, and you need to start sleep training from day one. Here's the thing, mama: you do know what's right. Tune everyone out and follow your instinct. And if you don't have an instinct just yet, that's OK, too. Focus every day on doing your best, and you will get there. I promise.

What is your number one rule for life with a newborn?

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What do you think?

5 Rules For Life With a Newborn

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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  1. Gerrry says:

    In general, I would agree with th through ese points. My baby doesn’t cry at all. If he’s vocal, there is a reason for it. So in my newborns particular cathroughse, I go everything that could be wrong…wet diaper? ..diaper too tight?..baby cold or too warm?..gas?..needs more burping?..constipation?..etc..until I figure it out. I have found that there is alwaus a legit reason why the baby is crying even though it’s not always obvious. “If your baby is sleeping just let him/her sleep”? This is bad advice and O keep hearing it over and over. The reason yout baby feeds every 2 hours is because babies have super fast metabolisms. Therefore its important to make sure that the babies glycemic index doesn’t drop too low before chugging down the next bottle. I never let a feed go more than 4 hours max. Break up the feed and burp your baby really well in between and after and you will have a happy newborn. Double check any advice you get even from your Dr.

  2. Nadege says:

    So totally true! My six weeks old is driving me nuts…lol… he is stubborn, no matter what I do and try he will not sleep in the crib. For a month I was unable to sleep mornings or nights. I heard newborns sleep mostly all day long, please!!! If my son sleep 1hr straight during the day(I’m a lucky gal) lol. I’m not even allowed a minute break to use the restroom, no kidding. I love him to pieces, but mommy needs a break. Lol. I’m the only one who can calm him down, my husband is a chicken when it comes to the temper tantrum, colicky, is understated when it comes to my boy. Mommy only gets a break when my 10yr old comes home from school she’s a natural born little mama.lol.

    • nichole says:

      it was the same here! every time i put my son in his bouncer, bassinet, or swing just to use the bathroom, he would fill his lungs and go at it! and my hubby starts getting nervous when he just cries and screams and cries some more, that i have to take him and within seconds he is calm. my hubs is like what ever then!!! but mine is now 3 months and i am still tired as all get up because i am the one getting up with him and calming him down hahah

  3. Rebecca says:

    Love the rules and they are all true 🙂 first time moms should read because as a first time mom trying to please everyone and not do what you feel is right will stress you out to no end. As a mother of 3 just remember that there is no harm in asking for help or taking any help that you are given. Even if it is for a 15 minute shower

  4. Rose says:

    Love this…thanks for the encouragement, Chaunie!

  5. Debbie says:

    Chauncie has wonderful perspectives. I am a grandmother who cares for my four month old grandson, Henry, three days a week. I still get upset when Henry cries because he feels the need, but I try to relax because I realize that babies , although they can’t speak, are adept at telling us what they need. I just follow their lead while trusting my instincts.
    Sami, my daughter-in-law, and my son, Nicolas, are extraordinary first-time parents. Kudos to them.


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