Newborn | when does it get easier?!
When do Newborns get easier?
The First Days With A Newborn
Taking YOUR newborn home for the first time is both absolutely terrifying and absolutely amazing at the same time.
However prepared the pre-baby you thought you were…you’re now wondering what on earth you’ve let yourself in for! (I was anyway!)
new parent it’s OK to feel over-whelmed, it’s OK to feel tired and it’s OK to feel a pressure to ‘get it right’.
I had so many people giving me conflicting advice…most of which was a good 50 years out of date…think…leave him outside in his pram for an hour…alone!
But, there are a few things that I wish I’d known as a new parent…
It’s OK to not love every second of parenthood.
You excitedly counted down the days until your little one was due.
You spent hours on Pinterest pinning nursery designs and baby outfits.
Then baby arrives and it’s not quite how you expected it to be.
I’ll tell you now, that when my boys were born I didn’t have that rush of love that everyone gets in the movies.
I didn’t have a massive smile with happy tears wetting my cheeks…I had a look of pure shock…
Did that just happen…?
I pushed a baby out of wear now!?
Just give yourself a while to get over that…for your body and mind to recover.
Years ago, when I needed a tiny tiny operation I was signed off work for two weeks and told to rest.
You go through child-birth and are up and out the door within a day…with your little one who most likely hasn’t got the memo about rest!
Sleep when you can, drink lots of water and ask for help.
You won’t always feel this tired!
After a while your initial adrenalin disappears and you feel like you’ll be living on coffee for ever.
Please know that it will get easier. You’re baby will sleep at some point. It may be weeks, it may be months but it will get easier.
Just know that YOU are not making your child sleep badly.
Just know that your baby’s unwillingness to sleep is normal, despite how many books, friends or busy-bodies tell you that he should be ‘self-soothing’ and sleeping through “like a good baby.”
If he needs to be cuddled, rocked, sung to, patted…do it! You’re not creating bad habits! Your child won’t always need your help to fall asleep!
This book was amazing at reassuring me that my baby was ‘normal’ and helped me to trust my instincts and listen to my baby.
I realised that I was spending so much time and energy trying to “put him down to sleep” that I was getting no rest and was feeling more and more disheartened.
If baby will only sleep on you…let him. Get yourself a drink, a book, a snack, some music and the TV remote and enjoy the quiet time.
Don’t over-analyse everything.
With my first child I obsessed over his sleeping patterns. Whether he was feeding too much or not enough. I’d read all of the books (the wrong ones!)
Baby Léo taught me that everything I’d read up until that point was nonsense.
He slept brilliantly on me but never alone.
He had no feeding routine and just wanted to feed all the time.
It didn’t matter if I put him down tired but awake, asleep, fully awake, wrapped in a blanket, with music, without music, while rocking…believe me, I tried every variation!
I wish someone had told me to stop looking for solutions to my babies normal behaviour.
Obviously, if you’re seriously concerned then speak to health professional but don’t sweat the small stuff.
You’ve got this!
You may not realise it now but you do!
Look into co-sleeping.
After that initial few days with Léo I had no idea how we were actually going to carry on functioning.
Thankfully I was introduced to co-sleeping.
Co-sleeping is when your baby sleeps in the same room as you. Perhaps next to your bed in a side cot like this…
It means that you can respond much more easily to your baby when they need you. It also means that you can comfort them without fully waking yourself up!
We actually found that a floor bed (mattresses on the floor) was the easiest way to co-sleep.
Bedsharing is slightly different in that your child is actually sleeping in the same bed as you. It’s only advised that you bedshare if you breastfeed. You can read up on the safety guidelines here.
Our boys have always come into our bed when they need to. Both now sleep through unless they’re ill or teething (which happen quite often…sorry).
You can read some co-sleeping myths and truths here.
Ignore unwanted advice and opinions.
Unless you’re incredibly lucky you will be given A LOT of parenting advice!
Some people are just drawn to children and love to tell parents where they’re going wrong and how their way is so much better!
The trouble is that often, these people aren’t actually the best people to advise (usually because the nice one’s stay out of it!)
It’s easy to begin parenting in a way that goes against your instincts or beliefs simply because you’re afraid that you’ll get it wrong otherwise.
