I remember when my first baby was just born. He was in NICU for days and days. It seemed like an eternity. I remember the excitement of being allowed home. That first car trip with a newborn and finally arriving home. The stillness, the quietness. The “now what?” What are you supposed to do when you get home with a newborn baby?
There isn’t anything that you are supposed to do with a new born baby. Now is the time to get to know your new baby. To enjoy those first moment of being a parent or welcoming a new child to your house. The new born period is a time for rest and relaxation.
If you have older children, they may well take time to adjust to their new sibling but most of them will be very excited, proud brothers or sisters. Try to involve them in as much as you can so that they feel important to you and part of the new, bigger family.
Surviving with a Newborn Baby
- Listen to Your Body. You’ve just been through child birth and your hormones are still racing up and down. Your emotions are zipping up and down a roller coster. Don’t worry if you burst into tears occasionally, or frequently, it’s perfectly normal. Just remember not to take on too much.
- Don’t Worry About the Cleaning. You will eventually find a routine that works for you but at this newborn stage, just concentrate on the basics and get to the rest when you feel ready.
- Accept Offers of Help. If your family and friends want to come around and take the baby for a walk, look after the other kids or put on some laundry, let them. Grab every offer of help you can.
- Don’t Answer the Phone. If you have energy to chat to your friends, that’s great. They’ll be dying to the exciting story but they’ll also respect that you’re tired. They’ll understand that all messages and chats can wait.
- Don’t be Overwhelmed by Visitors. Equally, they’ll understand if you can’t see then as soon as possible and when you do see them, they won’t be offended if you tell them it’s time to leave.
- Cook Easy. I’m the first to advocate healthy eating but there are times when looking after yourself doesn’t include going to the vegetable market. Cook easy food, or order take out. Allow others to bring you food. If you’ve been really organised start defrosting all those meals that you made whilst you were twiddling your thumbs waiting for the action to happen.
- Relax and Enjoy it. The newborn period can be overwhelming but try to settle into the relaxing routine of sleep and tranquility. Now is NOT the time to start racing around doing buggy exercises, now is the time to sit back and listen to some classical music.
- Nap. As strange as it may sound, I was rather taken aback by the lack of sleep. However you feed your baby, breast feeding or bottle, in the early days you’ll be up all night feeding so when the baby is sleeping during the day, take a nap. (Babies sleep a lot. It’s normal for new borns to sleep up to 20 hours a day.)
- Steal a Shower or Bath. The clock chimes midday and you realise you’re still in your jammies that have secretly got a bit of baby poo on them and you’re leaking milk again, there are specks of breakfast in your hair. Nothing makes you feel better than being clean and fresh. Take time for a shower or bath and some clean clothes. (Make friends with the ever increasing laundry pile, it’s just getting comfortable.)
- Photos. Take a ton of photos. Try to get them in a good light. The edge of the shadow of a bright day is perfect. I hardly have any photos of my twins when they were tiny because we lived in a really dark house and it was winter. I was too lazy and I really regret it now.
My last tip for surviving the new born period is about leaving hospital. Make sure you know how your car seat fits before you’re actually putting your baby in it. They are normally simple when you know how, but sometimes they take a bit of working out. You don’t want to be doing that when you’re itching to get home and show your baby their new home.
Above all, enjoy your time with your new born baby. Having a new born baby is a magical time full of emotions, lack of sleep and self doubt but it’s also only a second in their lives. The new born period flies past, make sure you grab it with both hands.
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