I was reminiscing today about how much life is different with a baby. I think it takes a good month or so to get used to having a new member of the family. I was thinking back to how hard life can be with a newborn. Or at least, how hard it was for me. With both babies I experienced the baby blues, a stage of depression that occurs after child birth. Many things cause this to happen, but it is mostly caused by crazy changing hormones and lack of sleep. It took me about 3 weeks to get over this feeling of… “what have we done? We can’t take care of another person. This is so hard and I’m so tired! “. I love my sweet babies, but this is a rough time.
I thought I would share some thought and ideas as well as my experience and struugles, in hopes to help new mommies.
Before the baby comes be as prepared as possible, my goal is a month before baby is due. With both kiddos, I had their rooms almost completely done (I have curtins for my boy’s room still to do), clothes were washed and away (I have 0-9 months of clothes out, but we dont have a ton of clothes). I have box ready for clothes to go in as they become too small. The carseat and hospital bag are ready and waiting. The crib is ready with a towel over the sheet to help it from getting dusty. The changing table is set up, the play pen is ready to be used as a changer downstairs and the bassinet is ready (with a small lift under the matress, as most babies have a little bit of reflux when born- I use a tiny blanket folded up under it). if your situation is at all like mine, I packed a little basket to help me get through the nights with a newborn. This is full of lots of diapers because newborns go potty about every feeding (2-3 hours around the clock). I read somewhere that the average newborn goes through 70 diapers a week. Also in the basket is a small pack of wipes, a swaddle and hat for baby, a pacifier a burp cloth. This helped me not have to go around the house looking for things in the middle of the night. I found I spent most of the night downstairs while my family slept upstairs. This was helpful to me so I wouldn’t wake up my toddler or hard working husband with baby cries or feeding alarms.
I found that it was a good idea to have some newborn formula and a bottle on hand and ready, even though I planned to exclusively breastfeed. Also, the micro steam bags are wonderful to have to sterilize bottles, pacifiers or anything else. I use the madella micro steam bags they can be used 20 times a piece, so each box has 100 uses for like $6.00. Totally worth it in my head, since I hate doing dishes.
On the topic of feeding, I think this is the hardest part of having a newborn. I had one kiddo that I has to wake to eat by setting alarms in my phone, and one newborn that always woke up on his own to eat. I use an app on my phone to help me know how long it’s been since the baby ate. It also times me, so I know how long they ate for. It took about a week for my milk to fully come in and during that time the nurse advised us to do triple feeding. This is nursing as long as the baby will, then feeding a little bit of formula while pumping. It’s of course helpful to have someone help during this time. It was hard when Jason went back to work. The only way to boost your mill supply is by extracting lots of milk, so I was pumping even though nothing came out. Within the first month and a half I struggled with engorgment (an over supply often happens to mom’s while their body is adjusting to how much milk is needed), I got mastitis (a blocked milk duct that got infected – makes you feel really sick). I also had to adjust my diet because both my kids had/have milk protein allergies (that make them really fussy and my oldest even had blood in her stool) so I can’t have milk. With my daughter, her latch was so bad I would cry adjust every feeding and had bleeding nipples for 2 months (tmi, but true). I found even through the hardships it was totally worth it!
I think the first 2 weeks are the hardest, with the baby blues, the constant diaper changes, the umbelical cord consideration, your own body healing, but I found by week 3-4 I was starting to get the hang of it and starting to feel good about it. It is so wonderful to add a member to the family, just have to make it through the first couple weeks. I can’t imagine life without my sweeties!