So you and your little one are wrapping up your time at the hospital and are ready to head home. This is such an exciting step in your parenting journey! While it can also be pretty intimidating to step away from the protective bubble of nurses and doctors, you don’t have to stress it. We have our top ten pieces of advice for life with newborn babies.
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You’re supermom. You’re Wonder Woman. You just gave birth and you are a superhero. But that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything. You will have a ton of people dropping by with meals and asking what they can do to help—you don’t have to accept every casserole or every offer to clean your house, but do find the things that would be helpful to you. Maybe you need someone to fold your laundry or to bring a pizza for your toddler’s dinner. It doesn’t make you any less awesome, and even though you perhaps could do everything yourself, that doesn’t mean that you have to.
There are some baby items that are ok to save on and there are others that you’ll want to spend a bit more for. White noise machines? Buy it for $10 from WalMart. Bottle feeding? It’s definitely worth it to spend money on bottles that won’t leak. Looking for a bottle brush? It’s ok to get the cheap one. Debating between name brand and store brand diapers? You will not regret the extra dollars for the name brand box.
You have probably already experienced unwarranted advice throughout your pregnancy, and it will most likely continue as you begin parenting. Take the advice with a grain of salt, and know that, at the end of the day, you are the parent and you know what is best for you and your baby. On the other hand, don’t feel like you can’t ask for advice! If your baby is fussing and you can’t figure out why, one quick call to your mom or a friend could be just what you’re looking for.
Everyone’s situation is different, but if you can, make a plan with your spouse to trade off shifts during the night, especially in those first few months while the baby has an irregular schedule. If you’re breastfeeding, have your spouse change baby’s diaper and lay her back in bed when you’re done feeding so that you can get right back to bed.
Whether you’re feeding your baby right from your breast or giving them breast milk from a bottle, you will want to make sure that you’re taking care of breasts to maintain comfort and avoid infection. If you find that you have clogged milk ducts, try applying a warm compress to your breasts. You may find that your baby takes a while to eat, so keep a glass of water and a book nearby!
Whether you feel it now or not, there will definitely come a time when you are ready to get out of the house. Even if it’s just a trip to the grocery store, plan short outings for you and baby once you’re ready. If you’re unsure of how to put your little one in the shopping cart, consider getting a shopping cart seat for baby to keep her extra comfortable.
If you’re anything like me, you had your diaper bag packed well before your little one arrived. However, on my first trip out of the house, I realized that there were some things I needed that I hadn’t even thought of, and others that were taking up space that I would never use on an outing. Consider your baby’s schedule and pack accordingly—don’t forget an extra set of clothes for him and for you for those unexpected blowouts!
We’ve all heard that keeping baby on a schedule is crucial to keeping them happy and thriving. However, don’t worry about establishing a routine for that first month or so. Your little one has just gone through a huge change and is learning to adjust to her new surroundings. Make it easier on her by responding to what she needs and worry about nailing down a schedule at the one or two-month marker.
One of the hardest parts of parenting with a newborn is when they are fussing and crying, and you don’t know why. If you’ve exhausted all of your ideas and attempts to soothe, and their umbilical stump has fallen out of the belly button, consider soaking in the tub with your baby. The comforting skin-to-skin contact combined with the familiar sensation of water could be just the thing to help him calm down.
Take the time to research what is best when it comes to tucking your little one in for the night. It is recommended that you lay baby down on their back and that you should always lay her down alone and in a crib. You don’t want to crowd the crib with too many stuffed animals or blankets, and you also want to be mindful to not overdress her for bed. If you’re unsure, ask your pediatrician!
You’ve totally got this, mama! Do your best to not stress and just soak in every minute you have with your new little bundle of joy. Whether you’re hanging out at home or going out and about, make sure you’re taking the steps necessary to keep you and baby happy, healthy and thriving.