After having a baby, one of the toughest things is getting through that first month with your newborn. It is a huge adjustment and it takes time to figure out your schedule, the baby’s schedule and your new family life dynamic. Not all children are the same and not everyone will be able to follow these tips. But from us moms who have 8 kids between the three of us, we think we can recommend a few things that will help you survive that first month.
One of the first things that we suggest any mom do is to work on getting your new baby on a solid schedule. Mainly a schedule for eating and sleeping. Research studies have shown that babies need and prefer a schedule at this age. It will help them adjust to knowing the difference between night and day quicker, allow for a solid eating pattern to help normalize their digestion and help you develop a routine. This will help the baby adjust much quicker and make life easier for you to plan around.
Next, we recommend you have a meal plan in advance. If you did not do any freezer meals ahead of time, don’t worry I didn’t with my first kid and we survived. Try to have a schedule of what you want to eat for at least that first week after bringing home your newborn. More than likely lots of people will bring you food, offer to get you something or just come by with goodies. Decide ahead of time, make a plan, so you don’t end up eating the same thing, or a bunch of junk food and snacks, over and over each night. You and your new baby need good nutrition to survive and with a little planning, you can make it happen!
Sleep, if you didn’t already realize it you will NOT get a lot of sleep during this first month. From around the clock feedings, diaper changes and getting your baby to sleep, you will be exhausted. So sleep, when they sleep. Take naps when you can. Ask someone to help you out if they are free for a few hours so you can get an extended naptime in during the day. Since you might have been up all night with your little one.
Be attentive, your new baby is going to captivate your heart and steal your time and attention. Don’t forget about yourself, make sure you are taking care of you! Physically, your body is going to be healing itself and re-adjusting back to normal, make sure to be aware of what your body is doing and call your doctor right away if something does not seem right or is hurting more than normal. Mentally, keeping yourself on track and watch for signs of extreme anxiety or depression (postpartum blues). It’s ok if you feel like an emotional mess and cry, laugh and yell all in the same day- just know what is normal for you as far as your mental state and ask others to tell you if something seems off right away. Spiritually, don’t let your spiritual life suffer after having a baby. It is very easy to get caught up in caring for this new life that it takes away your quiet time with God. Mental clarity, spiritual encouragement, meditation and reflection on God and His Word can have a profound impact on your life after a newborn; after all this new life is God’s amazing gift to you!
Finally, make sure you have the essentials for the baby when they come home. Truthfully, we usually buy and have WAY WAY WAY too many things for our kids. Newborn babies don’t really need that much stuff, mainly things for eating, sleeping and using the bathroom. This can be very simple, if breastfeeding than you, or bottle feeding, we recommend 3 bottles and formula, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, a place to sleep like a crib, pack and play or bassinet, a pacifier and a swaddle (these last 2 are optional-but we found them to be essential for our kids). That is all you truly need to start with! Everything else is just extra stuff that clutters your house and does not guarantee any extra help!
Hopefully, you can feel a little better prepared to survive the first month with your newborn after reading our tips. We have all been there and know how hard that first month can be, hang in there and just take it one day at a time. You can do this mama! It does get better with each month and before you know it they will be rolling, crawling, walking and talking to you.
Congratulations on your new baby!