As a first-time mom, there were a lot of new things that motherhood introduced me to. I had read a ton on baby tips before going into labor and thought I’d be ready for my own child. But there were a lot of unexpected challenges that no one had ever talked about before.
This post contains affiliate links. If you want to read my disclaimer you can find it here. This just means if you decide to buy any of the products I recommend you’re helpin’ a mama out as I’d get a small commission and you’d get a quality product.
So in this post I’m going to go over the following:
- Surviving the first week with a newborn
- Proven tips on how to calm a crying baby
- How to get rest as a new mom
- How to cope with your new life and responsibilities
The first week with a newborn
I was elated when I went into labor I couldn’t wait to have my little girl in my arms. It was the most incredible experience and moment of my life getting to see and hold her for the first time. She was perfect. And almost right away I had to learn how to breastfeed.
Which brings me to my first tip on Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding was a little challenging at first. When you are at the hospital talk to the lactation specialists as much as you can they will help you to be successful and feel less overwhelmed.
Build up your milk supply when it comes in. You can easily do this by using a Haakaa. What you do is place it on the breast that your baby isn’t feeding on and it catches the milk that would otherwise go to waste. I have been able to store 3 to 4 extra ounces a day by doing this.
If you use a Haakaa and build a stash you can give your significant other a bottle to give yourself a break!
What to expect in the first 24 hours:
Here’s the thing between my husband and I, we worked from 7 to 7 most days, so we didn’t have time to take birthing and parenting classes. We watched a few YouTube videos, but we didn’t have the hands-on class experience.
With that in mind I wasn’t prepared for the mental, physical, and emotional toll of breastfeeding. The first night with our little one she slept in the hospital nursery so we could get some rest. This was such a relief after being in labor for 12 hours and pushing for 30-40 minutes. To read my labor story click here.
Take advantage of the hospital nursery.
If the hospital you deliver at offers a nursery I recommend it so you can get some much-needed rest. I was not expecting how often I would have to breastfeed her. It was hard to have the nurse wake me up in the middle of the night after only getting two hours of sleep because my baby had to feed every 2 to 3 hours.
This was probably the biggest shock for me. Motherhood became real, real fast. That crying baby was my responsibility and my new life. My husband was a great help but he could only get 3 days off of work.
When people offer help, accept it. This is going to help you as a new mom to feel more normal and to cope with this huge responsibility.
Let people come over and do the dishes, or fold laundry, or even hold your baby so you can catch a few hours of sleep.
Meal prep before labor
If you’re currently in your third trimester I recommend making some freezer meals. This way you don’t have to worry about dinner, cooking, or even having to run to the grocery store within the first few days/weeks of giving birth.
Like I said since my husband and I didn’t have time to take actual parenting classes we just watched YouTube videos. The first week was a huge learning curve.
Giving birth took a huge toll on my body and in the hospital, I didn’t do anything besides sit in bed, try to pee, and breastfeed. The nurses showed my husband how to change a diaper, a onesie, how to swaddle her, and he got experience in holding her and rocking her.
I couldn’t do any of that. So when my husband went back to work I was completely alone and had to learn how to do everything myself. So the night before he went back I told him to sleep and I would do everything.
Changing a onesie was hard and scary the first time. Because I didn’t want to hurt her and she was screaming and it was 2 in the morning. I was overwhelmed. Luckily my hubby got up and helped me, he was able to calm her down when I couldn’t. Which brings us to what I would say is the most important tip of all the baby tips:
When one of you is overwhelmed let your significant other step in and help. If they don’t offer help let them know that you need their help. Having a baby isn’t a one-person job. Don’t feel like you’re being a burden by asking for help.
You, mama are going to need help to stay sane. Do not feel bad for asking for help.
Getting sleep as a new mom:
Try to sleep when the baby sleeps. I agree but I also hate this statement. Since I am home alone with the baby all day, when she goes down for a nap that is my chance to do things like get food, go to the bathroom, try to take a shower, work, etc. I live for nap time so it was really hard for me to sleep when she sleeps because I felt like I had so much to do.
Newborns are going to wake up more during the middle of the night. But our little one started to sleep for 6 hours straight around 7 to 8 weeks. But that was only if she was swaddled tight enough.
If she could get her hands out then she would wake herself up and only sleep 2 to 3 hours. Here are my favorite swaddles that lets us both get 6 hours of sleep at night.
You can buy this exact swaddle here. This one is my favorite because it’s a soft stretchy material making it so easy to swaddle her tightly. Which means I get a good amount of sleep!
The DockATot that my little one is in (pictured above) has been a lifesaver. This makes it so that we can co-sleep safely. Which I love because she was with me for nine months. These first few days and weeks are her first time being away from me, it made it so easy to soothe her when she started to fuss in the middle of the night and to help her stay asleep.
Tips to calm your crying baby:
Getting anxious and stressed will not help quiet your baby. It helps to keep in mind that crying is their only way of communicating so go through the things that could be causing them discomfort and eventually you’ll find the reason why and they will stop crying. The list we go through is:
- Does your baby need a diaper change?
- Do they have gas? You can tell if they are scrunching their legs, and you can help pass gas with light tummy massages, pumping their legs, and my favorite (because it’s so effective) is gas drops.
- Are they tired?
- Try swaddling them
- Are they hungry?
- Do they need to burp?
Other things that help calm a fussy baby include:
- White noise
- Rocking your baby
- Singing/playing soothing music (we found our baby loves the sound of our voices and the show The Office)
Recommended baby products:
I could’ve used all of these tips when I was pregnant and had my baby. Super helpful!
These are great tips. I loved my Haakka and Dockatot they were so good to me. Being a new mom is hard work but you can do it!
It is such hard work! Those 2 items definitely make new mom life so much easier!
Surviving that first week is no joke! I agree with the Haaka tip. It was a game changer for my second baby. I tell all new and expecting moms about it!
Yes!! It’s honestly been the best, I’ve been able to build up a nice supply of milk that would otherwise go to waste.
I love that you included tips for dealing with crying. That can be the most stressful thing for new parents! It is so hard at first to know why your baby is crying and how to help them. Swaddling can be such a help when your baby isn’t tired or hungry. Sometimes they just need to be held close.
The crying is so stressful, those swaddles have saved my sanity like none other!
Great list for expectant mothers! I wish I did a lot of food prepping and bought a Hakka. I leaked so much in between feeds.
What great tips. I wish I was told this when I had my first.