Surviving the newborn phase
I laid in bed last night thinking about all the things we do as new parents to survive the bleary-eyed, exhausting stage of having a newborn. I found myself making a mental list for each baby and thinking now how funny some of it sounds. At the time though, not funny at all. Serious business indeed this keeping a so-very-tiny-and-utterly-dependent-on-me baby alive on a daily basis. Here is my mental list that kept me awake last night while texting a friend who just had her first baby and wondered “How does anyone do this every single day?” and while waiting for ‘the call’ from my sister who is a week from her due date with her second babe…
Rylee had bad acid reflux, mainly from being a preemie, so added to several doses of blood pressure meds she also took 2 kinds of prescriptions to help her digest food and not spit up.
We kept her upright, almost without fail, for at least 30 minutes after EVERY feeding day and night. Imagine that fun. But it helped her.
White noise machines. We burned through 4 of them in two years.
Binkies. Of course. Only one of our four actually was soothed by it. But we tried it for all.
The exercise ball. We bounced on that giant blue ball for HOURS on end. There were nights I wanted to stick a knife in it I was so tired of the gentle bounce, but for two of our kids they were super calmed by that movement. We learned to watch entire movies on the ball, brought the ball on camping trips…again, it may sound crazy but it brought calm and sleep for us and sometimes that’s all you need.
The Baby Bjorn. It is one of very few things we’ve kept and used without ceasing for each baby. We learned to walk the house till tiny baby was asleep then mastered leaning back on the couch to ‘sleep’ while they snoozed in the Bjorn.
Then there was Caleb. He cried basically for the first 6 months of his life. So did I.
We spent, honestly, hours a night driving up and down I-405 with him so the other parent could sleep a bit. We lived off of the 24-hour Starbucks near our house.
He liked a tight swaddle in the amazing Miracle Blanket. I wouldn’t say it was miraculous for him. But it helped. Some.
After determining that maybe, possibly he slept better without us in the room, we slept downstairs on our couch….for several months. We were completely desperate for sleep. People thought we were nuts. Some definitely judged us that we were letting our baby rule. But we just needed to survive. And far more than needing judgment, parents new to raising little ones just need a lot of grace.
Once they were strong enough to lift their heads, they all quickly became tummy sleepers. They slept much (okay, maybe just sort of) better that way.
Our third born, Kyler, was as easy going as they come. He loved the binkie and sleeping and nursing.
Getting rid of the binkie was rough but it’s done now.
Audrey was born quickly and in the water. Calm at first then she was pretty sensitive in her early days. She cried almost every time, the whole time, we were in the car. It was not fun for anyone.
My midwife recommended a Cranial Sacral Therapist. We went. She worked some kinks out of Audrey’s little body and she was a different baby by the following day. She also taught me baby massage for Audrey’s belly which helped her new digestive system work better. We had no money and it seemed crazy but wow, so glad we did it.
Anyone else willing to share your craziest or favoritest strategy for making it through those first weeks with a new baby?
I can relate to many of those things. prayer, singing Jesus love me over and over (it was funny how that simple song ministered to me on those long, sleepless nights when I felt so weak!) and remembering that it is just a phase got me through… it seems so long in the moment but it really passes so fast…
visiting from Adding Zest. loved your post over there!
Oh goodness gracious! Thanks for reminding me of all the things newborns go through. Sigh. And here I thought I was mentally ready for the arrival of our second one in Sept. Double sigh. I don’t know how we get through it all…I think we just hang in there because that’s the only way. One day at a time. We bounced Morgan on the yoga ball too — he LOVED that. One thing no one ever tells you: Breast feeding is not easy and it can hurt! And not all babies are born knowing how to nurse; it took Morgan and me TWO LONG months to feel comfortable with it with the help of the lactation consultant. One thing is for sure: Being a mama is the GREATEST gift God has given me. I’d be a mama a million times over…
Thanks for sharing Karissa!
Congratulations on number 2 Mina!!! You are so right about the breastfeeding thing. Just because it’s the natural thing, doesn’t mean it comes easy. And I fervently concur, being a mama is indeed an immeasurable gift!
I always tell myself, I’ll sleep someday but I know deep down it’s a lie, and I’ve come to terms with it. I tell people the last good nights sleep a mother will ever have is the night before she finds out she’s pregnant for the first time :o).