New Parents Survival Guide: Navigating the First Months
Posted on August 15 2018
Navigating the trenches of parenthood is not easy, but with nearly 255 babies born per minute, you are most definitely not alone. As a veteran mom of three, and recent newborn survivor, I’m here to help with a few motherhood hacks and some crazy facts about your little bundle to be.
Changing your little one is kind of like getting a present from your Great Aunt, you’re not exactly sure what’s going to be inside, but you know you’re not going to like it. The average baby goes through 8,000 diaper changes before they reach potty training, so here’s a few tips to help you handle business. Go ahead and dig out one of those Thirty-One bags you just had to have and turn it into a portable changing station by filling it up with diapers, wipes, pacifiers, butt cream and extra onesies.
Speaking of onesies, you’re doing it wrong. Yup, you are and it only took me until my third baby to realize this awesome trick. Those super cute fold-over slots aren’t just designed for extra head room. They actually open up wide enough for you to undress baby and manage that blowout below by slipping it down over baby’s shoulders and off by his feet. Mindblown.
If you have a baby boy, it’s an entirely new ball game when it comes to diaper changes. Be prepared for pee to go everywhere and get used to it. You can try putting a wet wipe on his belly before opening his diaper to see if you can empty his bladder first and keep yourself dry. If not just pull that wet wipe down and grab some backup diapers. I’m also a huge fan of the double diaper quick change method. Place a new diaper under the old diaper and th en just wipe and roll up the old diaper with all the mess trapped inside.
People who say they sleep like a baby, usually don’t have one. Your baby has a 4% chance of being born on his predicted due date and I’m pretty sure that he also has a 4% chance of being an amazing sleeper. During the first two years of life, parents lose out on an average of six entire months of sleep. Whoa. See if you can save yourself some zzzs with some of these hacks.
Babies actually like noise. Buy yourself a white noise machine and keep that thing on during naps and bedtime to help baby sleep soundly. Also make sure your sound machine doesn’t have a time limit, because no one wants your little one to wake up before she is ready. You should also invest in some blackout curtains and a baby sleep book. Bonus points if you use the Kindle App, because chances are you will always have your phone handy. Babies also remain twice as calm when listening to singing as opposed to talking, so don’t be afraid to belt out your favorite lullabies or any song you can vaguely remember in your sleep deprived state. Trust me, baby is not going to judge you or your forgotten lyrics.
Even with their tiny stomachs and only one item on the menu, feeding babies can be tough. If you’re lucky enough to breastfeed it can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 22%, while also providing baby with customized nutrition and health perks. Try to remember that the first few weeks are the hardest and that your baby’s tiny tummy will grow massively in the coming months and be easier to keep full. Only 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed, so if you use formula, remember that fed is best. Try out some of these feeding hacks to make your life a little smoother.
Whether your little one prefers the bottle or the boob, there’s an app for that. No really, take advantage of some of the great infant tracking apps and you can log when baby eats, how much, when he sleeps, and all those diaper changes. It’s much easier to keep track of your phone then keeping up with a piece of paper and it will save you from a blank stare when your pediatrician asks you how many times your little one poops at all those well baby visits.
You should also checkout bottles that come with built in formula dispensers to keep from weighing down your diaper bag. If figuring out how to heat up a bottle on the go is not your jam, do yourself a solid by getting baby used to room temperature bottles. Next take all that money you saved from not buying a bottle warmer and put it towards those Chinese finger trap looking bottle baskets to use in your dishwasher. That’s right, I’m telling you right now that you don’t get any extra points for hand washing those bottles. Try to enjoy those first few months when all baby needs is milk, because they will turn into picky toddlers before you can blink.
Google is your frenemy. It’s always there with something to say whether you like it or not. It’s a vast resource of all kinds of information from all kinds of people. It’s great to research any questions or problems or products, but don’t get taken down the rabbit hole, Alice. Remember to weed through the good and bad and that at the end of the day you will know what’s best for your baby. Never underestimate the power of your intuition and remember that your pediatrician or nurse is only a phone call away. Instead, take advantage of all the Mom blogs or Facebook groups and use it to connect with other parents who are going through this season of parenthood with you.
It definitely takes a village to raise these tiny souls and your new go to response should be, “Yes, please!” when anyone offers help. Take your neighbor up on that frozen homemade lasagna and let your Mom do your laundry. Ask your husband to watch the baby while you take a shower. Just because your baby doesn’t recognize himself until he is at least 18 months old, doesn’t mean you should lose sight of yourself either.
The bad news is that everything changes, but the good news is everything changes. This season of your life is a beautiful, exhausting, fleeting moment, so cut yourself some slack, soak up all the sweet smiles and do your best to remember all the sweetness that you are about to embrace.