Welcome Back Moms-To-Be & New Mommy’s
Get ready for Part 2 Life With A Newborn!
It’s JAMMED PACKED with tons of tips & need to know info!
Whether you are getting prepped for baby’s exciting arrival or recently just brought your perfect little bundle home…get ready for some awesome tips to help you survive the early months ahead!
If you haven’t already read Part 1… be sure to check it out for some great tips on stockpiling & registry research.
#1 Breastfeeding Advice/Support
First things first, have you considered breastfeeding you infant? I highly recommend you give it a good try before you pass. There’s so many benefits for baby and mom, that you really need to read about. I really took advantage of reading up on everything possible right before baby. I found that Lansinoh had some great articles on everything & anything related to breastfeeding plus more in the help & advice section worth reading as many as possible.
Breastfeeding was something I was strongly set on and was fortunate enough to stick with it for 7 months. Some moms end sooner and some nurse until toddler years. Every woman has a different story and circumstance when it comes to weaning off the breast.
*If you or your newborn are having a difficult time with latching on the first few days that’s to be expected. It’s a learning process for both of you. Don’t be discouraged if it’s taking longer than expected. Many hospitals today are becoming more & more breastfeeding friendly. More than likely you will be visited by a lactation specialist during your stay and given several support opportunities if need be.
If there is a issue breastfeeding, your baby wont go hungry because there’s many different options you can decide from:
- see if you can express your milk using a electric pump into bottles, this way your baby is still getting those awesome nutrients from your breast-milk.
- look into breast-milk banks-there are moms out there who make so much that they end up donating theirs to help other moms in need.
- formula- be sure to get supplementing formula first and your pediatrician will help by giving you samples & coupons to try to see which one your infant prefers.
Lets talk about Foods to Avoid
This is something I didn’t have too much of a problem with, but you will understand what your newborn can or cannot tolerate. Keeping track and jotting down what foods you ate will help spot any issues along the way.
- too much alcohol can affect the growth, eating & sleep pattern of your newborn. Either no alcohol at all or limit it down to 1-2 glasses of wine/beer you should be good 2 hours before nursing. If you feel a buzz then you drank too much and it’s best to pump & dump.
* TIP 1: if you got a good enough milk supply built up by 2-3 months its time to get a babysitter and get dressed up for a datenight or evening with friends. This is a perfect time to get your drink on and not worry.
* TIP 2: To avoid leaking, pump before you go out (or you feel engorged), and bring lots of nursing pads
- reduce your citrus fruit intake. If you find your newborn seems gassy or fussy it maybe due to the orange juice you had at breakfast.
- spicy foods can cause your newborn to have discomfort after nursing, if you notice extra fussiness try cutting down on the heat.
- caffeine can remain in the breast-milk which interrupts sleep and cause discomfort. 2-3 cups a day should be good but if you notice a trend try eliminating the caffeine to test your theory.
Speaking of Foods… Go Follow my board & find Lactation Boosting Smoothies & More
Have you peeked at my post Where To Find Free Baby Stuff ?
(Jump over there quick and read about getting a pump & see my recommended nursing products + more)
Do you want a milk supply? Do you plan on being away from your newborn at any length of time? If you said yes than you need a pumping schedule.
Thanks to Naptime Tales Pumping Schedule for being awesome! I followed this schedule pretty closely and absolutely loved it because it’s broken down by months & includes a separate schedule for exclusive pumping done by weeks.
After awhile I realized I wanted to build more of a supply and started to add a pump after each feeding for at least 20 min. This really helped keep my supply steady, and especially in the beginning months when my son would only nurse at short intervals.
The key is to alternate your newborn halfway during nursing. My son would drift to sleep and I’d have to wake him to finish eating.
*Tip 1: Use something where you nurse that will help you remember which side you nursed last, so next time you know which breast is next. I used the burping cloth and laid it on either side of the chair to help me keep track.
*Tip 2: Use lots of nipple cream ladies! This will be your friend! Of course I favor Lansinoh Lanolin Cream. I ended up very sore in the early months and even bled a handful of times. This cream is wonders for soothing the pain & safe for baby.
Getting through Night Feedings
I struggled with this one above all! I kinda like sleep, but since I was already sorta accustomed to restless nights from my third trimester I somehow managed. My husband was huge support and was blessed to have him home in the first 2 weeks.
We had no idea what to expect in our life with a newborn. The only thing I knew was that newborns need to eat every 2-3 hours which meant through the night too. When W was born, I had my birth plan set up for him to stay in our room through the night so I could know his hunger cues, plus I couldn’t stand the idea of him being away from me. After 9 months inside and pushing that little guy out, I hated having him out of my sight. Many of my friends/relatives had recommended to keep him in the nursery so I could catch up on sleep. After some thought I agreed! Granted, I got a little sleep in between the 2 hour feedings and nurse checks, but it was nice having him in the nursery during the night for a little refresher.
