I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to newborns. I’ve had 3 of my own so far, and my fourth will be arriving in just a few weeks. I’ve also been a newborn sitter plenty of times for close friends and family who had to go back to work after delivery. The thought of having a newborn can be scary, especially as a first time parent, but I’m here to ease your nerves and share some of my favorite tips for caring for newborns. (Congratulations on your new baby!)
Whether this is your first or you’re a few kids deep, there’s no harm in learning some new tips and tricks when it comes to parenting. There is no right or wrong way of doing things. You just have to make sure you’re doing things your way. Take the tips in and only apply them to your life as you see fit. Try them out and toss them away if they don’t work for you and your baby. Remember, there is no right or wrong way, only your way.
In this post I’ll be sharing how I do things in my house and what has worked for me. Keep in mind that I’m a stay at home mom and I don’t have to worry about heading back to a work schedule.
Babies sleep, alot
Have you heard the phrase “all babies do is eat, sleep, and poop”? Well, it’s true. For the first few weeks your baby will be sleeping majority of the time. It’s totally normal as long as they’re eating regularly. (I’ll get into the feeding topic later on)
You’ll probably find yourself snuggling a sleeping baby more often than you thought you would. This “habit” AKA natural state of being, comforts your baby and becomes their favorite spot after your womb. Cradled, loved, and warm. Don’t be surprised if your newborn doesn’t like bassinets, cribs, swings, or chairs.
If you think about it, none of those things were around during the times of our wild ancestors. Instead babies were held, carried, and slept next to. As nature intended.
I am a co-sleeping mama. I’ve only ever had one crib, and it was gifted to us for my first child….annnnnd it got used as a laundry hamper instead. There were definitely times when I tried to get him to sleep in the crib, but it was more of a fight than anything. I finally asked myself what the hassle was for?
Sure I may of had baby feet in my back at night, but he slept all night long. I heard of babies being terrible sleepers and waking up all throughout the night only to be bright eyed at 6am.
Not my co-sleeping son. He was bottle fed and used a pacifier so he did wake a few times for those things, but he would go straight back to sleep until 8-10am the next day.
If things aren’t broke, don’t try to fix it.
Newborn feeding schedules
You will constantly hear from me breast is best. There’s just no other way about it. We make milk for our babies for a reason. It’s there with a purpose. It’s the best thing biologically. There’s no argument about it.
My first born was only breast fed for about two weeks before I gave up because of the discouragement from providers. “He wasn’t gaining enough” “He has jaundice so you need to supplement” I heard all the things except for “you’re doing a great job, keep going”. Being a new 18 year old mom, I needed to hear those words to keep going. But I decided to go with their “fed is best” motto and gave my son formula to be sure he was eating properly.
I tell you these things so you know that I’ve done both. And feeding schedules vary based on whether your baby is using breast milk or formula.
It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve used formula, but I definitely remember the feeding times being shorter. My son would need a new bottle about every 2-3 hours and it would take him only maybe 10-20 minutes to get it finished.
Breastfeeding is a whole different ball game. During the newborn stage, you will feel like your baby is constantly on your boob. That’s because it takes them about 45 minutes to finish each feeding and then they’ll be hungry about an hour and 15 minutes later. Most breastfed babies eat on a two hour schedule. My last two babies were hungry every two hours on the dot, no matter how long it had been since they finished eating.
This is totally normal and means you are doing a perfect job. Every once in a while there may be a three hour stretch between feedings, but don’t get your hopes up for that to happen too often.
The newborn stage can be exhausting, and breastfeeding is one of the main reasons for that in my opinion. But still there is no better choice for your baby and if you can stick with it, you definitely should. There are also options of donor breast milk. You can usually find a local breastfeeding group on Facebook to connect with other moms in your area.
If you do choose to use formula, make sure you stay on alert for recalls because they happen often.
Baby Wearing will change your life
I seriously wish someone had taught me about baby wearing for my first child. I thrifted a baby bjorn basic carrier when he was a few months old, but that thing was so uncomfortable and I didn’t know the correct way to use it so I tossed it to the side.
During my second pregnancy I started noticing friends on my Facebook getting really into baby wearing with all these super cute prints and different styles of carrying that I’d never seen before. I joined one of the baby wearing groups someone shared one day and my life was forever changed. There was a correct way to baby wear, and there was definitely a wrong way. The baby carrier you had also mattered. It was a whole new world but I was definitely interested.
A sweet friend from Facebook even let me test out her Lillebaby carrier for a few days to see if it was a good option for my baby and me. Man oh mannnn I loved it! I instantly fell in love – the comfort, the convenience, everything!
To be hands free and still be able to hold and comfort my fussy, teething baby? Yeah, I was hooked. She was a little bigger by the time I was into baby wearing so we started with the Lillebaby carrier.
When my next son was born I bought a Moby wrap to begin with. During the newborn stage they’re a lot more snuggly and need that super close knit comfort. The moby wrap or something similar is what I always recommend for new babies.
If you’re choosing between a swing, bouncer, carrier, or any other type of baby “toy/tool”, go with the carrier!
Simple bedtime routines make the night go smoother
I’ve found that having a simple nightly routine makes things easier for me and for baby. I definitely don’t bath my baby every night (because babies don’t get “dirty”), but I do like to do a diaper change and a little baby massage with lotion before putting their jammies on.
Think about how soothing a massage is for you. I will totally fall asleep right after, or during one lol. That’s the goal with baby, help them relax and feel more comfy before bed time!
I’ve also found that dead silence makes for a harder put down. We usually have a fan going, quiet music or the tv on low volume. This helps especially if you have more than one child, or just a noisy home in general. I’ve never been able to keep my other kids completely quiet during baby’s sleepy-time. It’s just not realistic to ask that of them.
And this tip makes baby less likely to wake up at random noises!
Pacis and bottles are not necessities
Pacifiers and bottles are marketed so heavily that we sometimes believe that they’re a requirement for newborns and babies. That’s not the case at all. Yes, sometimes they are helpful and useful.. but if your newborn is breastfed they may not like either of these at all.
That’s ok and totally normal. I wish someone had told me that for my first two kids. My firstborn used both a bottle and a pacifier, so when my second, exclusively breastfed baby didn’t like bottles or pacifiers, I was so stressed about it. I really believed she needed to like them so I tried so many different kinds. That was a complete waste of time and money lol.
For my third, I only bought one bottle for emergencies. I knew I would be using a Haaka pump during my first few months, so I thought it would be handy to have one bottle at the house in case I needed to run an errand and leave baby behind with dad. I wasn’t shocked though when he refused the bottle and waited for me to get home.
So just remember that there’s nothing wrong with utilizing a paci or bottle, but there’s also nothing wrong with your baby if they don’t take to either.
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