Tuesday, October 7, 2014
dear marta: 5 general newborn tips
My cousin Marta just had a baby. A few months ago when she was still pregnant, I asked if it would be okay to dedicate a blog series to her entitled "Dear Marta" taking my own prompts and her questions about mothering and sharing them on my blog- for her, of course, but also for any other mamas out there. :) Please note: you can take or leave my advice. I'm not a doctor nor do I specialize in anything. This is just advice that has worked for me.
Congratulations! I'm so happy and so excited for you. There's nothing like loving and welcoming a tiny person into the world- one of the toughest, yet most rewarding endeavors. There's so much to say about raising babies/children. I hardly know where to start. I'll start with 5 things I think are important to note:
Babies are unpredictable
What worked yesterday may not work today. Here's an example. Let's say last night you were feeling the pasta you had for dinner. You may or may not be feeling the leftovers for today's lunch. Why? Because you're human and you're quirky. Your little human is quirky, too. Chances are there are several things that will "work" for your baby when it comes to eating, sleeping, etc. She has tastes and particular likes just like you do. You will come to learn what she likes, what she hates, and what she loves.
Speaking of love, your baby loves you
She heard your heart beat for 9 months. She smelled you. Heard you. Was always with you. It only makes sense to me that she would like to continue to be with you. You bring her comfort like nothing else can. Babies, like adults, are social. (I like to sleep with my husband in the room. lol). Babies seek companionship. I rocked my babies to sleep. Held them while they slept. People argue, "But they'll get used to it!" "Then they'll never sleep!" "They'll alwaysssss have to be rocked!" My kids sleep just fine. Build a sense of security early and they won't always need you.
Limit visitors for a few weeks
because you're finding a rhythm, getting to know your little love, but also because people carry germs- especially kids. You don't want your baby to get a cold before she gets her immunizations and builds her immature immune system. Those who visit should be politely asked to wash their hands. Those that are sick shouldn't be visiting until they're well.
Let your significant other do the work around the house
even if it's not done "right" (to your preference, I mean) for a while. It's okay. Recuperating after child birth and getting to know your baby is more important than the dishwasher being loaded correctly.
Take evening shifts
This. This was a game changer for Jesse and me. When Lani was born, we were newlyweds, so we tried to be nice to each other as long as possible. "No, no. I'll take her now. You sleep." "You sure?" "Ummmm. . . . yeah." Once that person was asleep, the person who was awake would be exhausted and resentful (I stared hatefully at him when he was sleeping and he admitted to staring hatefully at me). There was no structure. We were winging it and that was a formula for disaster. We took 3 hour shifts the second time around, and that really helped. We both knew exactly when we would be getting sleep. It was like looking forward to a vacation. Ha.
Most importantly, don't compare you experience to another mother's experience. Remember what I said about people being quirky? That applies here, too. Your experience and your baby's experience is unique. Be kind to yourself. You're doing a great job.