Congratulations new mama! You have been blessed with the joys of motherhood. And with these joys comes the anxiety of how to survive life with a newborn. Yes, life as you know is drastically going to change, but in a good way.
A newborn truly does only sleep, eat and poop around the clock. This means that you spend most of your day feeding, changing diapers and sleeping too. Little of everything else will get done during this period but that’s okay. Your focus will be on your new bundle of joy.
And look, I’m not going to sugar coat the fact that it may be a tough first few weeks. But don’t worry, I got you covered with the best tips on how to get past this newborn stage so you can learn to love it!
[Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]
Organize baby stations beforehand
Let’s start with organization. Baby organization is key and really makes the world of a difference when starting your life with a newborn. The last thing you want is to have a screaming baby with you running around looking for the item she needs, whether it’s a pacifier, a burp cloth or a change of clothes.
So one thing that has been a huge help is having multiple baby stations throughout your home. For example, in our master bedroom, we have a changing table set-up that has absolutely everything we could possibly need. This includes:
- Diapering (diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream etc. and a Diaper Genie nearby)
- Change of clothes (onesies, PJ’s, pants, gloves, socks, hats and bows)
- Other (bedtime books, extra essentials and more)
We also have a breastfeeding cart and station which I’ll cover in the next section.
In the living room, we have just a few of the essential items housed in our Graco Pack N Play organizers for easy access when not in our bedroom. This also allows for guests or family members helping out to have all the essentials at reach.
Here we include diapering essentials, burp cloths and blankets. Occasionally, we drop a pacifier in there as well, just in case.
This area is also where we keep our baby girl whenever our arms need a break or when it’s time to eat. How? Because besides our play pen, we also have the bouncer that came with it and a swing. It’s honestly the best thing ever. Check out the Graco Pack N Play for yourself here.
Lastly, her nursery (which is currently only halfway done) has everything else and is primarily being used as a baby storage right now since it’s upstairs. Either way, we won’t be using the nursery full-time until she’s ready to transition into a crib. So for now, it houses all the baby extras.
Make feeding time easier
Life with a newborn pretty much means you are feeding on demand 24/7 so forget about everything else LOL. And if you are breastfeeding, this statement is even more true for you. Although a newborn needs to eat every 2-3 hours, don’t be fooled thinking that this means you have 2 hours in-between each feeding.
On average, I’ll get about 30 minutes of free time in-between feedings and if I’m lucky I’ll get 45. Luckily, there’s a few breastfeeding products and things that’ll make feeding time a bit easier.
Yup that’s right. You might as well get comfortable because this will be your new spot for the next couple of months. So find a comfortable spot or two in your home where you wouldn’t mind spending hours a day feeding your newborn.
Personally, I tried breastfeeding on the couch and on our bed since we have an adjustable base but neither one of these locations worked for me. So we ended up getting this swivel rocking glider recliner and it has not only become my feeding spot, but also my new working station.
Whatever you choose, make sure there is enough support for your back and arms. Even though your newborn probably weighs less than 10 lbs, those pounds get heavy real quick LOL. Oh and remember to also grab a Boppy pillow and keep it there permanently.
Create a breastfeeding cart
Now this is super important if you are breastfeeding. A breastfeeding cart is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a craft cart like this one with all the breastfeeding essentials including:
- Breast care: nursing pads, nipple cream, cooling gel pads etc.
- Baby supplies: burping cloths, pacifier etc.
- Let-down catcher like the Haaka or Elvie Curve
- Other: hand sanitizer, snacks, water and entertainment
Did I mention entertainment? LOL Some type of entertainment will also be helpful for you to keep in this cart (even if it’s just the remote to the TV haha). Trust me, it will make your feeding life with a newborn so much better.
Track everything baby does
Time literally flies when caring for a newborn. Before you know it, that 2 hour window in-between feedings has came and passed you by. So even if you think you have a good memory, trust me – that good memory of yours will be on vacation the next few weeks (or maybe months).
So do yourself a favor and download the Baby Tracker app (it’s free) and is what I use to track everything. Well, almost everything. The app gives you the option to track so much more than you’ll possibly use, but you should at minimum track the following:
Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, you’ll need to be aware of how often your baby is eating and for how long. If you are breastfeeding, it’s also helpful to know which breast you fed last time so you can give the other one on the next feed.
