Becoming a parent is something you are never truly ready for. You know the day is coming, and do your best to prepare, but you are holding a newborn baby before you know it and suddenly you question everything you ever knew regarding parenting.
The first 3 months of parenting a newborn = major adjustment! It doesn’t matter if it is your 1st child or your 5th child. No two babies are alike. What worked for Baby #1 may work well for Baby #2. Or, it may not work at all!
Parenting requires trust, humility, and perseverance. The good news is there is no one right way to parent. You may do things differently than your sister, best friend, or co-worker and that is okay!
The other good news: those first difficult months will be a distant memory before you know it.
The bad news: those first difficult months will be a distant memory before you know it.
By the time your sweet baby reaches 3-4 months of age, she will hardly resemble the tiny newborn you brought home from the hospital. It is true – even the days and weeks will be long (very long) at times, the months and years will be short.
How do you survive the newborn period?
- Remember tomorrow is a new day. You will have hard days: baby didn’t nap, you ran out of coffee, the grocery store trip turned disastrous, you spilled a bottle, and you slept a total of 3 hours last night. No matter what is going on today, tomorrow will be a brand new day and you get to start over.
- Paper plates. Yes, seriously! Paper plates and solo cups. When you have a brand new baby it is hard enough to find time to eat, let alone wash the dishes.
- Say yes. Say yes to offers of food, help with laundry, or watching baby while you nap. True that Aunt Martha might not fold laundry exactly the same way that you do, but folded laundry is better than a pile of laundry. You have the rest of your life to fold your laundry the “right” way – take advantage of someone else doing it while you can!
- Say no. Say no when another visitor will just be too much. Say no to waking baby up when you just finally got baby to go to sleep. Say no when saying yes would make newborn life harder and not easier.
- Be flexible. Maybe you had grand plans to get baby on a certain schedule right away. Remember that some days will be great and others will be hard. Some babies fall easily into schedules right away; others are not ready for schedules until 5+ months of age. Some babies are naturally great sleepers; others have much difficulty falling and staying asleep. Let go of your expectations and roll with the waves – you will feel much less stressed and be able to enjoy your baby more if you are not clinging to preconceived plans.
- Sleep. Sleep is a precious commodity when you are a new parent! While sleeping when baby sleeps is much easier said than done, try your best. The laundry can wait another day, so can the vacuuming. While your naps may be short and few, every one counts!
- Simplify shopping. Use an online grocery ordering service such as Kroger ClickList or Walmart Online Grocery. Why? You will save time and sanity by never having to leave your car. For everything else, there is Amazon. Seriously, during the newborn period when your baby has such a short wake time, doing all you can to save time is key. If you have never tried Walmart Grocery before, use this link to save $10 on your first order (I will also obtain an equal discount on my next order. I have used both Kroger and Walmart many times, and been equally happy with both. I choose which to use at any given time based on convenience which means Kroger usually wins because it is closer! – remember the saving time part?)
- Let baby sleep. An overtired newborn is no fun for mom or baby. Overtired babies have a hard time settling to sleep and wake frequently. Newborn babies can typically only stay happily away for 45-60 minutes. This means they will wake up, eat, maybe be up a few more minutes and then it is time to put them back down for another nap. Keeping them well rested is SO worth it! Remember what I said about the days being long and the months being short? Before you know it, baby will have a longer wake time and you’ll be out and about again.
- Pray. When you feel like you can’t handle not sleeping well for one more night or feel like you’ll cry if baby takes another 15 minute nap (or even worse, no nap!), pray. It is impossible to parent well by your own strength. Look to the Author of Life and the source of your strength when you feel like you have nothing left to give. He will sustain you.
Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. Even youths shall faint and be weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men fall exhausted; but they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”