Becoming a mom is one of the best things in the world. But surviving the newborn stage can prove to be quite challenging the first few days/weeks.
All kind of feelings and emotions kick in the minute you hold your little baby for the first time. You feel relieved, excited, scared, exhausted, blessed, and sleep deprived all at the same time.
It is no longer yourself you must worry about. But now you have this beautiful little being that requires around the clock care and attention. That, along side raging hormones can take a toll on our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Whether you are going through the newborn phase as you read this, or are waiting to give birth, you are in the right place!
What is the newborn stage and how long does it last?
The newborn stage (or newborn phase) is the time between birth to the first few weeks after birth (6-8 weeks). However, it seems as though the newborn days seem to be the hardest and longest of the motherhood journey. In fact, some moms (including myself) recall this newborn period as the longest days of our lives.
Why is the newborn stage the hardest?
It is during the newborn stage that all of the following initial changes take place:
- Getting to know your baby and his/her needs
- Getting the hang of breastfeeding
- Dealing with postpartum recovery
- Managing your hormones
- Getting used to your new motherhood role
- Surviving newborn sleep deprivation
- Putting someone else’s needs before your own 24/7
That’s where this “Surviving the Newborn Stage Guide” comes in.
Next, we will go over 9 tips that will not only help you survive the newborn period, but thrive through it. The goal is to help you feel your best so that you can better care for your baby.
Tips for Surviving Newborn Stage
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1. Postpartum Care
Having a postpartum care plan is one of the most important things to have in the first few days home from the hospital.
After all, the better you feel physically, the easier it will be care for your new baby.
Your body just underwent a very physically demanding journey. Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section, taking care of yourself and your body is a good idea.
Ensure you have a postpartum care kit prior to giving birth so that you aren’t scrambling to buy things at the last-minute.
2. Overcoming newborn sleep deprivation
Okay, so I am pretty sure you have heard this from almost everyone, “sleep when the baby sleeps.”
The first few days as a new mom, sleep will become a thing of the past. You will cater every minute of your day (and night) to your newborn, especially if you are breastfeeding.
It is important that you are getting some much-needed rest to keep up with the baby’s demand. One of the best ways to do that is to sleep when your newborn is napping.
Thankfully, they do quite a lot of sleeping at this stage, so it shouldn’t be hard to take a snooze when the baby sleeps, right?
Well, that’s easier said than done.
Although some new moms adapt perfectly well and take sound naps with their newborns, it isn’t as simple for other new moms.
It is normal to feel a bit anxious about falling asleep while your newborn sleeps. It is a mom’s instincts to want to make sure that the baby is safe and well while their sleeping.
As the weeks go by, you should start to feel more comfortable with your new mom role, so “sleeping when the baby sleeps” should become easier.
A great resource is Baby We Are Home, Now Let’s Sleep taught by sleep consultant Andrea de la Torre.
3. Minimize visitors
Everyone wants to meet the new baby. So, everyone will want to visit as soon as you make it home from the hospital.
An important transition a new mom faces the first few days postpartum, is bonding with their baby, and establishing a new family nucleus routine.
When too many visitors stop by, it might interrupt the ability to rest, bond, relax, and even breastfeed.
An important aspect of surviving newborn stage, is to set clear boundaries with friends and family by voicing your preference about receiving visitor after the first weeks postpartum.
4. Ask for Help
Asking for help or accepting it when offered can be a game changer in the first few weeks postpartum.
It is incredibly important to ask for help when you need it to prevent it from escalating to mom burnout and frustration.
When my first child was born, I went through a period of overwhelm and exhaustion.
I was blessed my husband was able to stay home for the first 3 weeks after the birth of both of our kids. When my second child came around, my mother-in-law stayed with us for the first 6 weeks and it was a lifesaver.
Also, the newborn phase is a great time to let dads bond with our little ones. They too need their time alone with the baby.
Take advantage of their time together to regroup and unwind.
5. Dishes Can Wait
If you are anything like me having dirty dishes piled up in the kitchen sink and dirty clothes to be washed, drives you nuts.
I learned really fast that if I wanted to keep my sanity my priorities list needed a big overhaul.
After you have a baby, expectations need to be realistic and attainable.
It is okay to fall behind on dishes, laundry, and cleaning for a little while… you are allowed to slow down and enjoy your new baby.
