Wow, newborn life is a whirlwind. It feels like it will last forever, but time is also moving a warp speed. Sleepless nights, the best snuggles, weird grunts, explosive diapers, and the sweetest baby.
I was going to call this our newborn survival guide, but let’s be honest, I’m no expert, and I only have one baby. So everything that I’m about to talk about is just our experience over the last 3 months.
I’m going to start with “The Hospital”
Things I did right – having Devin. Things I did wrong – packing. Guys, I packed makeup for the hospital stay! Oh man, what a sweet naive, childless woman I was. Things I wished I would have packed: my breastfeeding pillow, our own swaddle (one with velcro), my pillow from home, and my nipple cream. I really wanted to breastfeed, and it’s such a tough start. Having my boppie pillow and my own nipple cream would have helped so much. I really disliked the lanolin based cream they give you in the hospital. It stinks and is sticky. So my tip is “do as I say, not as I did.”
Next, “The 1st Two Weeks Home”
Our bed and our couch were our campsites. We created a diaper changing station in our living room and in our bedroom since Maddie coslept with in our room. Since I had a c-section, this was ideal so that I didn’t have to go up and down stairs each time we needed a diaper change. That first week was also when the US was starting to acknowledge Covid and the need for stay at home orders. We got home on a Monday and by Friday all of Pennsylvania was on lockdown.
The best part of the 1st week was just being home and in our own environment. I was so much more comfortable and as the week went on the pain was really subsiding.
Babies really do not know day from night, so it felt like every day was just one giant 24 hour cycle.
Things I wish I would have known or had for this timeframe: wake windows. I really knew nothing about baby sleep before I had Maddie. I ended up taking the Taking Cara Babies course around week 3. Things started to click and I was able to work into a bit of a routine with her. I highly recommend the course. Not everything in it was the magic trick, but time and consistency paid off.
“The 1st Month”
I am so grateful for companies that acknowledge the need for dads to have time off for the birth of a baby. There is no way I would have survived without Devin, especially having a c-section. He helped position pillows while we were breastfeeding. He took care of all the chores around the house, made sure I had snacks, coffee, water, etc. For middle of the night feedings, he would change her diaper before handing her over to be nursed. The nights that we had a hard time getting her back to sleep, we would take turns soothing her. I cannot imagine not having this level of involvement and help! Thank goodness for hubbies.
The hardest part of the 1st month was just finding time for myself. Whether it was to eat or shower. Looking back, I should have just done it any time I could. Whether it meant I was eating dinner at 4pm or 9pm. Also, I wish I would have realized it was a stage. She would eventually not need me every second of every day forever and I’d be able to sit her down. So any mamas who are about to go into this stage or are in it, breathe and ride the wave.
“The Rest of the 4th Trimester”
It was an emotional roller coaster. I definitely had the baby blues for the first two weeks. It would hit me like a ton of bricks at 6pm and then fade by 10pm. I’d cry, I’d get anxious. Then one day, it started to feel less intense until about 2 to 3 weeks after birth, it was gone. Even after that faded, I’d go through a few days feeling good, then I’d hit a day where I was exhausted, and feel like I wouldn’t make it through the day. The best thing I did was join a moms group. Talking with other mamas who were in the same life stage as me helped me. Momming can feel lonely sometimes and like you’re the only one going through it. Knowing you’re not alone goes a long way.
Things that saved me these first 3 months:
- Meals! We used Freshly and DoorDash a ton! Anything to guarantee I didn’t need to cook.
- Our Mamaroo. She spent quite a bit of time in there. It was a great place to sit her down so that I could have my hands free. Plus I knew she was safe if I needed to quickly use the bathroom. Honestly, you don’t need a Mamaroo. A bouncer or swing, anything that is a safe place for baby is so helpful to have when you need a minute to get something done.
- Solly Baby Wrap. Babywearing is my favorite thing about the newborn stage. Maddie loved being worn it was usually what helped us during the witching hour.
- Lots of zippered baby pajamas. Extra swaddles. Extra bassinet sheets. Extra burp cloths. Extra clothes for me. We dealt with a lot of spit up that first 6 weeks. So we needed multiples of these things.
- Nursing tanks and nursing bras. I bought cheap ones on Amazon and they’re still my favorites.
- Earth Mama Organics nipple butter. Speaks for itself.