Being the mother of a newborn can be overwhelming. As much as you prepare, no mother is quite ready for the life change and challenge of bringing a new baby home. Listed below are 12 tips to help make those newborn months a little bit easier.
Don’t Overstimulate Your Baby
Newborns receive most of their stimulation from their environment, so you don’t need to engage in extended active play with toys. Adult company is the best and easiest way to keep your baby entertained. This can be achieved by keeping the baby near in a seat or blanket while doing household activities and frequently stopping for quick talks. Another great way to keep newborns stimulated, but not overly, is to use a carrier or sling to keep the baby with you as you walk around the house. This way the baby has new environments to see and process.
Make Nap Time Noisy
Use a white noise machine. Keep the ceiling fan on. Turn the TV on in the background. Do something to make noise while your baby is taking a nap. Training babies to fall asleep in quiet environments can make them light sleepers and add incredible stress to nap time. Making nap time noisy can make it easier for your baby to fall asleep anywhere, which can be helpful once your baby is older and going out to more social settings.
Nap When Your Baby Naps
There’s some truth in this old adage. For the first months of your baby’s life, it’s easier to adjust to your baby’s sleep schedule, because your baby isn’t going to adjust to yours. Prioritize sleep over everything else, even housework, because getting sleep is going to make the difference in the moods of everyone in your household. Maximizing sleep can ease tensions and frustrations that can come along with a major life change like having a baby.
Soothing a Cry is a Learning Process
Don’t stress if you’re struggling to calm your newborn down, especially in the first month. Each baby is different, so try different techniques. Some babies may respond well to rocking. There are many stylish, modern rocking chairs on the market, and it might be worth investing in one. Other babies may prefer an infant swing. Remember that your baby is a tiny human with their own likes and dislikes.
Feed Right After Your Baby Wakes Up
Feeding after waking gives your baby the energy they need to enjoy their time awake. Many new mothers get into the habit of feeding their baby as a method to help them fall asleep, which can create a bad habit. This makes the baby reliant on the mother and food for sleep, instead of developing independent sleep habits. Once the baby is older, the habit of having a bottle before bed can lead to baby bottle tooth decay.
Keeping a simple chart that tracks the daily habits of your baby, such as feedings, diaper changes, and sleep, can create some stability in the chaotic situation of life with a newborn. Rather than guessing, you’ll have a record that quantifies your baby’s habits, such as hours of sleep a day and how much they’re eating. Tracking habits can also help to establish a daily routine that other family members can follow.
Divvy Up Responsibilities and Switch Shifts
Allow your partner to take on some of the responsibilities, whether it be with the baby or household chores. If you’re the primary care for your newborn, you shouldn‘t be concerned with keeping groceries in the house or getting the oil changed in the car. Also, establish times or “shifts” during the week that your partner can care for the baby, allowing you to have some moments of relaxation or sleep.
Accept Help When It’s Offered
When family and friends offer to help, accept it! It doesn’t necessarily have to be helping with the baby, but rather household jobs. Letting a friend or family member clean your house or prepare dinner is one less thing for you to worry about and gives you more time to focus on what’s important…your baby.
Make Time For Yourself
Everyone needs a break and no matter how cute your little bundle of joy is you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking one. Once you find somewhat of a routine, work in time when your partner can care for the baby so you can get an hour or two alone. Whether it’s going out to go for a walk, working out, or reading a book in your bedroom, take some time to recharge.
Be Flexible With Social Plans
Going out with a newborn can bring about a lot of anxiety. When planning social outings, make them flexible. For example, it’s easier to meet someone for coffee than a meal. If your baby is having a fussy day, coffee can easily be cut short or adjusted where meals cannot. Make plans with people who are understanding and won’t mind if you show up late. Making plans with other moms is a great option too.
Keep a fully packed diaper bag ready-to-go. Make checking that the diaper bag as part of your daily routine. It’s one less thing to worry about when going out. Obviously, you want to pack all of the baby essentials, but include the mom essentials. Always keep a spare change of clothes for yourself in the diaper bag.
Ultimately, you are the parent and you know your baby more than anyone else. As the parent of a newborn, you’re inundated with information and advice. If you’re following advice that someone gave you and it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Trust your instincts.