Liv is home, reality has sunk in that we are parents, and we are solely responsible for this small little human being WE created. Wow. Since being home, adjusting, and recovering, my husband and I thought to make our own list of things we’ve discovered in the short time caring for a newborn!
- From my husband: “Labor is a bitch”. It’s way crazier than he expected he said. Coming soon my “Birth Story.”
- Newborns don’t know how to starve themselves. Thank gosh Liv hasn’t picked up a fashion magazine filled with thin models. They’ll let you know immediately when they want something or when something is wrong. We don’t fret if she sleeps through the night because we do not wake her up. Contrary to what some other parents may practice (one mom friend said to me it was “bad” that I did not wake her up in the middle of the night for feedings), this works for us. We have her on a routine with 3 hour feedings for the day and at night, hoping she sleeps through, but if not we will feed her, of course!
- Newborns poop and pee a LOT. Especially if your newborn is a breastfed baby. It’s like nonstop changing of diapers! And their poopies are liquid poopies because they’re on liquid diets! I hear it will lessen out as her digestive system develops and her diet changes. YAY! My husband feels like a fool when we just change her and then boom, she goes again or never had finished. LOL. Liv does not like a dirty diaper one bit. Not even a touch of pee is allowed. She will let us know immediately. My husband says she IS my daughter because she is OCD about being clean.
- Newborns sneeze a lot because they don’t yet have nose hairs so dust can cause them to sneeze or it’s a way for them to clear their nasal pathway! At first I kept thinking, well my mom did more, that Liv was cold. I didn’t get it because she was bundled and we kept our temp at 72 degrees in the house as per nurse’s recommendation.
- Step out of the house if you can, without your newborn. If you’re lucky to have a parent in town or help, do it! As a mom or dad, you’ll appreciate that time to just breathe and feel somewhat normal. The transition may be overwhelming for some so a step-out is a nice transition or reminder that you still and can have a life! Make it a priority to try this.
- Do what feels right for you. Don’t let your parents or friends or strangers (they mean well though!) cloud your judgement as a parent. There’s a lot of unsolicited advice thrown at you but it’s important to filter and to not feel as if you’re any less if you don’t agree with it. If you get wrapped up in everyone else’s advice, you may feel more overwhelmed and judged. This happened to me in the first few days with breastfeeding!
- Feeding options are a stress reliever. After giving birth, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated with breastfeeding because of the things I mentioned above but felt it was my ONLY option I could do because the hospital nurses push it. Each day you will have a lactation consultant visit you. Then there’s the breastfeeding movement you can’t ignore (do you belong to a Facebook mommy group? Do you have the #FreetheNipple friends?). It’s not easy. Exclusively breastfeeding is just an option, not a must. Once I stepped back and realized this, I felt a weight lifted from me. Other options which you can do or mix in with your breast feeding: pumping to bottle for your baby (I do this for Liv too) or supplementing with formula. It’s up to you and don’t let people make you feel any less for doing any, all, or none of these. Do what fits your family’s needs. Our at home nurse that visited said,
“I’m a lactation consultant but I mean this when I say this. Breastfeeding is great and wonderful. There are so many studies that back it up but the well being of the parents is MORE important than the feeding style choice. Happy parents = happy babies in the end.”
- Pumping sucks (this is for those doing the breast feeding thing)! I don’t really know why God hasn’t given us a break yet as mothers! I mean we already had our bodies go through tremendous changes (belly bumps, constant peeing, stretch marks, gas, acne, bloat, swollen limbs, veins, arthritis, sciatic nerve pain, back pain, hair loss, etc) but then after having the baby (labor is another story… coming soon) you think you’re home free. Nope- you will not only have the amazing journey ahead of you to take care of your little one, but along with that comes the tease your baby gets with colostrum only as you learn to latch him or her. Then right before your milk comes in (if it does at all) you have to deal with the piercing bloody murder cries from the babe because he or she is hungry and wants more than just your colostrum. Oh and it doesn’t stop there. So let’s say your milk comes in. Hallelujah! Don’t forget, God has created pumping machines to make your life easier (thank you God!) but you must pump after each feeding to keep your milk supply up and to release your engorged boobs, and to store that milk for future purposes (have you heard of “liquid gold?”). And for some reason, if the pump with the millions of parts that go with it act up, then you have a milky mess all the time. And those parts I just mentioned (this is like a clown car where clowns just keep coming out of one tiny car), you have to wash and sterilize after each pump. I’m not even joking. I will say that people told me to hang in there and it gets better after the first couple of weeks. I agree, it does. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel. How much better? Umm… I mean… that’s for each person to decide. I’m still deciding if I’m a breastfeeding person. I don’t get get the magical butterfly feelings that some moms lament. When I feed Liv, I am excited that she latches and is eating (maybe it’s a feeling of an accomplishment) but if I had a choice, I could name a bunch of other things I’d rather be doing if feeding her another way could give her the same exact benefits as breastfeeding. Oh did I mention how raw and shitty your nipples feel? Mine at times felt like they were about to break off. I almost wanted them to just so I could give up.
- Not all cries are hunger cries. If you’ve exhausted the diaper, gas/reflux, hunger- there’s one more. Newborns need to be soothed sometimes because they are scared or startled. They’ve been used to this tight little womb of yours! Think about it. One way a newborn soothes him or herself is through sucking. This is when a pacifier works!
