Wednesday, March 05, 2008

WFMW - Surviving with a newborn

I love backwards days on Works For Me Wednesday!

Baby girl isn't here yet, although she's due in just about two weeks. I've been nesting a lot... getting everything ready. Still, I know there is a lot of change coming, and much of it I don't know how to prepare for... if that's even possible.
I'd love some advice on life with a newborn. I'd like really specific advice, not things like "have people come help."
I'll be at a birthcenter, and home the same day she is born (after we've both eaten and are feeling good). Hubs will likely only be home for a couple days, and then my mom will be staying with me for probably 2-5 days (not totally sure how long). All in all, I might only have full-time help for about a week, although I do have a good set of stay-at-home friends who could stop by if I needed them to.
Are there things you either prepared for, or just did when the time came, that made this newborn time easier? Or just more manageable? What worked for you?


Jeni said...

I know you've heard this advice, but take it seriously: sleep when the baby sleeps. Really. Anything else you need to get done can be done in the time she's awake.

Do things in fits and starts. (Like put laundry in the washer in the morning, dry it in the afternoon, put it away in the evening.)

Take the time to shower & at least put clean clothes on once a day - you'll feel so much better.

If nursing isn't working by the end of the first week, go see a lactation consultant. We waited too long with our girlie, and I never was able to make enough milk for her.

Life In Progress said...

I second what jeni said - sleep when the baby sleeps. You can only do this with your first baby so take advantage!

If you are planning to nurse, I say use the lanolin right from the start to prevent getting too sore. And those lactation consultants are an amazing support if you find yourself having any troubles.

If you have time now, make a few meals and/or soups and put them in the freezer. That way you'll always have options for supper even when you're too tired or have unexpected company or just don't feel like cooking.

Karen said...

Congratulations! Here are a few things I did the SECOND time around that made life easier for me (the first child I thought I had to do it all)

1. I second Jeni and Life - sleep when the baby sleeps. There will be no "regular" schedule for the first two or three weeks and you will not be as tired if you can catnap.

2. Have a week's worth of food in the freezer that you can just pop in the oven or microwave for AFTER your mom is gone. Let her cook and help out as much as possible - then the second week, as your body is recovering, you can pull food out and thaw it in the morning and then bake it that evening - all you would then have to do is cook a vegetable to go with it.

3. When friends call, don't tell them there's nothing they can do for you. Let them come over and give you some "time alone" to shower, sleep, do housework...whatever. Don't feel like you have to entertain them. They are here to help you.

4. I had a bassinet by the bed for our last two kids and it was wonderful not to have to get up and walk all the way through the house at night - just make a temporary changing table in your room or master bath for the first few weeks (the baby is small anyway) and that way you don't have so much activity going on that the baby becomes fully awake.

5. Buy a small bottle of Mylicon drops for your baby girl. It's a gas-aid for babies and even newborns suck in air when they are first learning to nurse. It's good.

6. If you are nursing, expect to have some pain in the nipple region. The best advice (other than a good tube of quality lanolin) is that you make sure the baby is properly latched on - her mouth will be open WIDE. If you have problems after your milk comes in, don't hesitate to call the birthing center or contact your local La leche league. I had to go back to those precious nurses five times and almost gave up on nursing with my first baby because she wasn't latching on properly. I'm so glad I didn't give up. :) But don't feel badly if it doesn't work for you - there are wonderful options for bottle feeding out there now, too.

That's all I've got. It's been three and a half years since I had a baby in the house. :)

Kim said...

The best advice I ever received was from a nurse at the hospital just after my son was born.

She said "Welcome everyone's advice, but filter through it all and do what works for you".

You don't have to do things a certain way just because your Mom, best friend or sister did it that way (within reason of course).

Remember to breathe and no one expects you to be perfect. And when you need help ask - when you don't want help, let people know that too.

It can be overwhelming enough having a new little life to care for - then add in the mixed up hormones! Yawhsa! Hormones are funny things - not.:)

nottryingforaboy said...