*TIP 1: Wait a few min before you respond to your newborn-sometimes they put themselves back to sleep.
*TIP 2: Don’t rush automatically to feeding your newborn. Check the diaper, walk around etc, then your baby will be less likely to connect waking up when he cries to be fed instantly. This has helped decreased night feedings overall.
*Tip 3: Try to lay your baby down before they drift asleep- as hard as that may sound
*Tip 4: Try to stay where your baby is sleeping- preferably their nursery (Keep lights dim, voice quiet)
*Tip 5: By 12 weeks your baby may be sleeping longer 4-5hr stretches (continue to pump every 2 hours to maintain your supply- unfortunately means waking up during the night even if your baby is sleeping)
Night Nursing Must-Haves
The first few nights might not be difficult, but as it continues you will become a walking zombie just going through the motions. I had several close calls where I almost dozed off with W latched on. This was just one of many struggles during night feedings. To prevent bad posture when nursing, lack of proper back/arm support, empty water glass, forgotten burp cloth, diapers & wipes in the other room, no stimulation to stay awake and soooo much more from happening…
- Always have your water pitcher filled to the rim before bedtime
- Have an extra pillow near by for added back support while sitting up
- Always have your nursing pillow easily attainable
- Near a lamp you can reach/nightlight
- Always a blanket near for you & a extra swaddle near by
- Prepare a breastfeeding basket/tote to have at arms length and include:
- extra water bottle
- burp cloths
- diapers & wipes
- extra baby outfit
- something interesting to watch or read for 30 min
- nipple cream
- nursing pads
- a notepad & pen (I always kept track of the time when I nursed)
- snack (chocolate covered raisins are my fave)
- hand sanitizer
- lip balm
There’s so much to breastfeeding! Hope these few tips & advice will aid you in preparing for your life with a newborn!
#2 Newborn Sleep Schedule
Getting a game plan for your newborn’s sleep habits is critical when preparing for having a baby.
I had a sleep schedule set up and everything, because I knew I needed to teach my son how to sleep through the night. I made a lot of mistakes along the way and caved plenty of times!
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with your newborn falling asleep on you or with you in bed because those are the sweetest moments and they fly by so quickly. It was so hard for me to get up and move him when he was asleep on me, so many times I’d sleep with him. This is normal and quite fine but looking back I think I could’ve laid him down more in his crib to nap in those first months.
I also automatically went to swinging him to sleep, or rocking him to sleep which later I feel resulted in him not knowing how to sooth himself to sleep. He was so use to those associations, that by 4 months he didn’t know what the crib was… It was a constant battle for me on & off until 8 months.
There were a few accomplishments of 5 whole straight hours of sleep, to a handful of times of him sleeping through the night- I’m talking waking up at 5-6am. He had a couple regressions in between which led me to lose my mind, just when I thought he was finally sleeping through the night… it was back to 3 hour wakeups!
Finally, by 9 months of trying all kind of sleep strategies… I was at my wits end! A friend of mine who had similar issues recommend I get The Sleep Sense Program. This was the answer to my problems! I followed the advice and by the end of the week I was able to lay him down awake without crying and he would sleep peacefully through the night! I was one happy mommy 🙂 It was hard that whole week for me to listen to nonstop crying, but it paid off thank goodness.
To make your life with a newborn easier follow these tips that I was guilty of doing & learned the hard way…
- WAKE-EAT-PLAY-SLEEP (baby eats as soon as he is awake and not before they sleep)
- Lay baby down in their crib as early as possible (they know that it is their a place to sleep)
- Try not to co-sleep (if you do…you may want to rethink it after 3 months-is co-sleeping working out for everybody?)
- Try not to rely on putting your baby to sleep with swings, car rides, pacifiers etc. (after awhile it becomes the only way to get him to sleep)
- Try to lay your baby down awake! (becomes so frustrating after you get baby to sleep to have him wake up as soon you lay him down-this becomes a never ending circle-work on laying him down before he falls asleep, this will teach him to learn the skills to soothe himself)
- Try not to breastfeed/bottle-feed your baby to sleep! (this becomes an association after awhile & confuses your newborn to sleep while eating-keep track of how long it takes your newborn to eat, usually no longer than 30 min before he gets tired & tempted to fall asleep on the breast/bottle-sometimes he would doze off after a few min because newborns are always sleepy but try waking your baby up to get a full feeding in & always consult your pediatrician if your concerned about adequate feeding)
- Start a bedtime routine as early as possible, adjust as your baby gets older. Example for newborns: bath, lotion/massage, read a book.
- Swaddling is a must! Be careful not to make it a sleep aid. Start to transition your baby from the swaddle after 3 months by allowing their arms to be free for a couple weeks before its eliminated.
- Try to have your newborn nap in their crib when you can. (things get busy & it’s perfectly normal to have your baby nap in the swing occasionally).
