10 Tips To Make It Through The Newborn Stage
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
The 'Pregnancy to Birth' Mind Transition
Before my daughter was born, I had many ideas of how life would be when she arrived into my arms. I could envision myself and her father staring at her for hours, reflecting on our love for one another and poking each other saying, “Wait…… are we really here? Is this moment REAL?”
When she arrived, her father and I, did exactly that. Over and over. We still do in fact. Though, we began to ask many more questions. You know, ones like, “WHHAAAAAT IS GOING ON?!”when our daughter cried for hours one evening, or refused to breastfeed.
We both agree that whilst the newborn stage is so precious and utterly beautiful, it is extremely bittersweet. We both felt so excited for each developmental leap to greet us, but yearned for her delicate head to sleep to the sound of our beating hearts and allow us to wrap our arms around her, for hours on end. Forgetting all housework, work commitments, LIFE commitments and get some special 'My baby and I' moments.
10 Tips to Make It Through The First Few Weeks
With a Newborn
Having reached 7 months postpartum, I share with you, what helped my partner and I make it through the newborn stage.
1.) Surround yourselves with supportive family and friends
We are so privileged to have a loving, understanding, hands on family who have helped us with both physical and mental support since our daughters birth. Our friends have been available to talk to 24/7, allowing us to offload any concerns or stresses, ask any questions or to act as newsreaders informing us of OTHER non baby related things to keep us sane.
No family or friends around? My next 3 points are for you!
2.) Join a perinatal class in your area (for new moms and fathers!)
I personally joined a perinatal class for mothers and bumps whilst in the United Kingdom (where I birthed my daughter) which hands down assisted me enormously with maintaining a focused, calm, empowering mindset during birth. I met amazing women all of similar ages to me, who are also first time moms. We not only shared our pregnancy experience together, but have remained in close contact sharing our experiences as FTM’s. We educate, uplift and motivate each other, daily. This group has been very powerful to my being as a FTM. My partner and I attended classes together too, which were educational and fun. They gave my partner the opportunity to meet and talk with other expecting fathers, which we felt was important.
Fathers learnt how to wear slings, basic first aid awareness, what to expect when your baby arrives.
*If you are in the United Kingdom and would like to learn more about the perinatal mother and bump class I took, please click here to be taken to their website
*The joint couple classes we attended were run by the NHS and we attended St Mary’s hospital for them
3.) Get social
Engaging with other expecting mothers, or mothers on social media was something I began to do A LOT and still do 7 months in. I asked questions or shared advice on my instagram stories which helped me to build online relationships with many wonderful women. The responses I received to my questions were overwhelming. I was shocked at how many mothers were so kind, open, non judge-mental and encouraging.
4.) HIRE HELP
Not vibing with any of the above? Have you considered hiring help?
There are many people whom are experienced and WILLING to support women or families during the newborn stages. You can be as picky as you want because there are many professional people to choose from. Go with who you feel drawn too and allow a personal relationship to build whilst they offer you some well deserved help. You’ve just created a teeny human after all… don’t be ashamed or suffer alone.
5.) Learn how to swaddle
Our midwives gave us one very special lesson and this was how to SWADDLE! Giving our newborn the same sensation as the womb, allowed her to sleep peacefully at night. We started off with breathable blankets, then switched to velcro swaddle blankets at around 3 months until she showed signs of being ready to wean from the swaddle! If your baby is affected by their own startle reflex, these are for you.
6.) Understand that breastfeeding is HARD and in some cases NOT workable
Learning to breastfeed was not only a lesson for my daughter to learn, but a lesson for me too. We are still breastfeeding 7 months in, but this did not come easy. I experienced my share of pain, tears and loss of self confidence. I pressured myself into succeeding with breastfeeding, but vowed I would only go so far. I owe all my thanks to my family and friends for their support and most importantly to my AMAZING breast-pump for allowing my breasts to heal while latching wasn't going so well.
7.) Trust your gut
Pre baby we all have ideas on how we will cope/adapt to becoming new parents. My partner and I tried to understand what responsibilities we would each have and how we would support each other. For example, we agreed my partner would take the first night feed. This was based on formula feeding, as I had a belief that I would be unable to breastfeed. However, once our baby arrived, we successfully breastfed/expressed. We learned that if something we pre planned to do - didn’t work, didn’t feel right, or simply didn’t happen, we understood it was OK to adapt and figure out a new way to help and support each other.
8.) Sleep when your baby sleeps
I’m sure you’ve been advised to “sleep when the baby sleeps”right? Well, I suggest you do that too! Not only do mothers need to recover from their pregnancy and birth, but fathers do as well. The welcoming of a newborn is a physical and mental whirlwind. Allow yourselves to rest at any given chance when your newborn arrives. Although it may seem impossible to take care of YOU, try to close your eyes, fuel on food, or shower whilst your newborn sleeps. From my personal experience, managing to get even 20 minutes of daytime sleep helped with the night time feeds and ensuring I ate regularly enhanced my almost non existent energy levels… not to mention, improved my milk supply!
9.) Recognize that recovery and adaption requires patience
Allowing your body to recover from the strain pregnancy and birth puts on you both physically and mentally is HUGELY important for how your body will heal and how your mental health will be affected in the up coming days/weeks/months. You will begin to experience even MORE hormonal changes within your body... because yes, that's right, pregnancy wasn’t enough.
Be patient with your new role as a mother, be patient with your body (it will not look like this forever, but do congratulate it for its incredible strength to create life) and be patient with your partner. Remember, he has just become a father, too.
10.) Remember that this stage is temporary
This has to be the best advice I have ever been given.
When I reminded myself of this in the early days, I was able to look at my daughter with more compassion and understanding. I was able to realize that she needed me to hold her close to my heart to feel safe when she first began teething and didn’t understand what pain was or why it was happening to her. I was able to realize that she would sleep if it was only that easy, but her body has not yet fully developed enabling her to bring her wind up. I was able to realize that breastfeeding on the hour each night, would be a distant memory one day and that I would long to hold my baby girl in the night hours, just the two of us, whilst everyone else slept.
Remembering that the newborn stage is temporary gives you every bit of encouragement you need to find your inner peace throughout your journey of motherhood.
That’s a wrap, mamas!
I really hope that my new mom tips help you with your precious newborn.
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