Bergen will be 6 months on Friday. That’s hard to believe. It’s funny how the days, weeks, and months move so fast and so slow at the same time. I remember when we used to tell people how many days old he was, then how many weeks old, now it’s just months. On a walk around the neighborhood the other day, Slaed and I were reflecting back on the important things of those early days with our newborn. Things that we did with B that really paid off in the “long run”, and allow us to be the great adventurers that we are today…
10. Go to nice dinners: We took full advantage of the fact that newborns tend to sleep, a lot. The buzz and ambient noise of most restaurants act as a sound spa for the baby allowing for an extended sleep period. Often, I would feed B right before we left the house, he’d fall asleep in the car or walk over to the restaurant, and sleep through the whole dinner. We were able to enjoy a meal that we didn’t have to prepare or clean up, and also had time to reconnect and communicate.
9. Meet with other moms and dads of newborns: When B was just one week old, we took advantage of an amazing resource right in our neighborhood: Birth & Beyond. We went to one of the classes that they offer for parents of newborns. The class is casual and led by a baby expert who fields questions regarding sleep, breastfeeding, health, and all things baby. I hope other cities have a similar resource. We were able to ask questions in a safe, nonjudgmental environment, and we also connected with other moms and dads. We also realized what we were experiencing was NORMAL!
8. Take a bath with baby: I came upon this tip in the class that I just described above. We were completely terrified to give B a bath. Days were going by, and the boy was getting kind of stinky. We couldn’t wait any longer. Another mom in class talked about how she just took a bath with the baby. It feels much safer because you are holding the baby, and it’s also a fun bonding experience. It’s best to have a helper who can hand you the baby while you are all set up in the tub. You can also hand the baby off to them when bath time is over.
7. Let people bring you meals & coffee: Especially in the beginning, people will want to do things for you. Sometimes they know exactly what you need. Sometimes they don’t know. For those who say, “Do you need anything?” Say, “YES!”. Have them bring you dinner on a day that you choose. It’s okay to be direct. They can even leave the meal on your doorstep if you don’t feel like visitors. It’s also great if you can have an organizer. This person could be a good friend, a brother, sister, mom, dad, etc. They can be the go-to person who can create a dinner calendar/schedule, and even be the sole deliverer of meals.
If people want to come and meet the baby, don’t let them come empty handed! Say, “Yes, you can come by. Please bring (insert your favorite coffee or tea) drink.” It gives you something to look forward to, and is always a nice treat.
6. Try out carriers: I started with the moby, then the ergo (with infant insert), and I traded off depending on the situation. I actually went to Birth and Beyond (store I talked about in #9), and had one of the ladies show me how to use the carrier. Youtube videos also help. When you start early with carriers, you get used to wearing them, and baby gets used to being in them. Knowing B was safe and close by gave me more confidence to go on adventures. Baby also feels safe and secure.
5. WALK. It’s good for you. It’s good for baby. Start slow. At first, I became dizzy and lightheaded after 2 blocks. I went a little further for each walk, and before I knew it, I was back to 2 or 3 miles at a time. Definitely at a slower pace, but I was getting there. It’s okay to sit, and take breaks.
4. Do the 5 S’s: Pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp teaches these very effective strategies:
- Swaddle (try the double swaddle or the miracle blanket)
- Swing (any movement really…rock, bounce, jiggle…)
- Suck (a breast, bottle, pacifier, or finger works)
- Shhhh…(the louder the better, use your voice, a static radio station, or sound machine)
- Side (simple, but effective–turn baby on their side while the other S’s are going on)
3. Skin to Skin: Also called Kangaroo care, cuddling with your baby with your skin touching is an incredible bonding experience, and something both parents can do. Feelings of joy and happiness are released.
2. Sleep: Sleep when you can sleep. Like the saying goes, sleep when the baby is sleeping. It’s of course not always possible to sleep every time your baby is asleep, but try. It’s so important to your well-being. Don’t feel guilty. Try not to think about all the things that need to be done. Enlist the help of others. Assign friends and relatives jobs that will help you so that you can sleep. Even little things will make a difference. My mother-in-law walked the dog each day during her visit. Norman and I were so appreciative.
1. Enjoy your sweet new little bundle: Before you know it, they won’t be so little anymore. After the first 2 grueling weeks, my husband and I both realized we needed to stay in the moment, and cherish exactly what was happening in the present. There is something special around every corner.