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11 Tips for the Newborn Days

I feel like there so many of these blogs going around but I feel moved to write my own because the newborn days with my first son were so drastically different than with my second. Like night and day. With my first I felt alone, even perpetuated that myself by pushing people away and demanding to dot it perfect and all by myself. With my second son I planned ahead of time to do pretty much everything the opposite. So here is what I think are some important tips for the newborn days so that maybe your days will be a bit brighter!

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder with newborn.

  1. Hire a local teen: Before you give birth find a local teen who you can pay to come over a couple hours a week or day. Maybe she will play with your older child, maybe she will hold the baby while you shower or maybe she will do some chores. You don’t have to know right away and maybe it will change. Just have someone cheap, friendly and close by to help out.
  2. Ask/allow people to visit: I don’t think I had postpartum depression after my first son, but I definitely had baby blues. I just wanted to be alone and didn’t allow visitors. Don’t do this! Allow them all to come over. Even if it feels nerve-wracking at first it’s great once they are there. Forget all the hype and paranoia about germs or that babies have to be in a bubble for 30 days. Have visitors wash their hands when they arrive or come next week if they have been sick. But other than that it’s all fear mongering.
  3. Ask visitors to do 1 chore when they are visiting: Vacuum a room, do the dishes, take out the trash, run to the store, hold the baby, play with older child, etc. If they are going to come by then the agreement is that they do 1 thing to help. No one will object to this, I promise. People want to help, they will be happy to know exactly what you need.
  4. Leave the room when visitors are over: Visitors come for various reasons, but let’s face it, it’s not all about the mom. Mom should feel free to leave the room to be alone, shower, nap or whatever. Don’t feel pressured to entertain. They just want to hold the baby.
  5. Wait to cloth diaper: If that makes it easier. Don’t feel pressured to have all of the parenting routines that you dream of in place from day 1. If it’s easier to use disposable diapers for a while before transitioning to cloth then do it! If cloth from day 1 is easier then great. The idea is that you do what is easiest for you in the beginning. And throw your guilt out with the trash.
  6. Use paper plates and plastic ware: So environmentalists are breathing heavy at this point, but seriously folks, convenience items were invented for convenience. There is no time in your life that you need convenience more than in the newborn days. With my first son we were doing dishes all the time. It really sucked. In all of our home videos you can hear the dishwasher in the background. Before baby #2 arrived we stocked up on paper plates, plastic cups and plastic ware. It was awesome. And we just gradually and naturally transitioned back to our normal routine when we were ready. I wish we could allow ourselves to use convenience items without guilt and shame. I understand that they can be overused, but the newborn days are the #1 time in our lives when this stuff just makes sense and can alleviate a lot of stress.
  7. Set up a Meal Train: Sometimes friends know about this and will do it for you, but if not then do it yourself or ask someone else to do it. And then share it on Facebook and email it to everyone you know. We stocked our freezer, but we still had plenty of meals to make and this helped so much. Again, throw that guilt out with the poopy disposable diaper!
  8. Go outside: Sit on the porch or walk around the block or at the very least sit by an open window. Just get in contact with outside air and sun for a few minutes every day.
  9. Open windows, turn on lights, make noise: I was so anxious with my first that I had the windows shut, lights off and made people whisper all hours of the day. It only perpetuated my feelings of isolation and depression. With my second we were hustling in people off the street to visit us, had the windows open all the day and talked our heads off. People would come tiptoeing in and we were all, “COME ON IN!!” I think the baby slept even better with all the stimuli.
  10. Drink wine: I mean if you want. My point is that you should do what feels good. You are not sick, you are not broken. You are celebrating! If you like to drink alcohol then don’t be fooled by the misinformation out there that you are harming your baby. The day after giving birth to my second son I called my midwife and asked if I could drink a beer. She said, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a beer right now than you. Common sense rules apply.” Click here for reliable information about alcohol.
  11. Take care of older child: If you have an older child this transition could be bumpy! I am so thankful that I had friends telling me how to help my first deal with my second. Some awesome suggestions were getting new movies and skipping the guilt about too much screen time (it’s only temporary!), new and exciting snacks, having your partner take them outside, limiting breastfeeding (if you are tandem nursing) and getting new games. Click here for more suggestions (this post is about weaning but has great ideas for boundaries!). If you think you are suffering from nursing aversion click here.

Congratulations and welcome to parenthood!

Abby Theuring, MSW