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Newborn Survival Guide
January 21, 2019
I’ve made it to six weeks postpartum, and I’m alive..ish. I can’t remember the last time I took an uninterrupted shower. And there is something growing on my body..oh wait, it’s just this baby permanently attached to my hip. But hey, we’ve survived the first month! I thought I’d spend some time blogging about what helped me survive the first month with a newborn. As a first time mom, I’m obviously no expert. But I think I’m slowly graduating from amateur status the longer I spend mom-ing around here.
Accept the fact that you will have the baby blues and cry hysterically everyday for two weeks straight. Okay, this may not happen to everyone, but it certainly happened to me. I found myself feeling overwhelmed by everything..and I mean, everything. At one point, I told my husband I wanted to give away our dogs (who were my babies for the past ten years)! So how did I get through this stage? I let myself cry. I let my husband hug me. I reached out to my friends and family. I was completely honest with them that I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through this. I also hugged my baby during these crying episodes. And I watched lots of Hallmark movies. And then my hormones regulated, and the tears slowly dried up.
Buy some comfy robes/pajamas/slippers and find a series to watch on Netflix. You are going to spend 90% of your time each day in your pajamas plopped on the couch feeding your baby. Just accept this fact and own it!
Let your mom/sister/mother-in-law/any fellow mommy help you. I was beyond blessed to have my mom stay with us for a couple nights when we got home with the baby. Sometimes she would watch the baby for a couple hours in the middle of the night so my husband and I could sleep, and it was life-saving. If you don’t have this luxury, rely on someone else who has been through this before. You’d be surprised how many questions and doubts you have as a new mom. Sometimes you just need reassurance that you are doing something right. Don’t take on motherhood on your own just because you can. I’m all for independent women, but this is the one time in your life that you need to allow people to help you.
Speaking of help..let your husband be a parent! Why do we women feel the need to do everything on our own when it comes to parenting? It took the two of us to make this baby..it’s going to take the two of us to raise him! My husband went back to work, and I suddenly felt guilty waking him up during the night to help me. But then I realized that I’m just as tired as he is everyday (if not more). He can’t breastfeed the baby (which is honestly the most exhausting part of parenting), so I rely on him to do other jobs. He can change the baby’s diaper. He can do the baby’s laundry..etc etc etc. Let your husband parent with you..you and your baby will be better for it!
Get a baby carrier! I was gifted a couple different fancy carriers, but I got myself a simple fabric one and that has easily been my favorite one to use. It’s so nice to be able to wear your baby so that you can get other things done! Honestly, being able to wear my baby has been the only way I was able to get a meal down sometimes. And there’s research that shows baby wearing is extremely healthy for your baby and the bond between you two..google if you must.
Get out of the house! I had my baby in December, which means flu season and cold weather. I went stir crazy pretty quickly. I finally got enough courage to take my baby outside, and it was..amazing! The first time we went outside, all we did was walk around the block. But now I feel (pretty) comfortable going farther with him, and you’d be surprised how much fresh air can completely brighten your mood. And interacting with strangers will make you feel more human again.
Drink copious amounts of water. Your body just went through (probably) the most traumatic event of your life. And if you’re breastfeeding, you’re literally getting sucked dry. Give it the most magical healing juice ever! It’s really hard to do anything for yourself the first couple weeks, so make it a priority to carry a giant water bottle around with you and drink it constantly throughout the day.
Stare at your baby. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll spend the first couple weeks feeling like a milk machine..and that baby attached to your breasts will feel like a tiny little milk-sucking monster that is trying to eat your soul. If you spend time staring at your baby, looking lovingly into their little innocent eyes, your heart will continuously explode, and you’ll be reminded that this little person is the best thing that has ever happened to you. It will help you get through the milk machine stage!
Learn how to change diapers quickly. This will be the most useful parenting skill you can master in the early days. It will help avoid shooting (yes, it shoots out!) poop getting all over you. If you have a boy, you’ll get used to pee being sprayed everywhere. But if you can master the diaper change, you will stay dry and feel like superwoman!
Know that it will get better. The positive thought that one day you won’t be covered in poop and spit up and actually be able to take a long shower AND wash your hair without hearing a screaming baby will somehow get you through each long, hard day. You can do this, mama!