Actually, you are entitled to that and much more! After all, you just gave birth to a human.
Remember, expectations are what you make them! Don’t let societal expectation dictate how you go about your newborn period. Every newborn stage is different and so should your approach be.
6. Meal Prep, Freezer Meals, and Batch Cooking
If while you a reading this your baby hasn’t arrived, try to look into meal prep (freezer meals). They will be sanity saving and money-saving when the baby comes.
Freezer meals will give you the ability to throw a few things together and let your slow cooker do the work.
Also, batch cooking and freezing meals are a great way to prepare for the first few days/weeks postpartum. Not having to worry about cooking is a beautiful thing.
Use an electric pressure cooker. Pressure cookers are very safe and convenient. By adding a few ingredients to your pressure cooker, food is ready in an average of 15 minutes with the push of a button.
Make a tasty soup by adding some chicken thighs (with bone), half organic vegetable broth and half water, your favorite spices, and your favorite veggies (frozen veggies work just fine). Make a big batch and freeze the rest to use later in the week.
Easy and delicious batch cooking meals include lasagna, casseroles, and meat stews.
Trust me, when you are under slept, exhausted, and hungry… leftovers will be your best friend.
7. Bassinet or Playpen
You spent months designing and decorating the baby’s nursery and now you can’t wait for the baby to come home so that he can sleep in his beautiful room.
Well, in perfect world the baby would use his nursery from day one. However, that is seldom the case.
Newborns need constant care and supervision and new moms need sanity and time-saving alternatives.
In addition, you can use them to put it next to your bed for the first few weeks as you develop a sleeping routine.
Although breastfeeding comes completely natural to some moms, the reality is that it takes time, patience, and consistency to successfully breastfeed.
There are a lot of great breastfeeding tips for new moms that will make your life a lot easier. However, for the purpose of this article I will be mainly sharing with you those that are some of the most important.
Here is what you should know about breastfeeding in the first weeks home with your newborn:
- BE INFORMED! I can’t stress how important it is to learn about breastfeeding before baby comes. It will save you a lot of headaches.
Milkology has great and inexpensive breastfeeding courses you can take from the comfort of your home.
- Your milk supply will not be much the first few days (don’t worry, you are making what the baby needs)
- Remain consistent and feed on demand to establish a good milk supply
- Stay hydrated and eat nutritious foods that provide you with energy and healthy calories
- Keep a diaper count and discuss it with you health care provider on your first pediatrician visit
- You know baby is drinking enough if she is having at least 3-5 wet diapers by day 3 and at least 6-8 wet diapers by day 6
Related Article: 3 Must-Take Breastfeeding Courses for New Moms
9. Take a breather
I know that the last thing you have time for is yourself when caring for a newborn. But trust me when I tell you, finding a small window during the day to detach, refresh, and take a breather can make the world of a difference.
It is very easy to get sucked into the “24/7 mommy role” and that can take a big toll on your sanity.
Here are a few small daily things you can do for yourself, by yourself, that can have a big impact on your well-being:
- Take a long warm shower
- Take a bath (add Epson salt to help speed perineal recovery)
- Do your makeup
- Get your hair done
- Answer some emails
- Drink a cup of coffee or tea in the front porch
- Take a walk around the block
Ideally, you will do these activities by yourself while your husband or a loved one watches the baby. But, if you don’t have that luxury, place your baby on a bouncer, swing, or playpen where you can keep an eye on him/her and get it done.
★ Related Articles:
- 3 Must-Take Online Breastfeeding Classes for New Moms
- The Ultimate Postpartum Care Kit (Natural and Non-Toxic)
- A Complete Postpartum Care Plan, Recovery Tips, and Instructions
- Body After Baby: What to Expect (+ Care Tips and FAQ’s)
The newborn stage is rough!
Bringing home a new baby changes your life, forever. It is a beautiful journey, but it is also filled with challenging phases. As a new mom there is a lot to learn, get used to, and explore.
Know that these are just guidelines, but your story and your journey are unique. Also remember that the newborn phase is just that…. a phase, and it too shall pass.
Follow your intuitions, take care of yourself and your body, put you and baby first… and the rest will follow.
Welcome to motherhood my friend.
If you are pregnant, what are your concerns or questions about surviving newborn stage? If you are currently going through the newborn period, what have been your biggest challenges and have have you learned through the process?
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