Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top 10 Newborn Daze Survival Tips

 My newest little man is coming up on 2 months. Already! It doesn't seem like that long ago we were waiting for him to come, but at the same time, now that he's been here a while, it's hard to imagine that he ever wasn't!

Life with a newborn is so beautiful, but certainly comes with its own set of challenges. I definitely don't feel like a veteran mama (and if you saw my texts to my midwife the first week of Joshua's life, you might agree! ha!), but I guess according to statistics, I've had a newborn more times than most women in America ever will. Here are my best tips for surviving the newborn daze.

1. Let things go. Seriously. It's okay to use paper plates. It won't be the end of the world if your floor doesn't get vacuumed and no one will do a white glove inspection to see if you dusted. You won't have time for much when you have a newborn. Life will be easier if you accept that, and focus on recovering from birth and enjoying your baby!

2. Rest when you can. If you're feeling tired and you have the opportunity to take a nap, drop whatever you're doing and take one. When you only slept three hours during the night in five different spurts (okay, that's--thankfully--an exaggeration), even a short nap can do wonders.

3. Nurse, nurse, nurse. In the early days and weeks of breastfeeding, don't worry about scheduling your baby at all (unless he is going too long between feedings). Nurse whenever your baby wants and for however long he will stay at the breast. Breastfeeding helps your uterus contract back into shape, and nursing a lot will help establish a good latch and milk supply.

4. Have good nursing supplies. My top most important item early on is my nursing pillow . In the early days it's great for keeping Baby in position when you're working on his latch. Later on, it's still helpful in lifting Baby up so you don't hurt your back from poor posture while nursing. Also helpful are lanolin for sore nipples, a good nursing cover for when you head back out into the world (or for when someone stops by), and some burp cloths (I use old pre-fold cloth diapers).*Edit*: As a commenter mentioned, add nursing pads to the list!

5. Have some new fun things on hand for older children. While you should definitely include them in your baby tasks when you can, having a new toy or DVD to pull out when you need them to be occupied for a moment can be invaluable.

6. Stock your freezer before Baby comes. I've never done this before this time and now I'm wondering why. It has been amaaaazing to have meals at-the-ready. Maybe this should be #1.

7. Accept help. Don't be embarrassed about your mess. If someone offers to help, take them up on it. And if no one offers to help, consider hiring a young lady from your church to come by and work a few hours as a mother's helper if your budget will allow. Some extra help can make such a huge difference.

8. Sleep with your baby. Having your baby in bed with you can help you to get better rest. You don't have to wake up all the way for those nighttime feedings or worry about falling asleep while Baby is nursing. We didn't do this with Katie but have with both boys and I've been so much more rested during the day. If you decide to co-sleep, make sure to do it safely. After the first few weeks, I suggest trying to start Baby off in his own bed and bring him into bed when he wakes up for his first middle-of-the-night feeding. This ensures some alone time for you and your husband.

9. Take time to talk with friends. If you're like me, you don't get out as much when you have a new baby. When your entire world, 24/7, revolves around someone who can't talk, it can be so refreshing to take some time to visit with a friend. Invite someone to stop by for a cup of tea or give her a call just to chat.

10. Don't forget about your husband. If your husband is anything like mine, he goes far above and beyond in helping after you have a baby. He works all day and then comes home and helps with the cleaning and the kiddos until things are picked up and everyone's down for the night--and he does it even though he's not getting great rest at night either. Try to make sure to carve out a few minutes for some one-on-one time even in the early weeks. It will be good for both of you.

What about y'all? What are your best tips for thriving during the newborn daze?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. Swaddle IF your baby likes it. My baby sleeps so well when she's swaddled.

    1. Yes!! Katie and Benjamin did great in a swaddle.

      Joshua is less of a fan, unfortunately. He prefers a warm body. :P

  2. #6 and #2 I wish I would have done, but now I know for next time! (Lord willing)
    Another great nursing supply are nursing pads! I'm so thankful I received several boxes as shower gifts, because that was certainly something I wasn't thinking about needing before Rory was born.

    1. I don't think I'll ever give birth with an unstocked freezer again. :o) This time I only had a couple weeks' worth of meals on hand. I think next time I'll shoot for a month's worth.

      Unfortunately, as more babies come along, #2 becomes more difficult unless someone is around helping with the older kiddos, but definitely something to strive for. ;)

      Glad you mentioned nursing pads! I don't really have any issues with leaking, but most new moms do and would definitely want to have some on hand.

  3. Mary Jo, I have been discussing this on my blog, too.

    Here's something that helped me: Remember that THIS STAGE IS TEMPORARY! Almost all of the difficult new baby issues go away with time, whether it's the mom's post partum discomfort, nursing issues, etc. If this sounds too generic, some simple facts helped me. For example, the baby's stomach is smaller when he's born, so he has to eat more often. BUT all babies' stomachs get bigger, and then they don't have to eat as often, and sleep for longer stretches.

    That helped me as a first-time mom!

    As for your list, I have a similar one on my fridge, but I don't think of them as "tips," they're actually "tasks." Smothering my husband and baby with love and keeping myself physically and emotionally (spiritually, mentally) healthy are my JOB. There is no other way to measure productivity than by THESE activities. Everything else is extra!

    Enjoy your new precious bundle!

  4. Thank you for posting this! Remembering your husband is VERY important - and I love that you are telling everyone about the importance of sleeping with your little one, I would not have made it if I had to walk into another room ever 3 hours :)

  5. Merry Christmas! I've been loving your blog so I nominated you for a Leibster Award. I was nominated by another blogger - and I'm sharing the love.

    Happy Holidays!