Hey there! I’ve survived my first month of motherhood! Ha! Seriously though, I don’t think I was prepared for how hard this first little bit of being a mom would be. I had heard from plenty of people that it is the greatest and hardest thing to ever happen to them, but I don’t think you can truly appreciate how true that is until you’re in the thick of it.
The newborn stage is filled with so many cuddly moments, little baby stretches (absolutely the cutest thing on the planet!), and tons of firsts. It’s amazing! However, with how much changes so quickly, I figured I would put together my list of how to “survive” (and enjoy) the newborn stage without getting majorly overwhelmed by all the newness of it all.
take a shower daily
This is a total duh, right? Before having Kit, I would hear mothers talk about how it was really hard for them to find time for even a shower…and I get it. BUT, this one thing will make you feel like yourself again within seconds. Whatever you have to do to make it happen! Trust me, do it! Most days, I make it a priority to get a shower in the morning and again in the evening. At a minimum, at least once a day. It’s not even about getting clean. The feeling of the hot water, being in space where you can focus solely on doing something for yourself, and the few minutes to take a breather are so worth it. I wake up a few moments before one of my son’s morning feedings and hop in the shower, and then again at night after his bedtime feeding. Make it happen, girl!
Sidenote…our master bathroom and our bedroom are in the same room with no door to separate them. The shower is like white noise to Kit, and he has never woken up from the sound of the shower or the exhaust fan. If your situation is like ours with the shower in the space he is sleeping in, still give this a try!
make time for your spouse
This point goes hand in hand with the point above because we actually do this in the shower! Finding time to spend with your husband to remember that you are still married and not just parents is super important to surviving this phase. It can quickly become all about when was the last time your child had a wet diaper and who’s turn is it to deal with the witching hour crying. Making time for each other has come very easily for Alex and I, but I think it’s a vital component to why we haven’t killed each other in the newborn stage. 😉
So, how do you find the time to hang out when you’ve got a new human to care for? Well, time is a bit more limited now, I won’t lie…but it’s possible! We take a shower together most nights, and it’s kinda fun to be as quiet at possible while we whisper and joke around. We actually just stand in there and talk, but it’s such a relaxing and silly way to wind down the day! We also make sure to spend time together going on a walk once or twice a week (with Kit in tow), catching up on tv shows while he naps in the evening, and chatting during the morning feeding time if Alex is on his way to the gym. The days are definitely a bit more squished now, but it’s so important to find those moments to laugh, hug it out, and remember that you and your spouse MADE the cute little human that takes up all your time now!
Get into a routine
I know that routines aren’t for everyone and that this can be a hot topic among moms. It seems like you’re either super team routine or realllllyyyy against them. Hear me out. I’m not suggesting that you keep to a rigid schedule and allow zero room for flexibility. That would be extremely silly with a newborn. However, I have found that EVERYONE in my house is benefiting from having a loose routine for the baby. It allows everyone to have an idea of what’s coming next in the day, and Kit seems much happier (and sleeps much better) since we started doing this. We started working on a routine a few days after we got home from the hospital, but it’s never too late to start implementing a “schedule”!
Currently at 6ish weeks old, Kit’s schedule looks something like this…
- 6:00 am – diaper change, eat, then down for a nap in crib
- 9:00 am – diaper change, eat, morning play time and cuddles with mom and dad, nap in swing
- 12:00 pm – eat, diaper change, tummy time, nap in crib
- 3:00 pm – eat, diaper change, play time, nap in crib
- 5:30 or 6pm – eat, diaper change, play time, ….then do whatever keeps him from screaming (this is a fussy time for him), so maybe a walk outside, time in the swing, sitting on the couch cuddled next to mom, nap in crib….it’s random each night.
- 8:00 pm -bath time
- 8:30 pm – eat, bedtime
- 2:00 am – diaper change, eat, back to bed
Obviously, each day is different. Sometimes, Kit will want to eat more than these times, so I feed him. Sometimes, he won’t take a nap in his crib, so we figure something else out. It’s all about flexibility. However, I have found that he usually wakes up like clockwork at these times to eat and play because he knows what’s coming. This allows Alex and I to plan our days and to-do lists more easily, because we know what is most likely to happen on a normal day. Hope that makes sense!
Take it easy
In the newborn stage, your baby is super new and figuring everything out, but SO ARE YOU. You’re tired, probably sore and weak still from childbirth, hormonal, and maybe even a bit overwhelmed. This is not the time to be superwoman and do all the things. This is the time to lay in bed, feed your baby, enjoy cuddles, and take it slow. Rushing into your everyday tasks can not only be hard on your body and delay healing, but also can lead to feeling emotionally unwell. If someone offers help, take it. If your spouse isn’t cleaning the house to your standards, don’t worry about it. Focus on the baby, you, and enjoying this time.
Understand your hormones
I actually think it’s pretty impossible to actually understand our hormones completely, but giving yourself grace when it comes to your hormones and emotional state is verrrrryyyy important in this stage. During pregnancy, your hormones were all cray cray due to sustaining the life inside you. When the baby comes earth-side, your hormones get all cray cray again (Don’t mind the super technical lingo. Ha!) as your body adjusts to no longer carrying your baby inside you. This means, you’re probably going to feel a whole range of emotions at any given time in the weeks and months after having a baby. Don’t beat yourself up if you are happy-go-lucky one minute and crying your eyes out the next. This is all part of the process, and you’re pretty dang normal! Now, I’m not a doctor…just a woman who just had a baby sharing my experience with you, so take what I say with a grain of salt. While I think it’s normal to feel a whole spectrum of emotions, there are times when you really should speak with a professional about your emotions. Baby blues and postpartum depression are SO common, and nothing to be ashamed of. If you ever feel overwhelmed or emotional past what you can handle or think is normal, definitely speak with a doctor. Just know that everything you are experiencing is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to give yourself a hard time over! Give yourself grace!
Let’s chat! What is your biggest tip for surviving (and enjoying) the newborn stage?