in: Baby>, Pregnant>, Pregnancy
Preparing for a newborn, especially as a first time mom, can be overwhelming.
When I saw this post in the community, I knew I had to speak out. I know SO many soon-to-be parents who freak out near the end of the pregnancy. Here’s the thing: THAT’S NORMAL. I’m pregnant with my fourth and I constantly worry about what I might be forgetting.
Here are 12 things you need to know about newborn babies…this list could be 100. Consider this your little pep talk. You’ve got this!
- Motherly instincts are real. Even if you’ve never been around a baby, once you see your little one, something takes over your body. You won’t instantly be an expert, but you will have these instincts that guide you.
- Listen to your infants cues. For many women, it’s hard to simply stop doing everything. Many people think they need to get on a schedule right away and do this and that. Laundry can wait. Groceries can wait. Follow your baby’s cues to figure out what to do next. The primary needs during the first month are: eating, changing diapers, bathing and burping. Spend that quality time and cuddle with your infant as much as you can.
- Breastfeeding isn’t easy. Breastfeeding is a group project. Both you and your baby will have to learn the ropes together to make it work and it might not happen overnight! Be patient. If it doesn’t work out for you, that’s fine too. If your nipples are sore, be sure to use a soothing cream to comfort you. Remember: fed is best!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Hear me? DON’T BE AFRAID! In the hospital, use the resources available such as the lactation consultant and nurses. Ask questions and write any down that you might have. I found the La Leche League extremely helpful for breastfeeding help, including local groups. Ask at the hospital or doctor if there are any local support groups to join. Check out baby books from the library. I absolutely love Happiest Baby on the Block. Having someone to talk to is essential. Asking for help also means getting help with meals or if you need a moment to yourself to shower or rest.
- Take care of yourself. Obviously sleep isn’t always a given. You will have sleepless days and nights, so you need to sleep when you can! Also, simple things such as staying hydrated and eating small meals will make you feel amazing, I promise. Right after birth, I’ve found sitting on a Boppy pillow to be comforting, especially if you have stitches.
- Bathing your infant. Remember, you can’t bathe your infant until the umbilical cord has healed. Also, your infant only needs a sponge bath in the beginning about 3 times a week–no need to dry out their skin! Here’s a great video.
- Try swaddling. Not all babies will love it, but most do during the early stages. Since the tight hold replicates the womb, it helps little ones sleep better and sometimes longer! To keep things simple, I recommend the SwaddleMe 3-pack, just in case one needs to be washed. You can also use blankets to swaddle. Do what’s easiest for you!
- Namaste Mama! If you feel yourself getting stressed out, step away for a moment. Put the baby down in their crib/bassinet and take a few breaths in the hallway. Your baby can sense when you are stressed and it makes many situations worse. YouTube has SO many awesome yoga classes to do with your infant to release stress, too.
- Quality time. Even though your little one is tiny, quality skin to skin time is important. I love to sing or read books while sitting in the glider. Your baby knows your scent and voice better than anyone in the world right now…it’s important to make them feel comforted.
- Netflix and chill. Find a few new shows to binge watch. You’re going to be up at random hours for feedings, and Netflix is a LIFESAVER. I always gift a subscription to Mamas who don’t have it at showers. My favorites: Gilmore Girls, Jane the Virgin, Game of Thrones…
- Keep public outings simple. Remember those three-store grocery hauls? Yeah, don’t assume those will go smoothly. Start out with simple grocery trips and work your way up to 2+ hour outings. Also, like Scar sings in The Lion King — BE PREPARED. Kind of expect a blow out, so an extra outfit. Diapers, wipes, pacifiers, sun hat, sunscreen…bring it all. Plus, treat yourself to a coffee or tea.
- Take notes and photos. I have a tiny notebook that I keep documenting feedings, ounces pumped and wet diapers. This is helpful when you’re a zombie and can’t remember what happened 2 seconds ago. Also, don’t forget to take a gazillion photos. Time flies. Just don’t feel like you have to post ALL of them on Facebook.