As new parents, we face so many tasks that are just expected to deal with and even worse, we do not get a manual when our little ones are born. I thought it would be helpful, based on my experience, to give you a few tidbits that every parent should know about as you venture into the world of parenting, no matter how you are starting your family.
Bathing Your Baby: While it’s harder in the first week or two to give your baby a bath, it’s important to get them used to bathing so try and use a soft sponge. Also, a cotton ball or swab with a little bit of alcohol can help the umbilical cord try, but of course, consult with your pediatrician. Once the little stump falls off, creating a bath time routine can help set the tone for every night. We’ve been a fan of bathing our baby every night. Now, we do not always use soap, but our baby now knows when it’s bath time, it’s time to play a little more and then get ready for bedtime. This routine helped us get her to sleep 11-12 hours nightly once she was over 4-5 months old.
Secretly, the schedule has helped us as parents too. It gives us a nice routine to expect nightly and divide and conquer. Do a schedule or routine that feels right to you, whether it’s nightly or only certain nights of the week, but knowing which days helps you have clear roles and responsibilities to get the little ones to bed.
Sleep & Feeding Strategy: The one thing we learned quickly what babies eat all the time when they are born. If you are using formula or pumped breast milk then creating a schedule for feeding is going to make your lives so much easier. For example, I love going to bed early, so if I go to bed at 8pm then I can wake up at 2am and on to help with feedings. My partner would stay up to 11pm or so and then he could sleep in until 6am. Ensuring you both get at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep will change how your next day is. Try to break up the schedule so you can stay healthy as well.
Babies Cry, You Might To: The one thing people did not tell me is that babies cry…a lot! They are learning so much about the real world. Gas, cold air, touching them so anything can set them off. I learned that if my baby was given the right amount of food and sleep, then I have to let them cry sometimes. I was given advice once that I will always remember. If your baby is crying and you’ve done everything right, then give yourself permission to bring them to your room, but take a shower. You can still hear them crying, in a muffled way, but you can take a break and just take a moment.
Magnet PJs Save Stress: We discovered magnet PJs when our baby was born. I kid you not, when you do a 2am diaper change, the last thing you want to do is have buttons on PJs. It’s great to have magnet PJs where you can quickly open and close it back up to get your little one back to sleep. We used them all the way up until she was 9 months old.
The best thing you can do as a parent is realize, many others have gone through this. Take a step back, breath and if it gets to be a lot, it’s ok to ask for help! We stayed with my parents for our baby’s first 2 months of life. It truly does take a village!