Leave him to cry or he’ll never fall asleep on his own…
He’ll never go in the stroller if you don’t force him now…
He’s ok (while holding your screaming baby) he’ll never be independent if you don’t make him go to other people…
These comments may seem harmless…possibly even helpful. But, at the root, you are being advised to ignore your child’s needs.
I got much better at saying “thanks for your advice but we do it differently.”
Take some time to get to know your new baby.
Take some time to think about what type of parent you want to be.
What kind of relationship you want with your child.
Make things easier for yourself…
There’s very little a newborn actually needs…generally if they’ve got you then they’re pretty happy.
The cot we bought became a giant cage for clothes that were yet to be put away. The moses basket was home to the mountain of soft toys our baby had been gifted.
There were however a few items that we found really helpful during the early years.
I was lucky enough to be able to borrow many of these items from family or friends for a trial run before purchasing my own.
With babies all being different, this list is personal to us but you may find these items help too.
If I had to choose one item that made being a mother so much easier it would be my Tula carrier.
It freed my hands up to get stuff done! I also quickly learnt to breastfeed in it!
Essential Oil Diffuser
These are amazing when babies have blocked noses and are struggling to sleep at night.
Diffuse plain water for tiny babies and a drop of essential oil once over 3 months. (Eucalyptus oil for snuffly noses and lavender for relaxation).
You may also like our post about diffusing safely around babies.
Nursing pillows aren’t just for breastfeeding moms. They really help to support your shoulders and arms when you’re holding baby for long periods.
Surround yourself with positive parents.
OK, we all have a moan some of the time. But, I’m talking about this phrase…
“It gets worse…you wait until he’s (insert random age here!)
I have to admit, it terrified me the first few times I heard it. How could it get any harder than two hours sleep a night, projectile poop, constant feeding, going to the loo while holding a baby, eating dinner while holding a baby…all while your still recovering from actual labour!
It really doesn’t just keep getting worse and worse until you finally wave them off to Uni.
Whether you’re loving the newborn phase or not…it really doesn’t last long!
Pretty soon your little one will want to start exploring the world a little more. Sitting up, rolling around, crawling.
This is your opportunity to grab yourself a drink, do some stretching, go to the toilet…whatever you need.
My little squishy limpet who lived on me for his first months is now an independent big boy! He wants to do everything on his own.
It will pass.
It will get easier.
There will always be times when it feels really challenging but there will also be times of pure joy, pride and love.
Enjoy the good bits. Get through the difficult bits. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to people who aren’t all doom and gloom!
Accept that your life is different now
As parents we will never be responsible for nobody but ourselves again. We will never be totally ‘care-free’ and able to kick back and relax without giving a second thought to anyone else ever again.
There will always be someone who needs taking care of or something that needs to be done.
It’s a lot to get used to. It’s actually pretty daunting!
Once you’ve accepted that your life has changed big-time (at least for a while) look at finding ways of keeping some of the things that you loved about your ‘old’ life. You’ll find loads of new loves too…
Make small changes
A tiny newborn baby is capable of bringing about massive changes in a parent’s life.
Try bringing a little control back into your life by making a list of some small changes you can make everyday to make things easier for yourself…
- Starting every morning with your favourite drink.
- Taking a walk with baby in carrier or stroller.
- Resting/ exercising/ watching tv/ reading while baby sleeps (i.e. not housework).
Talk to like-minded parents.
Joining a group can be a great way of meeting other parents. You’ll either love them or hate them. Try one. You have nothing to loose…you may even manage to drink a warm cup of coffee!
There are breastfeeding groups, play groups, baby-wearing groups…have a look and find one that suits you.
Your health visitor should be able to help you find one. Failing that, ask on a local Facebook group!
You can also find online support groups (Facebook is great for this) or follow a blog that echoes your parenting style.
It can really help talking to (or just listening to) people who can make you feel normal.
Keep things simple
It’s OK to keep everything simple while you have a new baby around. Whatever works for you…even a month of take aways!
I found batch cooking worked for us (but I wasn’t that prepared first time around!) Lasagna, pies, casseroles, soups all freeze well.
Don’t worry about housework. If anyone complains just hand them a mop and bucket!
Kids are hard work…but they’re also totally awesome!
So for any new parents who are asking themselves “when does it get easier!?”
Life will never be the same again…but it will get easier.
I love to hear from readers so please leave a comment after reading Newborn…when does it get easier!?