6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Period

6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Period

 

Settling in with a new baby is a time of HUGE adjustments. Moms are often sore as they recover from birth. Sleep deprivation and unsolicited advice are at an all time high. Older children and pets may be vying for attention.

 

Feeding a newborn requires at least 8 to 10 hours a day; diapering requires another 1 ½ – 2 hours. That doesn’t leave much time for self-care!

 

Here are 6 tips to make the newborn period more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.


Note: To help make feeding your baby less stressful, we’ve written a FREE ebook, 5 Crucial Ways to Prepare for Breastfeeding. Download it here.


6 tips for surviving

 

1. Limit visitors

 

Everyone loves a new baby! Visitors get caught up in the excitement and may forget that you have been up most of the night. Even short visits can interfere with an opportunity to nap.

When a friend or relative asks, “When can I drop by?” respond, “I’d love you to visit, but we need a few days (or a few weeks!) to get some rest”. Ask a trusted family member to be your ‘gate-keeper’, answering phone calls and the door, telling well-wishers you are not up to company just yet.

 

Tips from other parents:

  • Let others know your wishes well before the birth. “We know we will need time to settle in, so we won’t be having company for at least 2 weeks.”
  • Take your newborn to see others rather than having visitors at your house. That way, you can keep the visit short.
  • Consider changing your voicemail. “Our baby has arrived. 6 pounds, 3 ounces. We are doing well but we are very tired. We appreciate your message but we may not get back to you for a couple of weeks.”

 

2. Let go of the perfect home

wall-panel-416041_640

 

With 12 or more hours a day spent on baby care, it is impossible for your home to look the way it used to. Caring for a newborn takes a lot of energy.

Try to let go of your expectations. Concentrate on resting and getting to know your new baby.

 

Tips from other parents:

  • If a family member offers to help, say yes! Ask them to dust, do laundry or vacuum the floors.
  • Focus on keeping one room tidy; retreat to this sanctuary when you feel overwhelmed.
  • If there are tasks that cannot wait, use a wrap or a baby carrier and wear your baby while you accomplish the essentials.

 

3. Plan simple meals

 

This is not the time for gourmet food. Keep meals simple and nutritious. Yogurt, fresh fruit and pre-cut veggies are excellent snacks. Nuts are a quick and easy source of protein. Keep snacks and a glass of water within reach.

When people offer to help, suggest they make a meal. If eggs and toast or peanut butter sandwiches are appealing, go ahead and make it for supper 3 nights in a row.

 

Tips from other parents:

  • Ordering takeout can be a lifesaver.
  • Keep protein bars on hand.
  • Make meals that can be eaten with one hand (e.g. wraps).

 

4. Ignore unsolicited advice

 

 

false-98375_640New parents get a lot of advice and it can be very overwhelming. Many times, the advice will be contradictory. Your aunt may advise, “Never wake a sleeping baby” but the nurse tells you “Feed your baby at least every 3 hours.” (Note: we wrote a post on this topic here.)

Please trust your instincts. No two babies are the same. What works for one family will not necessarily work for others.

 

Tips from other parents:

  • Say “Thank you for that idea. I will discuss it with my partner. “
  • Simply smile and say ‘Thanks! I’ll keep that in mind.”
  • Pretend to be preoccupied with your baby. Ignore the advice and change the subject.

 

5. Mom’s bath is more important than baby’s

 

To keep stitches clean and to speed healing, moms that delivered vaginally should have a tub soak at least twice a day. C-section moms should shower daily to keep their incision clean. In the busy days with a newborn, this can be challenging.

We encourage mothers to prioritize their own bath rather than their baby’s. A baby doesn’t need a complete bath every day. Instead, concentrate on washing baby’s face and neck daily and baby’s bottom with every diaper change. (You can learn more about infant bathing here.)

 

6. Make resting a priority

sleep-330869_640

Newborns feed at least 8 to 12 times a day. It’s no wonder that new parents feel sleep deprived! It may be difficult to ignore the laundry and the undone dishes but try to make resting your first priority.

Some women find it difficult to sleep in the daytime. Try to lie down and rest even if you are unable to sleep. You could read a book or listen to music. Rest is important as you heal from the birth.

 

Tips from other parents:

  • Keeping your bedroom blind closed will help you fall asleep when you have the chance.
  • Live in clothes that are comfortable for napping.
  • Put your phone on silent.
  • Ask your husband, a friend or a relative to take the baby for an hour or two so you can rest.

 

The newborn period is a short window in a lifetime. Shifting your priorities to facilitate rest will make this time less stressful and more enjoyable.

Other posts you may find helpful: Days and Nights Mixed Up and Newborn Period, A – Z.


thumbnail-cindy-and-janaCindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.



 

5 comments

Comments (5)

Leave a Reply