one week in - lessons learned
what we’ve learned after being at home for a week with a newborn
note: i’ve had this written on my phone since the end of week one, but here we are, almost three months in and i’m finally getting around to posting it. such is new parenthood right? :)
rowan has been here for a little over a week now and so far, so good. Jas and i might be a little more sleep deprived than before, but we can’t stop saying how the baby keeps getting cuter with each day. and thank goodness too!
since this is our first baby and before his arrival we weren’t entirely certain what to expect, we decided to share a couple lessons we’ve learned over the past 10 days in hopes of helping other new parents.
“sleep when the baby sleeps” everyone says, and it’s so true! sleep when that baby snoozes because you don’t know when you will get to next. if he decides he needs a nap at 10am, well so do you, even if you wouldn’t normally. the same is true at 3am or 1pm. a normal amount of sleep, all be it not at one time, can be achieved through this method. trust us. you’ll be less of a zombie if you do.
breastfeeding is harder than it seems, but don’t be discouraged. some girls might naturally be able to “feed the world” as a friend once told me or, if you’re like me, you barely supply enough for a day. regardless of how it is for you, don’t worry. the most important thing is making sure that your baby is full, happy and healthy no matter the milk's origin (aka, formula or breastmilk) and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
do not panic if the little guy decides he’s not going to poop for 3-4 days after the hospital (assuming he pooped at least once IN the hospital). once he’s pooped once you know the plumbing works and if it takes time after those initial ones never fear. breastmilk especially is essentially all nutrients so there’s very little for baby to eliminate; it’s like our pediatrician told us, “once there’s food from above, things will come below”.
no, this is not a true schedule; no newborn will adhere to a schedule initially. but do get yourself a whiteboard! or this notebook, a friend bought this for us and it was so helpful. you’ll want to track when fed last, when you pumped last, the last time they had a dirty diaper and any medication times. trust me, you wont remember it all in your sleep deprived state and neither will your partner. so save yourself the tears and guess work and write this stuff down!
mommas, you’re going to be up at all hours of the day and night and you are going to be STARVING during and after feedings; make it easy on yourself and have simple, one-handed snacks you can grab at any time. i loved baby carrots, Trader Joe’s panda puffs cereal (i’m weird and like dry cereal - no milk - by the handfuls), sliced apples / strawberries, granola bars and nutter butters.
oh and be sure to get yourself a big (64 oz) water jug. my hospital gave me one upon delivery and i still use it. and nearly three months in, i still use it. it’s essential to stay a hydrated walking zombie.
tag team those baby things with visiting family, friends or partner.
i honestly don’t know what i would have done without Jas during the first week. he has been awake with me every. single. feeding. and i mean every one. he’e been able to help me cut the usually 1.5 hours it takes to feed/pump/clean down to 1 hour; bath time is half the time; and diaper changing has been his thing this whole time. he’s been incredible. and honestly being able to take a tiny amount of time back for ourselves has been essential. it’s not a lot of time mind you, but it’s just enough to get a smidge more sleep or maybe even a shower.
one example of how we tag teamed is how we do feedings; we have it broken down like this:
Jas changes his diaper while i pee (mommas, you’re going to need to use the bathroom a lot more now and it will take longer since you’re healing)
i grab the nipple shield (we are using this initially because latching has been troublesome for us) and feed him while Jas keeps me company - his company might seem like a waste, but he’s been able to keep me awake while i’m nursing. when i tried doing it myself a couple of times, i fell asleep sitting up which isn’t comfortable and i don’t feel like Rowan is as safe that way.
once done, Jas swaddles Rowan and grabs us a snack while i pump
finally, i update the whiteboard while he cleans the pump pieces - sometimes i do this entire final step so he can get to bed a little sooner
it sounds like a lot, and it has been, but with the two of us doing most everything i feel like we’ve been sharing in this new parenthood. plus, those slap happy late night giggles at rowan’s massive toots have been the highlight of this week.
our breakdown might not work for everyone and that’s okay! figure out what works best for you, but remember that you’re in this together. when you’re so tired your bones hurt, its easy to get snappy with one another. keep reminding yourself that when things are hard lean on each other.
oh! and your partner will never look sexier then when they’re holding your baby.
just remember, these first few weeks, the routine of life is simple - sleep, diaper, feed, clean, repeat. you can do this.
i hope some of this helps at least one new parent in the future. and don’t forget, you’re doing great! even when baby is screaming in another room while you’re locked in the bathroom because you need 5 minutes to yourself, you’re still doing great. :) you, your partner and baby are going to be fine.