No crafts today, folks! But, I do have a very appropriate post for
you me today. It’s titled ‘How to Survive the First 3 Months With A New Baby.” Since I’m 2 months in … this comes at a great time. Jennifer from Mommy Life After Ph.D. is here sharing some tips … and she’s got the credentials to do so! With four kids ages 5 and younger at home, she would know this topic better than anyone I know. If you’ve had a kid or two or five … this will strike close to home. If you’re planning to have kids in the near future … this is some good real-life advice! And if you’re a friend to someone that just had a baby … read on to see what she’s going through (and ways in which you can help!!).
Jennifer … spill the secrets ….
I tend to write a lot of fun “How To” posts over on my blog at Mommy Life After PhD. I’ve ventured into “how to survive air travel with kiddos” and “how to make a gallery wall” among others, and always do so with a bit of humor and sarcasm.
Today’s post will be no different, but I’m laying out some tried and true tips that I think would have really helped if I had known them prior to having each of our four children–especially when it comes to bringing home a new sibling.
Bringing home baby and getting settled has its own challenges but juggling a new baby with older siblings was always a stretch–and oftentimes the stretching process was pretty painful for me and our young children.
The simple task of nursing baby became an epic challenge which I often dreaded for the simple reason that I only had two hands and really could have used three or four just to keep baby eating. Add two or three more small children to the mix and you’ve got a situation that made me shudder in my unsightly nursing bra.
So, since Katie had a new baby not too long ago, I thought it might be the perfect time to share what worked for me, and maybe you guys can share what worked for you and we’ll all come away having learned something new, or at least reaffirmed in our previous thoughts on the subject. Namely, the first three months with a new baby are HARD. And seemingly endless.
And endlessly hard.
But, never fear! I’m offering my top five tips on surviving the first three months with baby.
Here goes nothing!
1) Call in the recruits, just don’t call them in all at once. You line up a Nana for week one, followed by the hubby’s paternity leave, then add in Grandma, later sprinkle in an aunt or two, maybe a best friend, and you’ll have three-months worth of help in no time…or maybe at least three days?
Whatever it takes friend, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if they can’t really help with baby, they can help with cleaning and taking care of the other kiddos while you focus on Mr. or Ms. Needy-All-The-Day (and night).
2) Since we’re talking about help, say YES to offers for meals. Remember friends, pride goeth before the “crying into a burnt pot of spaghetti noodles” fall, so suck it up and allow friends, church members, family members, whoever wants to sign up for the crazy, to lend you a hand in the kitchen.
What is it about food you didn’t prepare that makes it taste SO darn tasty? If you like to get organized, or have amazingly organized and willing friends, one of my favorite meal scheduling sites is takethemameal.com. Seriously, check it out!
3) Ignore the people who tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” Clearly they have forgotten what it’s like to have a newborn. ‘Cause those of us who remember what it’s like will also recall the fact that a sleeping baby=FREE TIME for mommy. (FREEEEDOOOM!!)
We can go potty, read a magazine, eat a poptart, surf the interwebs, take a shower (maybe)–all SORTS of amazing, fun things. (This is also the point in your life when “taking a shower” becomes an “amazing, fun thing.” Just FYI).
So blow off those sleep recommenders and waste that precious 20 minutes (or seconds) of time baby is NOT sleeping in your arms (hallelujah) on some worthless and trivial pursuit. Like playing on instagram–at least you’ll know the real world still exists…in pictures.
4) Since we’re talking free time, do whatever it takes to get a 20 minute break every day. These twenty minutes will be your life line, for real. With our first baby I employed an elaborate scheme to entertain baby involving sleep wedges, a swaddle blanket, a crib, and the underwater mobile. Then there was the car seat swing+vibration+music setting. Or sometimes the pack-and-play with bassinet insert+teddy bear mobile+music+lights.
Our kiddos were none the wiser and I was able to actually consume a meal–generally 1-minute microwave oatmeal that I scarfed down before it was cool, but I took it and happily!
5) Constantly tell yourself, “this will not last forever.” That’s right, three months WILL come and go…eventually. And baby will start sleeping (see my tips for that here), and you’ll get your life back, or at least become more comfortable with the newest rendition of your life.
It honestly took me all the way until baby number four to remember that last “tip” when I was in the thick of sleepless newborn nights combined with early morning preschool drop-offs and toddler tantrums. Things will get easier and you’ll get better at your job and the kiddos will happily give your patience lots and lots of practice.
In the end, just know you’re not alone. Even if you ARE alone, there’s still another mommy, maybe one out here on the interwebs, who’s feeling the same tired thoughts and the same physical and mental exhaustion.
So take heart, ’cause this three month phase of newborn torture won’t last forever. And even when it is over and done with and you’re basking in that reclaimed sleep glow you’ll find yourself wishing, perhaps more than once, that it wasn’t.
Katie here again … A HUGE thanks to Jennifer. I just loved this article. It almost made me cry. I DO want sleep. I DO want some free time back again. But I DON’T want Baby Ben to get bigger. Actually, I’d kinda like all three boys to just stay this little forever. In the day-to-day struggles and chaos, however, it’s hard to remember that!
Stop on over to Jennifer’s blog and check out what other fun (and super funny) stuff she’s got! Lots more mommy advice, mommy thoughts, and plenty of encouragement for those of us just taking it one day at a time!
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear any advice you have for these first couple months … or years!