Knowing how many times your newborn pees or poops each day is critical. Why? Because this is how you roughly know whether your baby is eating enough. In fact, by tracking my baby girl’s diapers is how I knew something was wrong and needed to take her to the pediatrician. Sure enough, she was dehydrated and I had to supplement with formula for a few days until my milk came in. I wouldn’t have known this had I not been tracking her diapers.
Other things you could track in the app include pumping sessions, medication times, tummy time, baths and more. It really will make your life with a newborn a bit easier.
Sleep when baby sleeps
Or at least try to LOL! But you’ll learn soon enough that babies have their days and nights mixed up. So the best thing you can do is to get as much shut eye as possible. This means you also have to help keep your baby asleep long enough for you to get your rest as well.
Create a safe sleep environment
Definitely start by creating a safe sleep environment using the tips provided by American Academy of Pediatrics. Some tips include placing baby on a firm mattress, keeping all loose objects out of the sleeping area and placing baby on his back to sleep. These tips are all recommended to help prevent SIDS so we can cuddle with our babies longer and watch them grow.
Plus, your baby needs to sleep between 14-17 hours each day so it’s best to help them achieve this.
One way to help your baby feel safe when sleeping is by swaddling them. Even though some babies might resist being swaddled (like mine does), in the end, they usually give in and realize it actually comforts them.
You can choose to use either swaddle blankets or actual swaddles. We personally used both in the beginning.
If you use swaddle blankets, make sure they are sized at least 30×40 as these are big enough to be wrapped around the baby and keep them from unswaddling themselves. Our favorite swaddle blankets are these Muslin swaddle blankets as they are soft and lightweight.
However, most of the time, we use this SwaddleMe Original Swaddle as it is also lightweight and come with velcro straps to help keep those little arms in place. Plus, it makes it so much easier to swaddle our baby girl in (especially at night)!
But if you’re finding that your little one is still having trouble sleeping, this Nested Bean Zen Swaddle here is probably what you need. Parents have vouched about how this helped calm their babies thanks to their lightly weighted pressure pads that feel like moms’ hands are still on baby.
Wear your baby
Now this one is more for daytime naps. As a busy mom, I know there are lots of things you need to get done and sometimes sleeping during the day is just not going to be possible. But at the same time, your baby enjoys being in your arms all day long.
This is why wearing your baby during some daytime naps is awesome! It lets you get things done while being as hands-free as possible. Right now since my baby is a newborn, we have been using this JJ.Cole baby wrap carrier and has been a true lifesaver for me. In fact, it’s how I’m able to type up these tips for new moms like you LOL!
Plan your “breaks” ahead of time
Like I said, your time will fly by whenever you start your life with a newborn. Between feeding your baby, rocking them to sleep and changing their diaper, you will have very little time left to do anything for yourself or your household.
Therefore, it’s important to plan your breaks ahead of time. And what I mean by this is to know what you would like to get done and prioritize one task per break. Yes, only one because that’s probably the only thing you’ll be able to get done.
For example, take time after your baby’s first morning feeding to prepare and eat breakfast. Be sure to also plan out your lunch and dinner breaks as well.
Besides eating, you also want to consider taking a nap with your baby so that you can catch up on some sleep. Or perhaps you have another little one at home that is dying for some attention. No matter what it is that you’re hoping to accomplish during the day, plan it out so that you have a chance of actually getting it done.
Ask for and accept help
Hopefully by now you have realized just how busy you will actually be and may seem like nothing is getting done. In fact, have you heard the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”? Yeah that’s because it literally takes a support system to get through this motherhood journey and especially in the beginning for new moms.
So please don’t be shy to ask for help. If you have family members or friends already offering to help, accept it. And if you have older kids at home, have them help out with a few chores as well.
Build your support system
Now I know this is sometimes easier said than done. And I know this because I myself hate asking for help. But in this case, I knew that in order for me to keep my sanity and actually somewhat take care of myself during this 4th trimester, I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone. This meant allowing my loved ones to support a new mom like me during this time.
Besides, help can be whatever you want it to be or whatever you need the most. This could be cooking for your family, washing the dishes, doing some chores or even babysitting your other children for a few hours a day. And as far as your spouse goes, I would definitely discuss night shifts and possible bottle feeding (once you’re ready).
Related Post: How To Help New Moms (& How Not To) in the First Weeks
Now, help doesn’t just come in the form of someone coming to your home and helping you get things done. If needed, help could also come from an expert or consultant.
