One of my closest friends just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I’ve been offering her random pieces of advice for the last 9 months (or 40 weeks and 6 days to be exact). Personally I didn’t know squat about babies before my son was born. I’m a reader who tends to get obsessed with information so I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Anyway, most of these suggestions are things that she’s already heard which is good because she’s not going to have any time to read this.
1. Lanolin is great but it will stain your clothes. I stained way too many tee shirts before realizing this.
2. Babies cry…a lot! In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic babies cry for 2 hours or more per day. (I would lean towards more)
3. Newborns eat constantly. It’s insane. You will feel like he/she is a permanent fixture on your boob.
4. Newborns also pee & poo constantly. I couldn’t believe how many diapers and wet wipes we went through. I recommend having changing stations in any room that you plan on spending much time in. Also, when you leave the hospital, they will tell you to keep track of these daily prizes. I used an app called Baby Connect. There are others that are very similar. Regardless of which one you use, it’s one less thing that you have to try to remember.
5. The alcohol in wet wipes irritates babies little bums. If your little one has constant diaper rash regardless of how much butt cream you paste on him, switch to wet wash clothes for a few days. Also, if you dare, let their little bum air dry a few times a day.
6. Babies have day and night time confusion until they are about 6 weeks old. Babies do sleep a lot but not necessarily when you want them to.
7. Buy a bassinet. When I was pregnant I decided that I wanted the baby to sleep in his or her own crib so we decided not to buy a bassinet. While this was a nice theory, due to facts # 3, 4, and 6 on my list, this did not work out for me. We ended up having him sleep in our room until he was 7 weeks old and then we put him in his crib and he did just fine.
8. Don’t schedule anything other than a pediatrician appointment prior to 11 am. They are the only ones that won’t comment or judge you for looking like the zombie that you are (or soon become). It takes about 12 hours to get 8 hours of sleep so don’t over schedule yourself.
9. Newborns take forever to nurse. They do get more efficient so hang in there!
10. An Ipad is a nursing gal’s best friend. Luckily it only takes one hand to work an Ipad. Surfing the net for 45 minutes in the middle of the night sure beats staring at the ceiling.
11. Diapers.com is amazing. They have a ton of other stuff besides diapers, they offer free shipping on orders over $50, and they ship stuff super quick.
12. Accept help when offered. Seriously, if someone offers to bring you dinner, do your laundry, or simply hold your baby, let them. You don’t win a prize for doing it all yourself.
13. Relax. I tend to worry too much and in the beginning I worried about everything! Is he getting enough to eat, am I holding him too much, does he need more/less stimulation, blah, blah, blah. The fact is that if there was one right way to do things then there would be one parenting manual instead of hundreds of books with differing opinions. Seriously, if the experts can’t agree, I don’t think we need to worry that we are doing something wrong.
14. Baby blues are real and can be really tough. More to come on this in a future post but if you are experiencing uncontrolled crying fits, this too will pass.
15. Having a newborn is hard work. I think the first 3 months were really tough. I don’t think people talk about this enough. It gets easier, I promise.
16. Being a mother is an amazing gift. While the days can get long, the weeks and months fly by. Cherish each day.