The early days with a newborn can be a blur! Between round the clock feedings and diaper changes, sleepless nights, and feeling overwhelmed, it can be a huge adjustment. Here are some tips for surviving (and thriving!) through those first weeks of parenthood:
I know it sounds cliché to say “sleep when the baby sleeps” – but it really is true to some degree. Take advantage of those times when baby is napping to try and catch a few Z’s yourself. If you're like me, and have a hard time napping during the day, take that time to take a warm shower, rest on the couch with a book or magazine, or watch a favorite TV show with your spouse. Fight the urge to tackle chores or laundry. They will still be there in a couple of hours, trust me.
Focus on Enjoying Each Milestone
You've waited 9 months for this little miracle to arrive – soak it up! The newborn days will fly by, and you'll be surprised at how quickly your baby changes. Take a photo every day and watch him grow! Take photos and videos of that first bath, that first smile, the first time meeting special friends and relatives. Perhaps you could even do a newborn photo session with your baby (either in a studio or at home) to capture all those little features.
Let Others Help
One of the biggest blessings for us after the birth of each of my children was having meals brought in for a couple of weeks by friends and family. It was one less thing to have to worry about, while juggling everything else that comes along with having a newborn. It was such a help to have my mom, my sister in law, and then my mother in law give up a week to come stay with us, so we had one week of live-in help each time we had a newborn. That gift was priceless!! If friends or family ask what they can do to help – be specific with what you need, and don't be afraid to take them up on their offer!
Remember Recovery is Not a Race!
While childbirth is a natural process, it's also a hard on your body! It can take up to 6 months for all parts of the body to completely recover from childbirth, so don't push yourself to do too much too soon. Don't fault yourself if you haven't lost all the baby weight in a month (like all the celebrities seem to do), or if you still haven't gotten out of your maternity clothes yet. Let your body (and your doctor) be your guide – you'll know if you have done too much – you'll feel it the next day!
Those sweet snuggly newborn weeks are such a special time. It's the “getting to know you” phase of parenthood, and goes by all too fast. Before you know it you'll be planning that first birthday party, and looking back on newborn pictures and wondering where the time went.