Inside: Tips for life with a newborn and how to survive the first few weeks with your sweet new bundle.
If you have a baby, you know firsthand that life with a newborn is NOT easy. If you don’t have a baby but you’re preparing yourself to welcome your bundle of joy to the world, welcome to motherhood.
It’s messy, exhausting, emotional, and hormonal… oh, and did I mention exhausting?
The truth about life with a newborn is that it’s not as peaceful, relaxing, and smooth-sailing as most movies make it out to be…
…BUT, it is also the most rewarding, satisfying, and exhilarating thing you will ever do.
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The rewards of motherhood are without number. Motherhood is amazing…
But it doesn’t always feel like it.
So here’s to the moms who are up at 3 am, rocking with their tired baby who just won’t sleep, or jogging around the house trying to get your newborn to stop crying and let you get even just ONE hour of sleep tonight.
As a new mom, you have countless questions constantly running through your head:
“Is he getting enough milk?”
“Am I giving her enough time outside every day?”
“Can you let a newborn cry?”
“Are these clothes too tight for her?”
“Will I ruin his teeth forever if I give him a binky?”
“Will I ever sleep again?”
“Will SHE ever sleep?”
“When do babies become easier?”
I feel you.
I was there too, asking all the questions, having all the doubts, and feeling completely and 100% worn out.
There were nights (more than I can remember) when my son wouldn’t stop crying and we would sit on the couch together for hours in the middle of the night. He was crying. I was crying.
He was tired, I was tired… but neither of us were sleeping.
I’m happy to say that we made it through. With the hardest parts of his baby-hood behind us (or so I like to think…), we’re moving on to new stages in life and I’ve finally come to understand that newborn challenges aren’t easy – by any means, but there IS an end to them and life with a baby DOES get easier with time.
Here are some of the best tips to survive the first day with a newborn, first week, and the first few months with your baby:
How do you survive the first few weeks with a newborn?
When you’re sleep deprived, drained, and feeling stripped of your identity, trying to survive the first day with a newborn is hard enough – never mind trying to survive the first few weeks with a newborn.
How long does it take to adjust with a newborn and when does the newborn stage get easier?
Let’s go over the best tips to help you adjust to life with a newborn and start to feel like yourself again.
(If you’re looking for a timeframe, I found it was the 3 month mark where things really started to turn around for us – we had started to establish a semi-normal routine, and my husband and I were just starting to feel more confident in this whole crazy “parenting” whirlwind.)
Tips for life with a newborn
Here are 6 of the absolute best, all-time sanity-saving newborn tips and hacks I’ve ever learned. Learn from my mistakes and use these new mom tips for life with a new baby. They will save your sanity, help you find a rhythm, and show you how to make memories that truly last (longer than the life of your camera).
1. Establish an early bedtime
Probably the most common piece of advice for new moms that you’ll hear is “sleep when the baby sleeps”.
Your mom tells you this, your aunt tells you this, and that sweet old lady in the grocery store tells you this.
But, I found it hard to shut my brain off during the day when my son was napping, because I finally had an opportunity to catch up on some things I wasn’t able to do when he was awake and attached to me at the hip (er… boob).
So, to try and actually get some extra sleep, since I wasn’t able to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, I would crawl into bed some evenings extra early – around 7 or 8 pm, and try to get a couple extra hours of sleep that way.
Then, even though my son would be up 3 – 4 times at night, I could at least get an extra hour or two by just going to bed earlier.
(But, if you CAN sleep when your baby sleeps, by all means do. This is just in the case that you struggle to sleep during the day.)
2. There’s no point to prove
I see all too many new moms (I was definitely one of these) not accept help because they feel like they need to “prove a point”.
As if they won’t be “good enough” if they say yes to the neighbor who wants to make dinner for them, or that they are a bad mom and obviously can’t handle this whole motherhood thing if they need their mom to come take night shift so that they can get even just an extra hour of sleep.
Accepting help doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t mean you “can’t handle it” or that you’re not as good as the mom next door.
It means that you’re human.
Your body NEEDS rest. If you’re going to function like a normal human being and be the best mother to your sweet baby that you can be, you need to accept (or, at times, ask for) help and be thankful for it.
