As we've recently welcomed a new addition, I'm thinking about what surprised me about having a newborn baby at home (and a few tips on how to survive the newborn phase!)
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Expecting a new addition?
As many of you know, we recently welcomed a new member to the family! As a first time mom, I've unsurprisingly found the newborn phase enchanting and notably different from what I expected.
So, starting my little foray into lifestyle and mommy blogging, I thought I'd share a few things that surprised me once we got baby home!
They sleep. A lot.
We are constantly asked "are you sleeping?" with a knowing gleam in the eye, by our fellow members of the parental club. Of course, the answer is always "haha no!"
But, in the lead up to our daughter's birth, I assumed, from overhearing these conversations, that we would literally be up all night. While I won't pretend it's pleasant to wake up repeatedly throughout the night (we started at around 3 wake-ups per night, now we're down to 1), you do *sleep* at night, just not well. By the time we reached her 6 week birthday, we were getting consistent sleep from 9:30PM-3:30AM. I can't tell you how much more normal you feel after a night like that!
And, of course, there's the added bonus that newborns spend much of the day asleep as well. When they aren't asleep, you are constantly on call. Being as tired as you are from all of the housework, feeding, changing, and baby shushing, it is surprisingly easy, even for a non-napper like myself, to "sleep when the baby sleeps," should you wish to.
"Sleep When the Baby Sleeps"
A pearl of wisdom that finds itself hotly disputed on parenting blogs is to "sleep when the baby sleeps." Obviously, the guidance is to: admit a type of defeat, give up on your "normal" schedule, and nap at will through the day etc., get up late, and go to bed early.
If you're fortunate to be on parental leave, this really is sage advice (why is everyone so mad about it?). I definitely have napped and will continue to. However, sometimes you want and need to spend nap time *being an adult.* Talk to your own mom, clean the house, and...write blog posts! Anything to start to reconnect to feeling like yourself, even if just for half an hour.
How can one (small) person produce this much laundry?
My biggest practical surprise was just how much laundry could be soiled by one 8-ish pound person in a single day. I actually had to buy more detergent because we used up a Costco container all in a month. Her clothes, our clothes, burp towels, our sheets, her sheets, the sheets on the changing table (many of which have admittedly ended up in the garbage), kitchen towels...and the list goes on.
We put a hamper in a central location on our first floor, where we spend almost all of our day, and fill it up throughout the day with all of the laundry. Then, whoever has time and inclination can just throw it in. These are the days for you to rock t-shirts and other items that don't need special care in the washing machine.
Their demands are constant, but simple
Newborns need constant care, when not blissfully asleep. Though demanding, their requests are fairly simple. Eat, burp, diaper, sleepy/not sleepy, lonely, hot/cold, scared. That's about it!
It's usually a diaper.
Even at this young age, babies start to show little preferences! Who'd have thought...
Baby product overload
Wow do babies require a lot of gear.
I am all for buying anything that would make our lives easier, within reason. I tried to avoid gimmicks and gadgets until I got a sense of those aforementioned preferences, and I'm glad I did. There's only so much space in the house! But between places to sleep and be changed, feeding supplies, and supplies for being in transit, expect your house to be completely overrun.
One of the few metrics used to monitor how well a baby is doing (it's not like they can tell you!!) is their weight. Our little one took some time to get back to her birth weight, which was incredibly stressful and resulted in several trips to the pediatrician. If I could talk to myself from a few months ago, I'd issue a stern reminder: it's all going to be ok.
Hungry, hungry hippos
"Surely she can't be hungry again." When I heard that newborns nurse every 2-3 hours, I somehow didn't register how incredibly often that is. It feels constant. You finish one feed, clean up, grab a snack, check Facebook....and here we go again. It really is like a merry-go-round. So pick a good spot in the house where you have all of our gear and something to entertain you, and settle in...for a few months!
It gets better.
When you're standing over the sink, covered in spit-up, trying to learn how a breast pump works as baby screams from the other room, it may feel like you're losing a war in spectacular fashion. But, take heed, things get easier with each passing day. Before you know it, you'll be peacefully writing a blog post, with hot coffee, in clean clothes, while baby sleeps. For now.
Thanks for stopping by!
Congratulations (in advance), on your new addition. Hang in there! You'll get through it. Go start the washer.
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