I know as moms we like to think that we can figure everything out on our own but that’s not really the case. For example, I had a really hard time getting my baby girl to take the breast her first few days of life. These were some of the most stressful days I’ve ever had, knowing that my baby girl wasn’t getting enough to eat. So my options ended up being to switch over to formula or to seek help from a professional.
I’m not going to lie, this was pretty hard for me. When you become a mother, you think that your body is already programmed to do certain things so I was upset when I couldn’t figure out this breastfeeding thing on my own. Regardless, I sucked it up because my baby girl needed to eat and I wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
Support from a Lactation Consultant
That’s when I decided to contact a lactation consultant and boy am I glad that I did! With just one virtual meeting with Rachel, a lactation expert and nurse, we were able to identify the reason why my newborn seemed to be refusing the breast. In addition, her packages come with a ton of great resources to help with the breastfeeding journey.
Was I upset I had to go this route? In the beginning, I definitely was as I felt defeated. However, ever since then, I have been able to exclusively breastfeed without any issues.
So know it’s okay to reach out for external help if you need it. And if you are having trouble breastfeeding, I highly recommend you view these lactation packages they helped us tremendously!
It’s okay to say no to guests
As we’ve already established, life with a newborn is NOT easy. You are constantly learning, not sleeping and trying to figure out a routine that allows you to even use the restroom. The last thing you may want is to host a bunch of guests over who realistically, are just going to make things a bit harder and possibly more stressful.
Besides, you are still in recovery mode. The postpartum period is not easy either and definitely when having to are for a newborn while trying to care for yourself too.
Trust me, I know this is a hard one to do. Not everyone is going to agree with this choice and may be judgmental. But unless they’re coming over to specifically help YOU (not just hold and overstimulate the baby), I suggest saying no to guests for at least 2-3 weeks.
But hey, if you’re fine having guests over, that’s okay too. Just make sure to do what’s best for you mama.
Avoid self-diagnosing newborn via Google
LOL I speak from personal experience on this one. As a new mom, you are constantly worrying about your little one and obviously want the best for them. However, this means your anxiety can drive you a little nuts leading you to Google 24/7.
And no, there is nothing wrong with searching up your questions in Google. Just be careful to not self-diagnose your baby. Instead, if you have any concerns, make sure to call your pediatrician prior to taking measures into your own hands.
And don’t be the overly crazy mama like me who takes her 3 week old baby to the doctor thinking she has a UTI but was really just a diaper rash LOL. Like I said, don’t self-diagnose. Yes, life with a newborn will lead you to do things like this but remember that your pediatrician is just a phone call away.
Remember to take care of yourself too
And speaking of self-diagnosing, it’s important to remember that you also need to be cared for. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to effectively take care of your newborn.
Even though it may seem hard at first, set aside some time for yourself each day. You can use the nap breaks or ask your spouse to take over newborn duties for a few minutes, even if it’s simply so you can take a hot, refreshing shower.
Also be sure to check out Self-Care Ideas for Busy Moms here so you have a list to go by when deciding how to freshen up and relieve some daily stress or anxiety.
Enjoy the moments with your baby
Life with a newborn may seem tough right now but it won’t be this way forever. Your little one is going to grow up so fast, so be sure to enjoy each and every moment you spend with them.
Don’t stress too much about getting down the perfect routine. Right now is not the time for strict schedules or training. They say you can’t spoil a newborn and I 100% agree. I mean, at least my eight year old son seems to be okay LOL!
So snuggle with your baby and kiss them all you want. Play with them, stare at their cute little faces and hold them tight. There will come a day when they no longer want your hugs and kisses so enjoy these precious moments while you can ♥
You are doing great!
It may take some trial and error the first few weeks and may seem like nothing is going your way. But remember that you are both experiencing this new journey together so don’t be so hard on yourself.
In fact, I want you to start keeping track of your daily wins, both big and small. Did she latch on correctly today? Is she eating well? Did he have enough wet diapers? Did they make you smile with their beautiful eyes or smile? Whatever your win, cheers to it at dinnertime because you and your baby are worth cheering to!
It’s time you give yourself some more credit than you probably do because mama, you are doing a great job!
And tell me, what are some other life with a newborn tips you have heard or followed? Let me know in the comments below as I would love to hear from you!
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