You did it. You got through your 24 hour labor, excruciating contractions, hours of ice and popsicles and no food, and all the gory details that nobody wants to hear about. Now it's time to bring your baby home. Woo Hoo! You feel excited, nervous, and can't believe you have a newborn to care for.
People will tell you that sleep is a thing of the past. You won't believe them, your baby is a little angel. Right? Get over it, sleep is overrated anyway. ( You will tell yourself this.) This new baby will sleep a few hours at a time at night, then wake up and want to stare into your eyes and cuddle. You will start to believe that sleep really is a thing of the past.
Here are 10 tips that helped us get through the first month.
1. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Seriously, if that baby shuts its eyes, shut yours. Don't worry about your tornado of a house. Just enjoy the chance to sleep.
2. Babies cry. Take a deep breath, swaddle, sway, feed, change, and hold the baby. It will eventually stop crying, or fall asleep.
3. Sleep deprivation can turn you and your spouse into monsters. Be nice to each other, you both deserve a positive team player on your side.
4. Repeat to yourself, "This too shall pass." Babies grow up so fast! In a few weeks, baby will be getting used to your routine, and starting to sleep at night for longer stretches.
5. If someone offers to help, take it. Ask for help grocery shopping, cleaning the kitchen, holding the baby, and anything else that would make you feel a little saner. My mom stayed with us for the first week and that helped a lot.
6. Newborns go through like 20 diapers a day. They poop and pee non-stop. My husband came home from the hospital, looked at me, and said, "I never want to change another diaper again." I about peed my pants laughing. It is just getting started. We are nearing month 3 and down to about 8 diapers a day. HUGE improvement. It will get better. Stock up on newborn diapers so you don't have to leave the house to get more when baby goes through 5 in an hour.
7. Take lots of pictures. I feel like we took a ton, but I still wish we had more from when he was a week or two old. They never look that sweet and precious again.
8. Pre-wash all the baby stuff that you will need for the first month before you bring the baby home. I didn't have to do laundry for a while which was so nice. I had extra crib sheets, burb cloths, tons of outfits, and swaddle blankets. The last thing you want to be worrying about is laundry when you got 3 hours of sleep the night before.
9. Get take-out. Everyone says to cook before the baby comes and freeze meals. Wellll... I was exhausted from working all day and being 9 months pregnant and totally didn't do that. What we did do was get lots of take-out. Don't feel guilty. Get delivery pizza, cheap Chinese food, and sandwiches. When you do find time to cook, keep it simple.
10. Enjoy every minute. Even when I wasn't sleeping more than 2 or 3 hours at night, I tried to remind myself to enjoy it. All of these experiences are part of having a baby. Not just the adorable newborn shots on your baby announcement, but the poop, sleep deprivation, and daily emotional rollercoaster. Try to stay positive and remember what it is that is causing so much stress. Your beautiful blessing of a baby.
Good Luck and enjoy the first month. Every day after that will just get easier and easier.