12 Tips to surviving the first 12 weeks!
1 – Tell people to scram for the first few weeks. I think the general public has this perception that new moms just can’t wait to shove their new baby in all of your faces, like hey, I made this!! Yah ok, maybe after an adjustment period it’s nice to make some introductions but the first several weeks should really focus on you getting to know your new little human. No one needs to be a part of that. I found all it did was add on this pressure to make sure I came across like I had my shit together and I had a perfect baby. It’s such a sham and not worth your time. Find a diplomatic way to say ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you’. And don’t, for the love of all things holy, just drop over unexpectedly, that’s how you get cut.
2 – When your baby wakes for a feeding in the night you want to project a level of boring and silent that even a buddhist monk would be impressed. I remember saying to myself ‘don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact!’ and it was so hard because I was so happy to see her little face but I knew if I engaged her there was a huge probability that I would not be going back to sleep! I kept the room pitch black and just raised the blind enough to get some moonlight in there and even pulled off diaper changes…I’m basically a ninja now. As hard as it was, I didn’t speak and just got right to business…food. It worked quite well…I recommend it. Also – after the first month or so, when your baby wakes in the night, take a damn second before rushing over to get them up. They might just need something simple like their soother! Slow your roll! I had a signature move for those night wakings….I would cover myself in a dark throw blanket we had, no word of a lie, and sneak to the side of her crib and stick the soother back into her mouth. Can you imagine?!! It was like a disembodied arm floating into my kids crib to shove that soother back in!!! That’s why I find that video so hilarious of that mom doing the floor crawl….it’s so real. We’ve all been there! Whatever it takes to keep that kid asleep!
3 – Sleep Cue. Find something that will become a ritual for your baby’s sleep time cue. Eventually it will become synonymous with sleep for your baby which is just great. For me it was swaddling. My daughter freaking loved to be swaddled up. I used ‘The Miracle Blanket’ for both my kids and that it was! I used it for all of her naps and I made a concerted effort for her naps to be at home in the same conditions. Yes there’s a price to be paid for that commitment…ie: not as much freedom but it paid dividends when she became such a champion sleeper. Eventually, she would begin to yawn and rub her head into her mattress as soon as I started wrapping her up in her swaddle, like she knew exactly what was going to happen next and was quite happy about it! It was awesome!! Yes I put her to bed awake, that was a Baby Whisperer tip and yes it worked great in establishing great sleep time routines.
4 – Showering…do it! I found it very helpful to take a morning shower. There was something about doing the same thing that I did before I became a parent that helped me with my transition into motherhood. Looking after that new baby is so all encompassing that simply having a shower and effectively washing away a bad night, or a long night was very helpful to me. It kicked off my day with purpose and a sense of ‘I’ve got my shit together-ness’ which was great for days when I most definitely didn’t!
5 – Get out of the House! I went through this weird transition in the first few months and it really took me awhile to find my groove. The prospect of making any trips seemed like so much work and I struggled with obsessing too much about the timing. I was constantly thinking: ‘Ok, she just woke up, now I have to feed her, then get out of the house, do this, this and this and then get back in time for her next nap.’ Then something would go off track, like they do, and I’d abandon ship because I thought I’d run out of time and she’d have a shit fit before I got finished and I’d have to come home anyway so what was the point? Silly!!! The point is, get out of the damn house and get yourself a life. So what if you have to park your ass on a bench somewhere and feed your baby. You’re in the land of people! Enjoy it.
6 – Walks really are quite wonderful. I really enjoyed going for morning walks with my new little peanut. The best time for them I found was morning because for my daughter, her first nap of the day was typically her shortest so the timing worked out great. Nice hot coffee, bundled up baby and some fresh air. She was out within the first 15 minutes and I could enjoy a bit of exercise which made me feel a bit better about my ass. I’ve also become obsessed with podcasts as of late so if you’re a new mom and want to know about some good ones to listen to on a walk…I’ll hook you up!
7 – Netflix…it’s just a great thing to do when baby’s taking a snooze.
8 – More Netflix…it’s also a great thing to do while baby is not taking a snooze too because here’s the thing…babies can’t say shit. Having a story to follow along helped me pass sometimes long afternoons.
9 – Find mom friends! I’m totally guilty of not putting enough effort into spending time with other moms when I was on mat leave and I paid for it. I went through periods of feeling lonely, bored and resentful of the monotony of my days. Having a network of women experiencing the same highs and lows is so supportive and healthy.
10 – The Baby Whisperer – my husband and I loved that book. It was our manual! No, seriously! When our daughter was born we used that book so much. It was particularly helpful to me in helping me to learn who my baby was and accepting them for exactly what they are. I remember vividly in the early weeks my husband and I tearing through that book trying to find an answer to some issue we were having with our daughter. Just like it was yesterday I can hear my husband saying: Well, what does the baby whisperer say we should do?! Haha. Whatever book it is for you, that’s fine, doesn’t really matter but having an unbiased resource to rely on can be comforting.
11 – Sleep! This is such a hot topic. I’m not going to tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps because that’s a load of horse shit. I remember trying that and thinking, I’m not tired right now, that’s the problem!!! I’m tired when she’s ready to party! This is why I cared so much about getting my baby to sleep for longer stretches at night. Not gonna lie, I cared SOOOOO much about it. I’m just not one of those tough bitches who can function just fine on little sleep. I can’t. I’m a total testicle about it, delicate and fragile. If I haven’t slept, no one in the house is safe from the self pity that follows me around. I can’t help it. It was passed on to me biologically! My entire goal for those first 12 weeks was to see if I could get her sleeping through the night. I gave so much thought to how much food she ate, I tracked it! The more the better! I didn’t want her to nap too much so as to take steam off her night. I obsessed. But, it worked!! Or that’s just who she was, one of the two!
12 – In the event of any acid reflux or gas – prop your bassinet or crib up on some books at one end! The slight elevation helps to keep the acid down. Might give you slight peace of mind if your new baby had a big feeding before going back to sleep as well.