You have endured nine months of nausea, mood swings and intense labor. The hard part is over now.. right? Wrong. The next few years of your life are going to humble you more than you ever thought possible and it’s best to take things one step- or stage, at a time. The good news is that most of us survive parenthood, so that’s a plus.
0-3 months. This is the age range I’m talking about when I say: Newborn.
What is the hardest thing you have been dealt since having your precious bundle? I’m sure at the top of the list is sleep deprivation. Dealing with day-to-day baby duty is manageable but trying to do so on little-to-no sleep.. Almost impossible. Like, the equivalent of licking your elbow type of impossible. (Go ahead, try it.) Other obstacles could be colic, baby boredom and spit-up.
So, I have compiled a list of survival tactics that truly helped me survive the newborn stage and I’m confident they will help you too- at least a little bit.
- Sleep at any given opportunity
Your baby falls asleep, great! Now you take a nap. Your sister comes over to snuggle the baby- take a nap. Significant other is home, it’s their turn to watch baby (Tag! You’re it!)– Take a nap. I know, there’s so much you could be doing in this free time but the chores can wait, dinner can be delivered. Your well-being is a priority.
2. Use white noise
My son could not sleep without a fan or air purifier running. Every sound would send him- then I, into a frantic. White noise running helped us both get a little extra sleep.
3. Keep feeding supplies close
4 in the morning isn’t the ideal time to be running around trying to find bottles (or nipple shields if you breastfeed) so keep all of your supplies clean and ready to go in a nearby spot. I HIGHLY recommend having a “night-stand pantry”. This is basically just a container or organizer on your night stand that prevents you from having to get up or go out of the room at all. Have your diapers, wipes, cream, water, bottles, formula and bottle warmer all organized right there. I promise, you will get more sleep this way.
4. Preventing baby boredom
Yes, babies do occasionally get bored and it’s nice for them to be occupied for a few minutes to give your arms and/or nipples a rest. The problem: newborns can’t do much and their attention span is quite short. Cartoons never helped my baby but LIGHTS.. lights always did the trick. I’m not kidding, I would hang some battery-operated string lights over where my baby was laying and he would just gaze at them for 20 minutes or so. Magic. Also, toys with lots of lights and music worked too but not for as long.
5. Dealing with colic
Colic is unfortunate for both babies and parents. Colic is when babies cry for more than 3-4 hours a day for what seems like no reason. Typically it’s due to gas and they cry more at night. This was 100% true for my son. From 1-3 months old, he was in absolute hysteria at night. Turns out, he had a milk protein allergy and I had to change my whole diet since I was breastfeeding. Very common. So, I would mention it at one of those oh-so-frequent checkups. But even after I went dairy-free, he was still colicky and gassy. Then at last, I discovered gas drops and gripe water. Game changers. Some circular leg movements will also help your baby pass some of the gas if they seem to be in discomfort.
6. Spit up
Spit up happens from a number of reasons from reflux, allergies, eating position and overeating. It’s worth mentioning to your pediatrician if it concerns you but honestly, it happens to most babies for one reason or another. Mine would spit up constantly and my pediatrician assured me that it wasn’t concerning since he was gaining weight very well and didn’t seem to be in pain. To this day I am confident it was because he was a little piggy that would overeat. Nevertheless, a big issue is keeping baby dry all day. Bibs are a must, and pack extra in the diaper bag. Bring extra onesies- this is also for diaper blowouts. Keep receiving blankets on-hand all of the time! I took every one I could from the hospital and I received so many at my baby shower but I used every single one of them. They are the perfect thing for spit up and have so many uses. I could rant all day. I would put them under baby’s chin while burping him to catch the inevitable spit up and under the pillow he would lay on to eat and catch the milk that ran out of his mouth. They will save you from washing everything you own.
There you have it, my 2 cents. The newborn stage goes by quickly so hang in there and try to enjoy it. In due time, your baby will be more independent and you will have more room to breathe. In case no one has told you today, you are doing an amazing job!