Advice from parents who have been there
The first month of your baby’s life will be rough on both of you. Here are some tips to get you through!
That first month is a doozy! We’re sharing some of the best tips for surviving it from others who have been there.
Let them help
"Don’t be a superhero. Allow people to bring you food, vacuum your carpets and empty your dishwasher."
As soon as you come home from the hospital with your baby, family and friends will start offering to help out. Robert Nickell, father of seven and creator of DaddyScrubs, says to let them.
“Don’t be a superhero. Allow people to bring you food, vacuum your carpets and empty your dishwasher. Let Grandma do the laundry, and definitely let Dad change some diapers," he says. “Friends and family want to help you during this period of your life, and you need to allow them to do that. It may be uncomfortable at first, but say, ‘Yes’ from time to time. If not, the offers will fade and everything will fall on you.”
Nickell also advises new moms to do the one thing that probably comes hardest to most — relax.
“Your baby will take their tone from you. If you are stressed and uptight, they will be too. If you can calm your nerves, settle your anxieties and know that the baby is tougher than you think, you will set a positive tone for you and your baby to thrive,” he says.
Keep a gift list
New moms are known for a lot of things, but a great memory is not one of them. Sleepless nights will have you struggling to remember what you ate for breakfast — never mind who gave you that adorable yellow sleeper.
“Make a list or spreadsheet of all the baby gifts you receive and if you've written thank you notes. Many people wait until the baby is born and named to send a gift, and you think you'll remember them all, but you won't,” says new mom Stacy Spensley.
You’re going to spend most of the next month at home with your baby. While that time is precious, staring at the same walls all day, every day, can be maddening. Get out and do something!
Mom of two, Jacqueline Fisch, says you should go out to eat with your husband as often as you can. “The baby usually sleeps right through everything,” she says.
Fisch says you should try to get out of your house for at least 30 minutes every day, even if it’s just to run to the store or walk around the block. “Adult interaction is the key to sanity,” she adds.
Fill your freezer
The last thing you’re going to want to do during that first month is cook. Get it all done ahead of time and save yourself some effort after the baby arrives.
“The best thing I did was to fill the freezer before the baby came with meals we could heat and eat,” says mom Rose Godfrey. “I included items for all three meals: muffins and waffles for quick breakfasts, casseroles and Crock-Pot warm-ups for dinners and lunches. I also included treats such as cupcakes and banana bread, so that my other children could very easily prepare meals for the family during the first two weeks.”
Clear your calendar
If you’re a working mom, it’s easy to look at your maternity leave as an opportunity to get things done. Infant Development Nurse Theresa Keldzik says that’s a big mistake.
“Do not plan on doing anything other than hanging out with your baby. This is not the time to be trying to use the time off from work to accomplish a project (like wallpapering the bathroom). Clear your calendar. Be there. Hold baby skin to skin. Feed baby on demand. Nap when baby naps. Don't try to control things. Let the routine establish itself,” she says.
The most important thing you can do during the first month of your baby’s life is enjoy it. The time flies by so fast, and that tiny baby will be grown before you know it!
How did you survive the first month? Share your best tip in the comments section below.
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