Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 Tips for Life With a Newborn

1. Limit your to-do list. Sitting and holding your baby is a perfectly reasonable thing to be doing.

2. Get up and move. Sure, I said limit your to-do list. But trust me, you feel a lot better if you get the occasional shower, put on clean clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth and so on. Then get out into the sunshine (if there is some) or at least your local Target. (You'll need to buy diapers anyway, so you might as well make an event of it.)
3. Plan on a slight feeding "learning curve" if you're breastfeeding. Some babies take a little longer to figure it out than others. Some are such eager eaters they're willing to suck on whatever patch of skin brushes their mouths, whether it's the right part or not. Plan to try breastfeeding for at least a month. In my experience, it gets a lot easier after the first week. And by a month you'll be a pro. Oh, and get some of this:

You won't need it for long but when you do, it's nice to have.

4. Plan for interrupted sleep. In other words, manage your expectations. If you're not expecting eight hours of sleep it doesn't seem so bad when you don't get them. Babies need to eat frequently and most pediatricians don't want breastfed babies to go longer than 4-5 hours at a stretch. Our Lili usually eats every 2-3 hours but at night she sleeps from midnight to 4. That four hours is some good sleeping!

5. Accept offers of help. This was a tough one for me, at least until we hit #4. I've been pretty good at managing but I knew when we came home with Lili that I needed help, primarily with the older girls so they weren't being neglected or left out. And anyway, even if you can "handle it all", it's nice to let others feel needed, right?


6. Don't forget your husband. You're not going to be having any hot dates right now. You probably both look and feel so exhausted that you wouldn't be able to stay awake on one anyway. But sitting and talking, watching a movie together (on DVD. That pause function will be necessary), or playing a game together can let both of you know that the other person is still a priority even though the new little one is rather high maintenance, at least temporarily.

7. Don't forget the older siblings. Talk about "our baby" and "our family." Praise their "helping" efforts. Look at their baby pictures and compare to the new baby. Read a story together. Have them read to the baby, hold the baby, sing to the baby, etc. The baby is resilient enough to withstand kisses, hugs and even awkward holding by older siblings. (Of course you never leave Baby unattended with a toddler or irresponsible older sibling.)

8. Remember that babies cry. Again, you have to manage your expectations. Babies cry, it's a fact of life. Once you've ruled out the usual suspects (Hungry? Wet? Over-tired? Just needs Mom?) don't feel like a failure if she's still crying. It happens. It will stop. (P.S. Have you tried swaddling? It was a joke in my family when my nephew was born, "Stop crying or Aunt Karen will swaddle you!" And I did. And he stopped.)


9. Enjoy these days - they go by so quickly.

10. Enjoy these days - they go by so quickly. Yes, I know I already said that. But it's true. My oldest, whom I was just holding, rocking, changing, and all of that good stuff, is now almost nine years old. I blinked and that happened. Another blink and she'll be getting married or going off to college or both. The time, it flies. So enjoy these days.

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

7 comments:

~~~Alana~~~ said...

What a good list! :) I am not a mother yet, but all in good time! :)
Congrats on your beautiful baby!

Eos Mom said...

So true! Beautiful list!

Congrats on your beautiful baby!

Pastor David Pitman said...

So true about those blinks...

Elisabeth said...

Thanks for the list! I'm going to need to read it again in 6 months!

Vicky said...

Yes, soooo true about those blinks! Great list!

Amy said...

What a great post! I love the pictures... she is so, so precious!

I think I was surprised at how long it took #3 and I to get the hang of breastfeeding. I mean, I had done this twice already, shouldn't I be able to lead him through without a hitch? Notsomuch. But, we made it, and YES... the Lansinoh. Oh how I loved that stuff this go-round!

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