When days are nights, nights are days, and you can’t stop crying (true story), you are literally in survival mode.
Three weeks into my new life as a mom, here is what I’ve learned about how to get through this newborn stage …
When you have a baby, I have realized, your days and nights are all one big blur of being awake/feeding/diapering. You don’t get an actual real night’s sleep, so there is no “morning” or “bedtime” to indicate that you should brush them. So I have been brushing my teeth, washing my face, applying moisturizer, brushing my hair, etc. during my brief pee-breaks — no matter what time it is. You really can’t say when you’ll get a chance again, so seize it! Groom!
This probably only applies to girls like me, with long hair, but it’s very important. When you’re constantly picking up a baby and putting them over your shoulder, hairclips and elastics prevent your hair from sticking to your sweaty neck. Oh, and prevents it from getting puked on.
I keep two glasses on the end table next to the couch (my primary nursing area, since, hello, it has a TV), one glass in the bedroom, and one glass in the nursery. Whenever I put the baby down for a nap, I immediately refill the glasses that have gotten low. Sure, the water is warm by the time I actually go to drink it, but it beats trying to fill the glasses while holding a crying, hungry baby.
Back when I was pregnant, I read all about the importance of having “easy-to-eat” snacks. But it’s only now that I truly understand the importance. Newborns are not conducive to eating meals. Actually, they are very selfish creatures and don’t like you to eat anything, if it inconveniences them in the slightest.
I’m by myself with Baby Boy most of the time, so Darling Husband has been great about leaving dozens of little baggies in the fridge for me — cheese and Triscuits, raw baby carrots and green beans, apple slices, grapes, buttered bran muffins, etc. It’s only just in the last few days (just before the three-week mark) that I’ve been able to microwave myself little meals here and there. So snacks = very important!
I didn’t even know these existed until I stumbled upon one when I was heavily preggo. SO grateful that I bought it, because it is damn hot lately, and it’s great to be able to adjust the speed, angle, etc. while being parked on the couch with a baby attached to my ta-ta.
I thought of this myself, so I’m pretty proud of this idea. When you’re nursing a baby, you are literally pinned in one area for many, many, many hours of your life. Which means you can’t, like, get the things you need. In the first day or so at home, Darling Husband had dragged three end tables to my corner of the couch (I think I’ll call that corner “Basecamp,” since I’m spending most of my life there right now).
He covered the tables with everything I needed, which was great … but messy and scattered and gah it bothered me. So during the second day at home, I took a wicker fruit basket and piled it with all of my essentials: lipchap, moisturizer for me, baby lotion, breast pads, nipple cream, hairclips, elastics, baby nail file, baby no-scratch mitts, baby hairbrush and comb, remote controls for the TV and the fan, cell phone charger, etc. Instead of three tables littered with crap, I now just had to reach for the basket. Lifesaver!
It only took a few major spit-up-on-the-couch incidents before I wised up. Now my corner of the couch is covered with one or two large baby blankets, all the time. It doesn’t look great, but it means I just need to throw them in the wash and grab new ones — not spend 10 minutes sponging off my upholstery.
Our hospital made us keep track of this while we were there, and suggested we keep tracking everything for the first few weeks –to make sure Baby Boy was eating enough, peeing and pooing enough, etc. We’ll probably stop logging soon, but in those first extremely sleep-deprived weeks, it was nice to be able to see it all written down.
I would literally wake up to him crying, and have NO FREAKING IDEA how long we’d been asleep, when he’d last eaten, what side, what day it was, what my name was, etc. Being able to look at the sheet and see that, oh, I fed him five minutes ago so he’s probably not hungry, allowed me to try comforting him first, before blindly popping the boob in his mouth.
This goes in the spit-up category. Luckily, it’s June now (and very hot), so I have been wearing underwear and a nursing bra — and usually nothing else. When I have company, I add yoga pants and a tank top. But, really, that is just more items to get coated in spit-up. Less is more.
Don’t get hung up on needing to wash the baby’s stuff separately from the regular laundry. Trust me, I was the queen of washing Baby Boy’s stuff separately before he was born. Now? If he’s spit up on his two best swaddle blankets, and both of my nursing bras, there’s no way I’m doing two separate loads. I throw it all in together, and use the baby-specific detergent. I’ve figured out that it’s better to do one load (sometimes two) every day, that is a combo of my stuff/Darling Husband’s stuff/baby stuff than to try to break it up.