Having a baby is one of the most amazing experiences a mom will ever have, as well as one of the most tiring and confusing. Newborn babies require a lot of attention and work, leaving very little time for sleep or relaxation for a new mom. Many people are most afraid of the first few days to a week of the new baby’s life and for good reason. If you’ve never done it before, you have no idea what to expect and you really have no idea what you’re doing. However, thankfully there are a lot of moms out there that are willing to give tips and advice to help all you new moms survive as best you can after having a baby. Here are 7 of those tips that will help you and your baby survive the first week of their life.
1. Sleep When You Can
Being in labor, having a baby, and then having to take care of said baby is very exhausting on a new mama’s body. You will be more tired than you have ever been before, so it’s incredibly important that you sleep when you can after your newborn arrives. If you’re breastfeeding, try to pump as much as you can so someone else can feed the baby in the middle of the night every once in a while so you can sleep. If you’re bottle feeding, have others feed the baby in the middle of the night as well. During the day, nap when the baby naps. I know there’s going to be a million things you’ll want to do like cleaning, but don’t worry about that stuff the first few weeks. Just try to sleep whenever you can so your body doesn’t get too tired and worn down.
2. Make Feeding As Easy As Possible
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it’s really tiring and uncomfortable when you’re holding a baby in your arms for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes every few hours. New babies eat very often so you’ll be holding that baby feeding them a lot the first few weeks. Try to protect your back and give your arms a break by always using a pillow to prop you and your baby up. You can use nursing pillows for breastfeeding, or simply a couch or a bed pillow to prop up your arms if you’re going to bottle feed. Either way, make sure it’s comfortable so it’ll be easy on you and your baby.
3. Swaddle That Baby
Babies love to be swaddled because it makes them feel more secure as if they were still in the womb. Make sure that during the first few weeks of your baby’s life that you swaddle them and swaddle them well. You can use regular blankets or you can use specific blankets made for swaddling that velcro shut like a little cocoon. Either way, keeping your baby held tightly in a swaddle while they’re sleeping will help them feel more like they’re “at home” in the womb and they will most likely be happier.
4. It’s Okay If The Baby Cries
I remember right after I had my son I was so scared for him to cry. I didn’t even want him to fuss because I was afraid of it turning into crying. I was afraid that if he started crying that I wouldn’t know how to stop it. My mom noticed how nervous I would get every time my son would start to fuss and she gave me some very important advice. She said, “It’s okay if the baby cries. It’s not going to kill him to cry for a minute or two if you can’t get to him right away.” After that I tried not to be so anal about not letting my son cry and it was honestly very easy and much more relaxing than worrying all the time. Obviously, I’m not recommending that you let your newborn cry for a long period of time, but if you’re in the middle of doing something it’s okay if the baby cries for a minute or two. You will both survive.
5. Take Care Of Yourself
Since your body will have just went through a lot of stress from labor and is now taking care of a human being round the clock, you’re going to need to take very good care of yourself. Make sure you eat and drink enough so that you don’t get too tired, run down, or dehydrated. The worst combination is a tired, run down mama that doesn’t feel well and is cranky because she’s not eating or drinking enough. Making sure you’re getting enough food and water will also help your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding.
6. Get A Wipe Warmer
I know a lot of moms think that wipe warmers are a waste of money, but I highly disagree. One of the things that always made my newborn son cry, especially during middle of the night diaper changes, were the cold wipes on his bottom. Once I got a wipe warmer, he stopped crying every time I changed his diaper. It was also a lot easier to get him back to sleep at night when he wasn’t crying from a cold diaper change.
7. Track The Baby’s Eating
Having a newborn can be very confusing. You’re not sure if they’re crying because they’re hungry, poopy, gassy, tired, etc. In order to help make the guessing game a little easier, keep track of when your baby eats. There are lots of apps for smart phones that track newborn feedings. This will make it much easier when your baby cries to narrow it down and see if it’s time for a feeding or not.