As a new parent, many of us feel like we are completely dropped in on our heads. No amount of advice or books up until that point could have possibly prepared us for the all-encompassing experience we were about to have, and sometimes it feels impossible. But there are a few key things you can do the first week that make all the difference.
How to survive the first week with a newborn (our formula for happiness)
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have to order out or let the laundry/vacuuming go a little longer than usual, don’t worry about it. You’ve got two very much more important things to attend to—you and that baby—and anyone who can’t see that needs a reality check.
Turn down extra activites. Yeah, I know, laaaame. But if you want any chance of recovering quickly, you can’t be burning the candle at both ends… Even if it’s something you reaaally wanted to do. Reschedule when you’re at LEAST 2-3 weeks postpartum.
Take lots of photos… And videos. I wish I had more videos from my oldest’s babyhood! Use your smartphone or whatever you have on hand. You can always delete the bad ones later, but you can never get those moments back… And the first week flies by SO fast.
Get to bed earlier. People are always telling new moms, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” …Well, I’m sorry, but that’s just not practical for most of us. Besides that, you feel more “human” when you’re on a somewhat normal sleep schedule. By all means, take a nap if you can, but otherwise just get yourself to bed at night right after the last reasonable time baby eats. Just make sure you’re getting at least 6 hours out of every 24 (and sub with coffee after feedings when necessary ;) ). If you need help with this, we LOVE how Gerber® Good Start® Gentle is offering free one-on-one appointments with their new certified sleep consultant as part of their Formula for Happiness™.
Have these essentials. Trust me. If you’re planning to breastfeed, you NEED nipple balm. Apply it after every single feeding. 5th kid and still needed it this last time around! You can get extra nutrition and lactation help from Gerber® Good Start®’s one-on-one experts, too. Also, get these Swaddlepods. It’s like swaddling for dummies, and you don’t even have to fully remove it to change a diaper. #lifesaver! Stock up on newborn diapers and wipes beforehand, so that’s a brainless activity when you’re low on sleep and have a little human needing your attention. Or read through this complete guide to cloth diapering a few times, and order 16-24 of these adorable newborn cloth diapers.
Schedule help ahead of time. Whether it’s Daddy, your mom or mom-in-law, your BFF, your sis, or just a friend from work/school/whatever, get people lined up to bring food and take an hour here and there when needed… You know, so you can do things like get a shower, take an uninterrupted bathroom break, grab a coffee at the shop around the corner, whatever. It’s important to still hang onto “you” in the midst of mommyhood, and make your formula for happiness as much about that as it is about your new bundle.
Be okay with not being “perfect.” Maybe your birth didn’t go as expected. Maybe it went perfect, but now you’re totally overwhelmed with how much this little person needs. Maybe you don’t quite get this breastfeeding thing, and you’re DEFINITELY not getting nearly enough sleep. You don’t have to be a Pinterest mom just yet. The crazy hair and the messy house come with the territory. You have plenty of time to sort it all out, and finding what’s right for you and your little (not what everyone else is telling you) is the ultimate formula for happiness.