3. Connect, connect, connect
Instead of sitting on the couch scrolling through Facebook while your baby swings bath and forth in their swing for half an hour, take the time to talk to your baby. Study them, watch them, get to know their personality.
There are so many new moms who think that just because they’re constantly feeding their newborn and are with them 24/7 that they are connecting with them.
When the truth is, if you’re staring into the black-hole of social media while your baby tries to look into your eyes and is trying to connect with you, you aren’t connecting with them. All you’re doing is showing them that they take back seat to this handheld device.
Take every opportunity you can to connect with your baby – look in their eyes while they feed, feel their little fingers and little toes, tickle their neck, and kiss their soft cheeks.
Connect with your baby, disconnect with your phone.
Break up with social media. Just do it.
Your screen time is obstructing your relationship with your baby. Your baby wants to connect with you.
He doesn’t care where your best friend from highschool went on vacation. She doesn’t care about the latest celebrity rumors.
All they want is to connect with you.
But, when you’re staring into the black-hole of social media more than you’re staring into your babies eyes, you’re putting up an invisible wall that tells your baby they aren’t important enough to put the phone down and give undivided attention to.
There have been countless, COUNTLESS studies done that show just how harmful a parent’s screen time is in the development of children and the relationship babies have with their parents. This is just one of the many heart-wrenching studies that all too many moms fall into.
You’re physically present with your baby…
…but you’re not actually there.
Maybe we aren’t even caught up with social media. Maybe as a mom you get caught up in trying to capture every.single.moment.
(Because there’s no way we can miss getting a picture of that cute gummy grin every day. I know I always did.)
But maybe it’s time to learn to put that phone down, to focus on the baby in front of you, instead of that baby on the screen.
Maybe some memories are meant to be lived, not captured.
5. Change baby out of their pajamas
It’s SO tempting to keep your newborn in pajamas all day. On top of being incredibly ADORABLE, they’re so practical too.
And, when you’re not going out much and your baby isn’t doing much other than eating and sleeping, some days it can be hard to see the merit in changing baby into real clothes.
However, this is especially important to do if your baby has nighttime-daytime confusion. If they’re up more at night and sleep most of the day – like our son did – then there’s a good chance that they have their days and nights mixed up.
(This is much more common than I realized before having my son and doing some research on it.)
Changing your baby out of their jammies first thing in the morning signals to their body that the day is when they wear clothes, and at night they wear cozy pajamas. It signals to their body that it’s the beginning of the day.
Then, in the evening, when they get in their soft jammies and sleep sack (these are the only sleep sacks that worked for my fussy sleeper), they know that means bedtime.
It will take a bit of time for your baby to adjust, and there are a number of different things you can do to help your baby with nighttime and daytime confusion, but this certainly helps.
6. Get outside
One thing that kept me sane during those first few months with my newborn when I was completely overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and emotional was getting fresh air.
I tried to make a point of packing my son up and going out for a walk at least once a day, weather permitting.
The fresh air not only settled my son down (he got colic at 3 weeks, but when he was outside he was a much happier baby – and to this day he STILL loves to be outside), but it also gave me an excuse to get some exercise, which helped with my postpartum anxiety as well as settled down the baby blues.
Plus, the fresh air has many different health benefits for you and babe.
These are the 6 top newborn tips for how to make life with a newborn easier.
Babies are hard work.
There’s no way around it.
But this is also nothing new. Mom have been doing this whole motherhood thing for a bit of time, which means we can learn from their mistakes and learn how to make life with a baby easier.
Because let’s face it. Motherhood is hard.
Download Your Free Cheat Sheet to Ditch the Mommy-Tantrums & Become a Calm Mom
- Download the free cheat sheet: The Calm Mom Checklist: do these 6 things every time you want to lose your cool. You’ll get the free printable, plus join my newsletter! Click here to download and join
- Print. Any printer paper works for this cheat sheet, and you can choose whether to use color or black ink, then grab a pen to start checking things off the list.
- Keep it somewhere central and easily accessible, like the fridge.
What are some of your best tips for life with a newborn baby? Feel free to share them with everyone below!