If are reading this and you just had a new baby, I would like to say Congratulations!!
You would imagine that after giving birth, the hard part is over, right?
The fun has just begun!
I recently had our second baby and she is just a dream. She is my blessing and answer to all my prayers.
Nevertheless, I am not immune to all the crazy feelings new moms have after they give birth. And I have a 3 ½ year old as well which means feeling twice nutty.
I did a lot of reading on how to handle things with two kids.
However, every tip and strategy fall apart when you have a preschooler showing tantrum in the living room as you breastfeed to calm a wailing baby. At that moment, the only thing you feel like doing is going into the bathroom alone and locking the door.
Yep, you heard me.
But you can’t. Not at that moment at least…
I’ve had too many such moments this past month. And even though I have not used the bathroom getaway just yet, I have found myself crying out of frustration on several occasions.
My newborn is now almost 6 weeks old, and my oldest is off to pre-school in 2 weeks.
I have very good days and some bad days, especially nights, but I am taking it day by day and finding more balance every day. I am much better physically since the delivery therefore I have more energy, less pain, and even more patience in me as the days go by.
Before having the baby, we prepare for the worst.
We get all those necessary baby items and more to ensure that we are fully prepared for all the scenarios with the newborn.
Along with giving yourself some time to adjust, here are some other ways to survive the first few weeks with a new baby in the house.
How to Survive the First Few Weeks with a New Baby
Find someone to cook for you
Okay so if you have already meal-prepped or packed your freezer with frozen meals, you are good to go, because cooking is the last thing you would want to do when you have a new baby to take care of. You need to eat, but you would not feel like cooking. So, find someone who can. If you have family and friends who can bring you a few meals here and there, that is just super! And if not, you can order food, or use a delivery system like ubereats or doordash and have food delivered. This is only for those initial days with the baby and until you feel physically capable to stand or walk around in the kitchen.
Besides cooking, accept all and any help that you can get!
If you are like me and have another child who demands your attention, get a baby carrier so you can be hands-free. There are several types of carriers in the market today. Get whatever kind that suits your needs and budget.
Whether you have a natural delivery or via a c-section, your body will be sore a lot. And not just down under, but your entire body! I know my lower back was hurting a lot after about a week and some days I could barely move without pain. Get a heating pad for those painful moments. You can plug it in when you are feeding the baby and let it do the work. New moms do not get the luxury of hot baths very often so a heating pad to sooth your aching muscles is the next best thing.
Toys and snacks for other kiddos
I have a 3 ½ year old who suddenly decided that she only wanted me after her little sister came into the picture. To avoid the “I am bored” moments, I prepared several play packets for her (see below for some ideas). I did major shopping before the baby and got several snacks that she likes and stocked the pantry with them. Additionally, I downloaded and recorded some of her favorite TV shows like Dora, Paw Patrol, and Mickey Mouse to allow for some screen time here and there. These kept her busy and gave me time to take care of the baby.
Rocking Chair or Recliner
I am sure you are fully prepared for the baby with all the essentials ready to go. Along with that, try to get a rocking chair for yourself. Babies need to be shushed and bounced and carried and rocked, and a rocking chair would be very helpful. It is much more comfortable than a balance ball which many mamas use to bounce on and calm the baby, and you can also nurse the baby while you rock so it is a winner overall! I have napped on my chair on several occasions, therefore, something comfortable would be ideal. Here is what I got!
Extra tanks/nursing bras
We all know that babies love to spit up. In anticipation of that, you must have purchased several hundred packets of burp cloths or towels, right?😊. Add extra tanks and nursing bras to that list as well. Despite the burp clothes, my little one would creatively mess up my tops on several occasions.
On a given night, I would change 3-4 times because she would spit up milk and it would run down my breasts, or on my shoulders, or back. Having extra tanks and nursing bras will be a blessing when you are not up for doing laundry in the middle of the night! I got some cheap tees from Walmart for such moments and purchased about 7-8 nursing bras from motherhood maternity, but you can choose your own style as you like! Comfort over style is always a winner in my books 😊.
Boppy Lounger or Swing
Get something where you can put the baby, so you do not have to carry him/her all the time. My little one became colicky, so I got the Boppy lounger to keep her slightly elevated to reduce those refluxes. She also takes a few naps in it and it gives me a break to take a quick shower or do some house work.
Stay up to date on your pain meds post-partum. I missed them one too many times and then found myself in so much pain in the middle of feeding or diapering or even getting out of bed. The last thing you want to do is torture your body even more than what it has already been through. To function well for your baby, you need to take care of yourself first, and that starts with pain management.
Oh boy! I am embarrassed to share this but in the very early weeks after bringing baby home, I skipped a few too many showers. I would switch out my tanks and bras which were soaked in milk and would go about doing the necessary. However, when I did jump into the shower, I came out a different person. I felt refreshed, happy, and even less tired.
My doctor said I should attempt to get some sunlight daily even if it was in my backyard and for just 5 minutes. And she was right! I did not leave the house for the first 4 weeks (except for the baby’s first doctor’s appointment), and it was the worst feeling ever. But the moment I stepped out and had a slight change of scenery, I felt much better. It goes without saying that sunshine and fresh air does wonders for a person’s mental state, and as easy as it sounds, it becomes difficult to do it.
I highly recommend swaddle blankets. They are a very popular item on the baby registry these days, but I never knew how important they were until I had my second baby. My little girl is a little colicky and when she has her cry sessions, I swaddle her up in her aden+anais swaddle blanket and calm her with my usual rhythmic shushing. Swaddling makes the baby feel safe and secure like they are in the womb and it also keeps them cozy and warm. Learn how to swaddle here.
Today my baby had a rough day. She had her head shaving ceremony done yesterday where all her beautiful black hair was shaved off (It’s a culture thing!). I do not know whether she was uncomfortable with her shaved head, or her stomach was upset and gassy, but she did not want to be put down at all. She would cry every time I attempted it and I would have to pick her right up. Finally, I put her in the carrier and strapped her to me all day. I did my cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the older kiddo while the baby stayed on me, and cried several times.
It was a rough day for me. I didn’t sleep a wink the last 2 days and then carrying her all day was exhausting.
But then I told myself that this was temporary and that my baby was uncomfortable hence she was crying. I did my best to keep her calm while I fed, bathed, and read to my older daughter.
Motherhood is hard! Whether you have 1 child or more, it takes a lot out of you, especially when you have a new baby who is fully dependent on you.
You will have difficult days!
Acknowledge it. Feel all the emotions – anger, sadness, happiness, everything. And then know that this a temporary phase. Your babies will grow up in a blink of an eye, and they will be independent soon.
You are their everything and you can do this!
Yes, it will take time but just because today is bad, does not mean tomorrow will be the same.
Being a mother does not mean being perfect and put together all the time. The only thing that you need to remember is that you love your little ones and that you are doing your very best!