Sample NB-3 Months Feed/Sleep Schedule
7:00 am WAKE-EAT-PLAY-SLEEP 8-10:00 am
10:00 am WAKE-EAT-PLAY-SLEEP 11-1:00 pm
1:00 pm WAKE-EAT-PLAY-SLEEP 2-4:00 pm
4:00 pm WAKE-EAT-PLAY-SLEEP 5-7:00 pm
7:00 pm WAKE-EAT-BEDTIME ROUTINE-SLEEP 8-10:00 PM
3-4 NIGHT FEEDINGS UNTIL 7:00 am WAKE
#3 Must-Have Newborn Survival Products
Having my son really rocked my world in a good way! I couldn’t be more happy as a mom!
There were some tough moments for me to figure out, and learn how to handle along the way but I can truly say these items really did play a huge role in keeping my sanity!
I’ve mentioned a few already because they are so awesome but here’s my Must-Have list
- Black-Out Curtains~perfect for naptime & aids when their nights/days are mixed
- Gripe Water~ perfect for relieving occasional hiccups, stomach pain, gas & colic
- Long-sleeve infant gowns~helpful for nighty diaper checks
- Moby Wrap~ able to do tasks hands-free
- Noise Machine~ always had it on since day 1 & became a bedtime routine for baby;helps drown out outside noises
- Nursing Pillow~ helps posture when nursing which improves back, neck ,and arm pain
- Swaddle Blankets~ for obvious reasons
- Burp Clothes~ used them everywhere!
#4 Mommy Pointers
I’ve tried countless of things when it came to caring for a newborn. Many of which I learned along the way and from other mommy friends who been there done that!
Here are a few pointers that a must for preparing to have a baby:
- Always ask for HELP! I was kinda timid when it came to asking for assistance. Even if I had no idea what I was doing. Believe me, it’s OK to ask your husband, your friends & family to help you with anything! (start a bottle, fold the laundry, vacuum the house, anything!) It will be overwhelming in the first few months and your going to be drowning in guests wanting to see the new baby and most will offer to help in any way. Don’t assume it’s an empty offer. Take them up on it and ask if you can take a short nap or a long warm shower. You’ll be glad you did!
- Get yourself in a routine! The sooner the better because yes babies will have their own agenda, but if you can somewhat follow one it will make your life so much easier. It felt like I had a system to guide me along the way. Plus it helps guide dad & any family members who are there helping you. It’s a good idea to have your sleep/feed schedule on a dry erase magnetic board located on the fridge or somewhere easily noticed. Eliminates constant daily questions. ( I had the 2 most common on my dry erase fridge board : Last meal:, Woke up: )
- Sleep when they nap! Seriously! Once the guest excitement dimmed down, & dad went back to work, it was just baby & me. It was so easy getting caught up with everything I wanted when he napped. They nap a lot during the day, but after a few days of being awake all day & all night it was taking a toll on me. I decided to sleep when he slept! That is the only way to catch up on your sleep, until they can sleep through the night or at least 5 hours.
- Get out of the house! Get out without baby to more specific. For awhile I never wanted to leave the house, I become a prisoner in my home. I was so stress out about leaving the baby home even he was in good hands, it was hard to separate myself. I’m so glad I did! It felt rejuvenating to get out of the house and have a lunch or dinner date, TREAT yourself and buy something that makes you feel good ( purse, boots, makeup, chocolate) It’s the little things that makes us happy!
- Be willing to Change/Adapt! You will learn to do whatever you need to get things done, even if it means going with the flow and getting of the rails so to speak. I tend to have my mind set when it comes to plans, and typically follow them closely, but my life with a newborn quickly changed my viewpoint. You will soon enough know what I’m referring too, and will have to improvise. Newborns kinda rule the place and set the tone. You just have to play along and figure out what works best for mom & baby.
- Limit the Visitors! Your going to have many family & friends come visit you in the hospital, your going to want your newborn alone with you & dad for at least a week before you allow anymore visitors in your home. Visitors are good, they bring lots of love! If possible, have them contact you ahead of time, so you know when to expect guests. Cordially ask for a kind gesture like a freezer meal, “so glad you will be visiting, it leaves me time to finish the dishes” etc. you get the idea.
- Hire a cleaning service! During the nesting mode, I had to have everything close to being ready or ready! W’s nursery was done, so I also went ahead and purged/gutted every room in the house. I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, painted them, cleaned the bathrooms, bedrooms closets like shiny new and anything else I had time to do before I was too exhausted. Once W arrived, our house was not clean anymore and I hardly had anytime to keep up with daily messes. My mom knew how hard it was for me and hired a cleaning service! I was floored with joy & delight! I highly recommend doing this for new mom friend or relative. SO thoughtful!
That’s it for this series of Life With A Newborn: Preparing for Having a Baby 🙂
I would love to hear your story!