I tried to email you regarding the cloth diaper question you had on my site, but it bounced. So here it is.


We have the Kenmore HE4t so I'm not sure if my answers will apply to all front loaders

But first, I do a soak cycle. There is a button for soak. And I use cold water. The soak cycle does an auto-rinse thing and drains the tub so that is what I meant with soak/rinse.

Then, when it is finished, you have to go back to the machine and select sanitary cycle with hot water, there is a prewash button so I push that. Then the second rinse button is on the right side of the machine and I push that.

Hope that helps!

As for your WFMW question- be flexible. Know that it won't be perfect, be prepared to laugh, cry, feel overwhelmed and so much love all at once.

I think the best advice regarding the harder things (like nursing which is hard and not natural- you have to learn how, the baby has to learn how. I'm nursing #3 now) is to take every day by itself. Make a goal in the morning to just get through that day.

Sonshine said...

Everyone has given you great advice!

I just wanted to say, Congratulations! Also, don't be too hard on yourself those first few weeks. No one cares what your house looks like! You just need to worry about taking care of yourself and baby! :)

I definitely would work on getting meals and even some baked goods in the freezer to be able to use those first few weeks after baby comes.

If someone asks to help with meals or clean your house or your dishes...take it! :)

Amanda said...

The best advice I could ever give anyone is something that has worked with BOTH of my kids. 2 completely different babies did wonderful with this. I've talked about it before on my blog and I highly suggest reading Tracy Hogg's The Baby Whisperer. Her tactics have been a God sent to this household. Congrats on your new addition!!!

S.B. said...

People have given you great advice.

-Sleep when the baby naps.
-Don't be afraid to ask for help.
-If people want to help, put them to work - don't worry about entertaining them.
-Also, don't be afraid to take some alone time and turn away visitors. It can be overwhelming with everyone wanting to visit.

Sarah @ Ordinary Days said...

I knew I would still be big after having the baby. But "knowing" it and actually seeing it are quite different. I was sad that nothing fit and I was stuck in jammies and maternity clothes when I came home.
I got the best surprise when my sister came over a few days after the baby was born with a bag full of cute clothes. She had gone to Target and picked up a few shirts and shorts in a realistic size.
So even though I had the lovely donut around my waist, I could still feel good about how I presented myself.
It's nice to treat yourself to a little something after all that work too. :)

Heather@Mommymonk said...

I know people who made food in advance and froze it, but I was never that organized. I just let my husband fend for himself. :)

Lower your expectations of yourself. Relax. Be patient. Fall asleep in the rocking chair if you have to!

And I would really recommend a book: The Baby Whisperer. It helped me through those early days. I had no idea that getting my baby to sleep would be so hard. (It might not be for you though).

Find support from other new moms. Go to a baby play group or MOPS or something like that because motherhood can be isolating sometimes and having other moms to chat with can be really helpful.

Enjoy every moment.

D said...

I enjoyed the baby whisperer too, but what helped my husband even more (c-section) was "The Happiest Baby on the Block." It is all about how to soothe your baby, and it made a HUGE difference. People would actually stop and point when she stopped crying. They thought we were miracle workers! But we just employed the tactics in this video. Our midwife had a copy, so yours should be able to help you find one.

Anonymous said...

My little girl just turned 3 months yesterday... Here is what I learned.

1)SLEEP when you can.
2)Stock up on menstrual pads.
3)Keep paper and pencil handy. I was constantly forgetting things.
4) Rent the video "The Happiest Baby on the Block!" She loves to swing and the swaddle has been a lifesaver.
5) Make sure you have extra batteries for the camera.
6)Schedule some "mommy time" When you are able to drive and still have help get out for 30 minutes, go for groceries, or coffee, or drive around the block. You need the down time.
7)Let the baby sleep with noise around the house. TV, Radio, Phone, vacuum,etc. That way you can do things while they sleep and not have to "be quiet".
8) Enjoy- Looking back at just three months of pictures it is amazing how fast they grow.


