5 Rules For Life With a Newborn
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?Read More