I have learned so much in these past 4 weeks. Life with a newborn is sleepless and crazy, but SO SO rewarding and amazing. I hope that this post will help any new mothers to get through those first four weeks with a bit more ease and reassurance.
1.) Breast feeding is the number one hardest thing I have ever tried to do in my entire life.
If you decide that you want to breast feed, bottle feed with breast milk or use formula, this choice is yours and yours alone. Do not let anyone try to lean you in one direction or the other. You have to feel comfortable with what you choose and your baby will benefit from that comfort, no matter what form the food comes in. That is my first point.
Second point. You will be discouraged. You will be in pain (in my case, a lot of pain). You will cry. You will cry some more. BUT, you will make small progress day by day and it will get better. IT WILL. I wanted to quit every day. I am just now getting used to everything and making sure that she is latched on correctly. Getting your latch the first time is the most important thing. If your baby is latched on incorrectly, you will get fissures, you will bleed and you will cry.
When you are in the hospital, ask for a lactation consultant right away. Don’t wait. You need to make sure you are doing it correctly from the beginning or else things will go downwards fast.
2.) Sleeping is a thing of the past.
You will not sleep that first week. Just own it. Get ready for it. It was the best and worst week of my life. You will be sore and tired (Oh my goodness, so tired) and you will need to feed that little nugget every 2-3 hours (in my case, every 90 minutes – see below). Just know that every. single. day. it gets easier. I promise you that.
3.) Feed, feed, feed!
So one of the nurses while we were in the hospital, told us it was okay to let her go up to 4 hours without feeding. WRONG.
I am so upset about this and I really wish we knew better, but as new parents, we didn’t. Our little nugget was eating about every 2-3 in the hospital and 4 at night. big mistake. Your little one has a very tiny tummy and when they are first born, they should feed every 1-2 hours to get everything going. By day 3, you can do every 2-3 when their tummies can hold a bit more milk. We ended up having a dehydrated baby and problems with her bilirubin (which we won’t get into). Try to avoid all of this by feeding your baby right away and very frequently. The more he/she poops and pees = the better!
4.) Introduce a schedule sooner rather than later
There are some that say that a newborn cannot possibly get used to a routine or schedule in the first few weeks. I disagree because our nugget loves her routine and we have seen progress. We started this at 2 weeks of age.
A typical day goes as follows:
9:00 AM: Change the diaper to wake her up. Feed for 20 minutes (10 on each side) followed by play time (we do tummy time/play music and dance with her/talk with her) for about 10-15 minutes depending on how she does.
10:15-10:30: Nap time
12:00, 3:00, 6:00 Repeat what was done at 9 AM
8:30 PM: Bath Time followed by 3 minute infant massage
9:00 PM: Feed and then bed time (lights out and swaddled)
She will sleep now between 4-5 hours at a time (she is up past her birth weight and has been gaining well- if your baby is not gaining well, this will not apply to you.)
She also occasionally cluster feeds at night. We may do two-three feedings for the few hours leading up to bedtime. She is getting ready for hibernation throughout the night 🙂
Times sometimes vary from this, but we stick to this rough schedule every day. Our baby sleeps throughout the whole night, waking to feed twice between 10 pm – 7 am.
If you have any tips/advice on favorite books you’ve read for little ones – please let us know! 🙂