Melissa said...

sooo exciting! babies are the best! mine is 9 months already and i can't believe how fast the time has flown by. so ok here is some things that worked for me:
-brace yourself for the worst. by that i mean be ready for your baby to be colicky. to cry a lot. to not get a lot of sleep. to have a hard time nursing. be ready. i had several friends whose babies had food allergies and spent the first 3 months of their life crying 24/7. i dont type these out to scare you. but to mentally be prepared for the worst. then if it does come, you aren't freaking out. so be ready for the unknown!
-gripe water: this is for colicky, tummy issue babies. it works wonders if your baby is crying and you don't know why
-everyone else said it: sleep when they sleep. or at least 2 naps a day for you. especially in the beginning when your body is recovering from being pregnant.
-you will have to re-learn how to do everything with a newborn/baby. shower, go to the grocery store, church. everything. so expect life to be different. but you will get into your grove. you will adjust. so just know that life will be totally different for a while. but that's ok. it will all pass. you will find a new normalcy that will be even more wonderful b/c of the new life you will have
-from the beginning, like day 2 or 3, let the baby go to sleep on its own. he or she will cry. but that's ok. it's good for them. and if they learn to fall asleep on their own from the beginning, the battle will be sooooo much easier than if you try to let them fall asleep on their own when they're older. i would choose 1 nap time a day i could hold my son and cuddle him to sleep. that way i had a balance between letting him fall asleep on his own but also enjoying them when they're so little.
-take pictures. lots of them. especially in the hospital and those first few months. i cherish the early pictures. they will grow so fast. time will be gone and they'll be walking before you know it. love and cherish your little one :)

Amber said...

Yes to freezer foods!
Yes to sleep!
Yes to cute, comfy lounging clothes!

Do you have a good pump?

Also, rest in the Lord. Have no expectations except that He will fill you up. Some of my sweetest times with the Father have been after a baby.

Also, it takes a while, even several months. Really, let go of those expectations.

Melonie said...

The other ladies have already given so many great suggestions! After two C-sections, here's what I've learned:

* Don't be afraid to just stay in bed with the baby for a day or two. You may be full of energy, or you may feel worn out much faster than you expect. If you and baby need to hang out in "the big bed" and sing, play, rock, nurse, read, write thank you notes, is OKAY! I felt bad about doing this the first time - the second time, I let myself do it with no shame and found I got reenergized very quickly. My daughter did homeschool lessons right next to me, my son slept next to the bed in the bassinette, and on weekends my hubby joined us!

* Set up a feeding station nearby if you are bottlefeeding, or at least a changing station with some water and a magazine if you're nursing. If you have a free hand you can flip pages; if not, then just think or dream or talk to your baby. If you enjoy music, you might consider having a CD player in baby's nursery or whatever room you'll be in most. When you're nursing/feeding, you can enjoy some music together.

* Nap with baby when you feel like it. If you're not sleepy, use the time to accomplish a little something, but don't wear yourself out or you'll have no energy when baby wakes back up. My daughter loved her swing, so I slept on the couch while she slept in her swing in the family room; other times I could do things in the kitchen or grab a shower. (Which is the most WONderful time. haha)

Jenni said...

I second the mylicon
Have lots of size newborn pampers diapers on hand (they fit the best for a newborn's big belly and scrawny legs). You don't want to have to run out and buy more diapers right away.
I think that Depends undergarments are wonderful for the first week or two. It's great not to have to worry about leaks on your sheets or sticky bad-backing on your stitches.

Your hips will be bigger after giving birth than they were before. If you find any pants on clearance that are not maternity but would fit you now or even be a little loose, snatch 'em up! You don't want to have to spend your first 3 months postpartum feeling totally frumpy.