- Babies don’t pick up bad habits within the first few weeks. This is from our nurse and pediatrician. So don’t get too worried about picking up your baby too much or letting your newborn sleep in your bed!
- My boobs look like Kim Kardashian’s. You’re thinking “OMG COOL”, I’m thinking “WTF TOO HUGE” and I can’t even enjoy them because they’re leaking every second with milk and hurt. Men, hands off for awhile.
- The swaddle is key. It’s been a huge soothing factor for Liv. The nurses at the hospital taught us various swaddle techniques and we found a couple that Liv loves. We’ve stuck with it and swaddle her all the time. The nurses told us newborns love it because it reminds the baby of being in utero and will give the baby a comforting feeling. Newborns don’t yet know how to control their limbs or have startling issues because they feel as if they’re falling too being outside with all this space around them so the swaddle keeps them in tact!
- **TMI warning** If you had a c-section, recovery isn’t so quick and you have a crap load of pills to take. You will love those stool softeners because each time you poop, it’s like such a HUGE relief. The last thing you want to do is push or hold it in.
- Liv has a lot of hair! That’s the first thing that people comment on 🙂 so maybe it’s not so common in newborns. I hope it stays that way. I try to keep a hat on her all the time for warmth (the nurses told us heat escapes the head so keep a hat on her always) and hair maintenance. I think it can keep her hair from sticking up once all the oils wash away with their first baths!
- Speaking of baths… Liv loves her warm bath time!
- Perspective is a game changer. We try to practice this in life but during the newborn phase, in the first month, it is most important skill to have. It matters how you look at things. Know that life will get better and you just have to stick it out. Tell yourself, it’s really not that bad (even if it is!) and try to count your blessings every morning. We focus on the positives and say it out loud. Cute baby. Happy baby. Well fed baby. She’s ours. She’s healthy. We at least can identify what makes her cry! The first month is what other parents tell me is the toughest so set your expectations and go with it. Get excited and count down the days when you’ll be beyond the newborn phase! I tell my husband, this is a phase that we won’t ever get to experience again with Liv. We will probably one day look back and miss it even though it is a tough phase. There’s nothing like the first time with your first child.
- My husband has a harder time with letting Liv sleep in her own crib. She’s in a bassinet in our bedroom at night and during the day we have her in a basket bassinet.One night I wanted to try it out but my husband couldn’t take it, he checked every 5 minutes. He begged me to bring her back to the bassinet in our room. Sometimes we let her nap in the nursery but never through the night.
“She’s too young!”
The most use is the diaper changing station or the booby station I set up!
- My husband is obsessed with these. They’re usually blue but he found white ones for me because he knows how I like everything to match and look nice in the house lol! :p We discovered them in the hospital. They’re meant for moms in the hospital and that’s where the puppy industry got the pee pad idea from! They work great for diaper changes and are disposable so no need to clean the changing pad. We’ve heard, seen, experienced the shooting poops. Not so bad right now bc she’s tiny but I don’t want to imagine it being worse than this. These pads have saved us.
- If you have a partner, it’s everything that they’re supportive, patient, and helpful with you and your newborn. It’s a tough road. I have to give a million and one kudos to single parents. I have no idea how they do it and I am in awe. God has created super human beings and single parents are in that category. I am blessed to have my wonderful husband to help me. I can’t say enough how lucky I feel to be married to him! He’s made the transition into Mommyhood (filled with emotions and sometimes baby blues) easier for me with my recovery. He’s also been a huge boob supporter by encouraging me, giving me affirmations and even prepping my pumps!
- The things we use most: Kiinde Twist system, basket bassinet in the living room, swaddle blankets, Pampers Newborn diapers, Koala Baby onsies from Canada, pacifier, baby wipes, and baby wipes. Did we mention baby wipes?
- Formula stays in the system longer so it’s good if you want to introduce it, do it as a dream feed to put the baby to sleep for the night as they’ll stay full longer! I have yet to introduce formula, but I decided I will do a supplement to my breastfeeding for one feed a day, starting in a few weeks.
- Our pediatrician recommended these drops for babies that are collicky or gasy. It’s supposed to soothe them a little more. Who knows if it really works but we wanted to try anything because we felt that Liv was fussy at times because of some digestive challenge she was experiencing.
- I record everything I’m doing for feeding and notes on Liv’s development in this book I got. It helps to look back and also share with your pediatrician.
- Handsfree pumping is a MUST. How else would I get social media time? A tip I have is just pull it down under your nursing bra since you have to pump so much (obviously if you’re at home this will work). Getting it on and off is a bitch so this tip will save you time!
- My pregnancy pillow has a life after my bump! I use it for feeding Liv instead of buying a breastfeeding pillow (less is more!). I also use it as a donut for Liv to sleep within sometimes on my bed! It can be coiled into a lounger!
- From my husband: Coming home to your family is nice. He stepped out to play basketball with his league on Monday and he said the best part was coming home and knowing you get to see your family!
- Be OCD about washing your hands and ask everyone who visits to as well. I don’t know, just do it twice at a time even.
- You DO get to pee and shower! People kept telling me things like I would be lucky to pee and shower. Well I have, everyday without rushing. I do it when Liv naps.
- Last but not least, we have a baby!!! Holy shit we have a baby. A couple of times we said “oops, oh yeah” because we were making plans and not taking into account we had our Little Liv now.
From my desk to yours, thank you for letting me share these notes on my first couple of weeks as a mommy! xo