The first few months with a newborn are pretty crazy, especially if you are a first-time mom! You have no idea what to expect and may have a ton of questions – how many diapers will I change per day? How many times is the baby supposed to feed? How will I take care of myself AND another human? Coming home with a newborn is like landing on the moon – taking one giant step into the unknown world of parenting. Most blogs out there will let you know that surviving the first few months with a newborn baby come down to a few things – being prepared, having support and getting a few solid routines going. If you take the time to prep before the baby comes and get your family members and friends on board, you’ll be less stressed (read – emotional), feel organized, be able to rest and eat healthy meals and feel somewhat normal. But do note, you will have to find a ‘new normal’ once you bring that precious baby home!
Here are a few tips that will help you survive the first few months with a newborn baby!
Get a handy-dandy notebook and planner
When you’re a first time mom, you’re definitely going to experience what people call ‘mom-brain’ where you feel like you’ve lost your mind (thanks to the hormones) and you most likely won’t remember how many wet diapers your baby has had, how many breastfeeding sessions you’ve had or which boob you fed on last. Use your planner to WRITE DOWN everything that your baby does. If it’s in the middle of the night and you don’t feel like writing it down, perhaps you can jot details in your phone and then go from there. You & your spouse can review the notebook to see if things are off or if you’re creating a pattern with your little one.
The notebook will also act as a great ‘to do list’ for you and your spouse so he or she can knock off things on your grocery or to do list without you having to remind them a few times ;). Utilize this planner like it is the lifeline of your house because it will be!
Give yourself a daily routine from day 1 with the baby at home
This is so important, and will help you feel so much more in control during a time where you may feel like everything is spinning out of control! Establishing a routine for yourself (and sticking to it) is a way for you to feel like a human and not just a milk machine. Now, we don’t expect you to be running errands and doing unnecessary things, but creating a simple routine like waking up, enjoying coffee outside for some fresh air, taking a shower and putting on clothes (other than your pajamas) when you wake up will make you feel so much better, we promise!
Then, take 10 minutes to tidy up your place. You don’t have to start cleaning baseboards, but you can put away dishes, maybe make your bed, open up the windows to get some fresh air flowing through the house and clear away any clutter from the day before. Even better, you can review anything you need for the home, yourself or baby and write it down in your planner that we mentioned above. Set a timer for 10 minutes and once the timer is up, you’re done! Easy peasy!
Give yourself a set time for lunch and dinner so that you know you’re eating and taking care of yourself throughout the day. Noon for lunch is perfect and whenever your hubby gets home from work is great for dinner!
In the evenings, take a walk to make sure you’ve gotten outside at least once in a day to prevent cabin fever. This is a great time to get some fresh air and bond with your hubby without any screens in front of you.
Commit to Visiting Hours
This is a biggie! Listen up – once the baby is born you will have an influx of visitors who want to all come and see you and the new baby (more the new baby and not you but we’ll pretend). This can be so overwhelming for new parents, especially if you’re tired and hormonal. At that point, the last thing you’ll want to do is entertain all day long. So, during those first few weeks, we suggest having solid visiting hours and stick to them.
A good example is allowing visitors to come in the mornings between 9 – 12 PM and then again from 4-6 PM. This gives you some alone time during the middle of the day to recover and nap. Not having any visitors past dinner time allows you to get into your nighttime routine uninterrupted and also allows you and your hubby to have alone time during those first few weeks. Also, during the first two weeks, we suggest telling everyone to keep the visits to about an hour so you can establish breastfeeding and also have a break in between visitors so you don’t always have a full house.
Stock up on freezer meals
Starting about two weeks before your due date, spend some time cooking a few meals per day and freezing them. If you cook a few meals per day, you could have close to two weeks of healthy meals and dinners prepared before the baby arrives. This way you will avoid eating unhealthy fast food and also save tons of money from ordering out each night. If you go into labor early or aren’t a huge fan of cooking, as your friends and family to pitch in and bring meals when they visit!
These are just a few tips that will help you survive those first few weeks with your new addition without feeling like you’ve completely lost all sorts of ‘normal’ in your life.