So, you just had a baby, you’re exhausted, you’re slowly recovering, and you’re now a mom to a beautiful tiny human that you never thought you could love so much!
Being in the hospital is nice. You have help. You’re catered to. You can send your baby to the nursey as needed to get some rest, but you’re home now, and it’s super nice (because there’s no place like home); but now you’re on your own; and that can be a little scary.
Whether this is your first child or not, the next 3 weeks are going to be HARD; and if you have more than one child at home, it’s going to be EVEN HARDER!
Don’t worry though, YOU’VE GOT THIS!
If you have other children at home the hardest part is going to be them! Bringing home a new baby is going to rock your other child/children’s world, whether it’s for the good or the bad.
If you have older children, about 6 and up then you don’t have to worry too much about this rocking them for the bad. They should be able to handle the adjustment to a new baby a lot easier than a child that’s younger, in fact they’re probably super excited and will be a HUGE help.
As for the younger ones, this is going to be harder on them. they will probably show a lot of excitement and interest in baby for the first week, but it will dwindle, and they will probably ask, “When does the baby leave?” (My daughter totally asked me this! HAHA)
The next 3 weeks is a BIG adjustment for the whole family. A lot of sweat and tears are going to be shed and it’s going to take a little bit to get into the swing of things.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS THAT CAN HELP:
1. Lower all your expectations! If you don’t have any expectations, then you will have no reason to feel disappointed or upset about anything.
2. Take one step at a time and move slowly! There is no rush for anything. Let your days go, let the dishes go, let the house go, let yourself go, and just enjoy this time with your family. Ease into all this and give yourself time to recover and enjoy your baby and other children.
3. Let your baby cry! If you want to stop sibling rivalry from the beginning, then show your kids that they are still your everything and are just as important as baby is! If you are tending to your other children and your baby starts to cry don’t drop everything and rush to your baby. Show your other children that you can finish what you were doing with them first and then go get baby. This probably won’t even happen much anyway at the beginning because the second they hear baby cry they’ll most likely be rushing over to them.
4. Include your other children when taking care of baby! Have your other kids help out with baby. Ask them to get things. Have them help give baby a bath. If you have any dolls lying around have them imitate what you’re doing with baby. Make them feel important, assign a responsibility to each child when it comes to taking care of baby (example, one can be-in-charge of getting their binky when it cries, another getting diapers.)
5. Rest as often as you can! This is a lot easier if this is your first child. When people tell you to sleep when baby does, SERIOUSLY, DO IT! I know it’s so hard because you just want to snuggle your baby all day and never want to put them down, but you need your rest. You’ll heal quicker, you’ll establish better sleeping habits for your baby and you’ll feel better. If you have other children, do the best you can to rest when possible. You will really need these small rests to help boost your energy and get you through your long day and nights.
6. Take care of yourself! Eat (and eat often), drink lots of water. Don’t deprive yourself from nutrients because you’re too busy taking care of your baby, and other children (if you have them.) You need to take care of yourself, so you can heal faster and have more energy.
7. Get help! If you have help available to you, take it! I’m not joking when I say these first 3 weeks are brutal. Your body is so exhausted and needs help recuperating. You can’t do it all!
8. When you are cooking dinner make easy meals! Keep things simple for a while. If you’re reading this and your baby hasn’t arrived yet, then I highly suggest making some freezer meals. Cook up some chicken, shred it, and freeze it. Ground lots of hamburger and freeze that as well, it helps for easy simple meals.
9. Sleep-depravation can be harmful to you and your family! If you are anything like me I get really grumpy, on edge, I shut down, my body maxes out, my mind gets foggy, and I just feel crappy when I don’t get sleep. Make sure you and your spouse are taking turns during the night. I don’t care if your spouse has to wake up and go to work in the morning, so do you! Have him go to bed earlier some nights and then have him take a three-hour shift in the middle of the night. It’s amazing how 3 consistent hours of sleep can make the world of difference.
10. Go to bed early! I am saying this for your whole family. Put your kids to bed early, and then put yourself to bed early. This is super hard to do because by the time you get your other kids to bed you want to take advantage of that time alone to bond with your spouse and your baby, and to be together just the 3 of you, but for the first little while go to bed early. You’ll thank yourself for this later. A lot of people think that by the time they get baby ready for bed, feed them, then get themselves ready for bed they have like 1½ hours before they have to feed baby again, so what’s the point. Well…that 1½ hours of sleep will be so good for you and your spouse! This isn’t going to be forever, just until your baby is on a better sleeping routine, then you can stay up as-long-as you want, but for now I can’t stress to you enough how much you need sleep!
11. Start establishing a bedtime routine with baby immediately! I know most things you read or even you hear from doctors that when your baby hits 2-4 months to really establish a good bedtime routine. I think this is true and wonderful advice, but I believe if you start one from the get go, it really helps get baby and you on the right track.
12. Throw all mom-guilt out the window! This one is mainly for mom’s with other kids at home. You are going to beat yourself up because of this big change in your family. Babies take a lot of work, they are time consuming, they are needy, they are your EVERYTHING right now, so where does that leave your other kids? You are going to feel so bad that you can’t give your other kids the attention they want and need like the baby is getting. Do the best that you can! Make sure you are still showing your other kids they are loved and not forgotten, even if that means coloring with them for a minute or playing a game. Don’t beat yourself up for your kids being on too much technology. You are needing to feed your baby every 2-3 hours right now and if you have young ones at home this can be a very stressful and difficult time because when mom is feeding baby that means she is stuck to the baby for a while, they pick up on this quickly; so, this is when they start to act out. It’s ok if you have to let your child watch a show or play a game on your phone for a little while every time you need to feed baby. Do whatever you have to do to stay sane and do it with out beating yourself up! 😊
I hope this list is helpful to you. I know a lot of the things listed on here are to help families with other children, sorry about that. It really is just so much harder when you have other kids at home with a newborn. The horrible sleep-depravation though whether it’s your only child or not has no comparison, it’s the same no matter what!
The first 3 weeks really are the hardest, but I always feel you start to turn a corner about a month in. It all gets easier!
Good luck and congratulations!