Britta is a former radiologic technologist and current stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing about parenting and raising her sweet daughter.
What I Learned From Having a Newborn
Although I felt as if I had been prepping for eternity, I was still ill-prepared to deal with a brand new human. So, to help you prepare for the newborn days, I have compiled a list of tips I picked up throughout my time as a mom to a newborn:
- You will quickly learn that where baby is going to sleep becomes irrelevant early on; it is simple: they sleep wherever they fall asleep. Try to stick to the safe sleep guidelines as much as possible, but if baby only falls asleep in the swing, by God, you let her sleep there for a bit, for your own sanity.
- Sports bras are essential for nursing mothers: save yourself some money and stick to sports bras; they are just as easy to maneuver for nursing and hold nursing pads in comfortably. These guys were my best friends, and eight months later STILL are. I think I've worn a padded bra less than a dozen times since my daughter was born, no regrets.
- Grab some bottled water, some movies, some snacks and camp on your couch or bed for the first few days. You only will be moving to change baby anyway and it is necessary you rest as much as possible. If you have a partner, let them handle the diaper changes while you focus on food and sleep for you and for baby.
- Learn how to swaddle. It will really help your newbie sleep in the early days. My husband was a pro, once he went back to work I opted to buy swaddleme wraps from target, it's simple and easy Velcro and if your little one is like mine, leaving arms out is easy to do.
- Babies are born to suck, I don't mean suck in a bad way, I mean literally suck from their mouths. Don't be overly concerned with holding back giving a pacifier from your little babe; yes, it can be a hard habit for some babies to break, but in the early days of having a newborn, you will be so tired you can't think straight so any less crying means more sleep for you. When a baby comes out of the womb they eat, sleep, and suck, so unless your nipple is available 24/7 pop a paci in their mouth and call it a day. If you need more talking into it then I should add that experts agree the use of a pacifier during sleep lowers risk of SIDS. (Woohoo!)
- Have dad help out. You need sleep to live, babies cause us to stay awake, therefore we die? No, but we come pretty close to it—or so it feels that way. Whether you are nursing, formula feeding, or pumping, set out a bottle, and let dad feed your baby once a day or every few days. This will equate to almost four hours of uninterrupted sleep—unless you are suffering from insomnia, a very common postpartum symptom. We really just can't win can we?
- I've read all the books about baby sleep schedules and I surprisingly never used the advice; some parents swear by them, so I hope to not dissuade you completely. When my little one was born I was very concerned with when she napped, when she ate, and when she pooped. The truth is your baby will find out her schedule on her own without any unnecessary force from you, they will fall into sleep patterns all by themselves without much intervention from mom or dad and that's just fine, they also will eat when hungry and poop as much as they need too.
- Try to get out at least once every other day. A soon as I could get out of the house, I did. I typically took daily trips to the nearby gas station to get a Dr. Pepper or a snack, and left baby with dad at home for ten minutes. This made me feel like a human much quicker than anything else and caffeine was (and still is) so vital to my life to get through the day.
- Have yourself a glass of wine when you need it. If you are nursing, one glass of wine here and there will be just fine. There is no evidence that light drinking does any harm to baby, and in my opinion it has psychological benefits for mom. If you do get a little too tipsy, simply use some expressed breast milk you have pumped beforehand or formula, problem solved. There are also test strips you can find at retail stores or online that test the alcohol levels in the breast milk, these are great!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.