Buy Lansinoh breastpads. They're simply the best, and one of the least expensive. They hold a lot of liquid (important for those engorged days), have a layer that wicks moisture away (good for avoiding yeast infections), and they have a waterproof backing (to prevent soaking your shirt). I LOVE them.

Good luck and congratulations! I found that having a newborn wasn't nearly as hard as people made it out to be. Having a newborn and a toddler, though, was another story...

Stroba said...

Right after the birth, the peri bottle is your friend!

I ditto Amanda's comment about The Baby Whisperer. I have The Baby Whisperer Solves All of your problems...and she really has! My son was on a routine and sleeping through the night at 2.5 months and I give that book credit for helping me get him there!

Swaddling works.

Use Lansinoh or Purelan faithfully! You can also use it on baby's skin if those annoying rashes show up on her cheeks.'re in for the best time of your life.

Tracye said...


You've gotten some really good advice already... so I'll try not to repeat it.

Yes, Lansinoh!!! I never got sore nipples (nursed two babies) using it. And Lansinoh breast pads are the best! They also have adhesive that keeps them where they're supposed to be. We were once at Sears getting my first baby's picture taken, when I looked down, and low and behold one of my breast pads was on the floor!!! My husband saw it at the same time. We just looked at each other, I handed him the baby, and walked out! You never want that!

For both of mine, I had their pictures taken at Sears once a month, starting the first week or two, every month for the first year. I now have them framed consecutively. It's amazing how much they change from month to month without you really noticing, and really great to look back at them now. Sears has a Smile Saver program, that makes getting pictures really cheap. No sitting fees, and you get coupons in the mail/online every month.

My husband & I loved/used the book "On Becoming Babywise" for both of ours. With both of mine I was terrified to not be able to sleep through the night... I'm just not a nice person on too little sleep! My first one was sleeping through the night at two weeks, the second one I think it was a few days to a week.

I would take a REALLY comfy, roomy outfit to wear home. You go out looking just as pregnant as you go in!

Good luck!

fullheartandhands mama said...

Congratulations! There is nothing quite like having your first baby.

As for advice, ignore most of the books. They will likely only serve to make you think you are doing things "wrong". I found Baby 411 to be the exception. It covered all baby topics in a general fashion.

Sleep when you can.

Hold the baby as much as possible. They really do grow quickly.

Have simple meals in the freezer.

Don't sweat the small stuff. If the baby will only sleep in the swing, so be it. Let her sleep in the swing.

A shower really can make you feel like you got four consecutive hours of sleep instead of just two or three. :)

Learn to expect the unexpected.

Have a tub for soaking stained baby clothes.

Have fun and again congratulations!

The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said...

I highly recommend that you read "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg. I have 3 children and they were all the BEST sleepers because of this book!!!! The best advice: don't let your baby fall asleep after eating. Get in the habit of making that time "up time" (even if you have to wake him/her), then put the baby down to sleep while they are DROWSY BUT STILL AWAKE. This is harder to do in the early weeks, but keep it up and you'll have a good sleeper because your baby will know how to fall asleep on his/her own.

Mom2fur said...

Well, first--congratulations!
Second, remember this rule:
Don't Stand When You Can Sit and Don't Sit When You Can Lay Down.

Take care of yourself! The Queen isn't coming to dinner at your house any time soon, so don't feel you have to keep up with the house. Trust me, the dust isn't going anywhere, but your baby is gonna grow right before your eyes. So hold her, hold her, hold her! What I wouldn't give to cuddle one of mine again (mine are 17, 21, 23 and 25--way beyond cuddling, LOL!)

It could take as much as six weeks for your body to get 'back to normal,' whatever that means. So again, read the rule I posted up at the top of this comment.

I'll tell you one thing no one told me when my first was born. You have a sort of 'period' for a few weeks after a birth. It might even be for a few days, but have some good overnight 'pads' on hand. You'll be glad you do!

And trust your instincts. This is your baby...not your mom's, not your aunt Betty Lou's, not the doctor's. do what you feel is right, and you'll be just fine!

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