We all know that labor is a wild ride. No matter what route you take, that sh*t is nuts. But the thing people don’t seem to talk about? How incredibly terrifying and disorienting it is to be sent home from the hospital with your baby. Like, um, doctor…Are you sure?!
When you have your first child, there is SO much you don’t know. What is a swaddle and WTF are we supposed to do with it? Let’s face it, it’s a learn-it-on-the-job type of gig…like learning how to swim by being thrown in the deep end. That being said, if we had known these tips and tricks BEFORE we were thrown in the deep end, we’d at least be ready to doggy paddle.
Fed is best
Yes, breastfeeding is amazing and has its benefits but it’s NOT the end all be all. Milk can take up to a week to come in, latching issues happen, tongue ties, the works. Don’t let the stress of breastfeeding (or exclusively nursing) lead you to deny your babe the nourishment they need. Recognize hunger cries and remember fed is best, as they say! Zero shame of using a nipple shield, donor milk, formula, WHATEVER. Remember: However you are feeding your baby is the best way to feed your baby.
We remember struggling with newborn sleep because we were convinced that our first ‘didn’t like to be swaddled.’ The minute we used a tight swaddle, sleep significantly changed in our house. There’s a reason the nurses in the hospital stress it (extra points if they teach you cool wraps)! Oh, and pro tip: if your baby is struggling to settle, toss a blanket in the dryer for a few seconds to warm it up and then give them a tight swaddle. Works like a charm!
Live your life
When it’s safe of course. COVID poses a challenge (ugh), but it’s important to remember that just because you’re a parent now, doesn’t mean that’s all you are. Obviously there will be some major life changes, but try your best to integrate your baby into your life and bring them along for the ride. Plus, the best way to create an adaptable babe is to do it all with them (within reason) as early as possible. Baby wearing, stroller walking, car rides, crib or bassinet nap…you name it, baby is coming with. If you start these things young, your little one is less likely to be resistant in the future!
Give your arms a rest
In the beginning it’s normal to be obsessed with your baby and never ever want to put them down… but you should! Get them acquainted with tummy time, the swing, a separate sleep space for naps etc. anything that gives you either a minute to multitask or *gasp* even time to nap yourself. Don’t you dare clean every time you have your hands free either!
Consistency is key
We cannot stress this enough: routine, routine, routine. Babies thrive on routine and function best when they know what to expect next. Once you get a second to breathe, try to create a schedule that includes designated mealtimes, nap times, tummy times, etc. Of course, life might get in the way some days, but these parameters are helpful to create consistency and comfort in your baby’s life. Not to mention, it can feel good for parents to have this kind of structure, too.
Don’t get fancy
In fact, we’d recommend swinging the opposite way when it comes to your baby accessories. Babies are messy (to say the least…) and even though it’s tempting to buy every pristine bib and birth cloth on your IG explore page, do yourself a favor and get about 1,000 crappy ones. Just trust us on this one.
Chill on the clothes
Seriously, we know this is a tough one but don’t go nuts with the baby clothes. It’s of course adorable and exciting to dress your newborn but they grow out of those little outfits in three days. And, tbh, you can probably skip the shoes for a while. Oh, and speaking of clothes, just skip the white ones altogether. Neutrals like gray, taupe, blue, and black are your friend when it comes to stains.
Aquaphor heals all
That’s it, that’s the tip.