NEWBORN BABY SURVIVAL GUIDE
I had BIG babies: 9lbs12oz, 9lbs 4oz, 10lbs5oz, 9lbs4oz
WOW right?!? And all of them were c-sections.
With my first baby I didn’t have a clue. I had no friends who had babies and my older brother who had 2 children had always lived far away. I was dropped into my new reality without a proverbial life jacket. And...reality with a newborn is NO JOKE.
I was STRESSED out with her health concerns (heart murmur and possible kidney problems and the Doctor visits that meant we had to travel to in those first few weeks), my/her inability to get latched properly (and the visits to the health clinics to weigh her pre & post feed), engorgement & mastitis (are you kidding me, I have to look after this little one AND be sick like I have never experienced before), broken and raw nipples (applying lanolin just so she can take it off again right away when she feeds again in 10mins) AND DON’T FORGET, all the “easy” things (like changing diapers, burping, feeding myself, cleaning myself, brushing my own teeth), that prove to be NOT SO EASY when u are sleep deprived and at the mercy of this little body.
In addition to all this - some new babies cry (if you had one that didn’t, then you can stop reading and thank your lucky stars you were blessed with an ‘easy’ baby. My first, she was NOT an ‘easy’ baby. She cried. A LOT.
In particular every time I put her down. EVERY. TIME. This was no joke. I still have a messed up arm that seizes up on me every time I hold my arm in that ‘baby cradle’ position. And if you are a parent, you know that that baby cry, the one where you know they are NOT HAPPY, hurts you to the very core of your heart.
SO — 2 things that I think are VITAL to survival in those first few months!
A BABY SLING - I can’t remember exactly how I heard about the 🇨🇦heart2heart sling (http://www.heart2heart.ca/) but it became my LIFE SAVER. I know there are a lot of slings on the market now and carriers so dad can help too…but a ring sling was my go to. It was easy to put on quickly, enabled me to put her in a variety of positions as she grew, had a pocket to throw my phone, credit card and keys in AND it acted as a cover up to nurse her, a change mat for on the go diaper changes, and a pillow for her head when she slept on the go. It was also really easy to move her sleeping from the sling into her car seat.
AN EXERCISE BALL - This became the MOST important piece of furniture in my house. Walking with the bounce, hushing and rocking worked but soon my arms got tired, my back hurt, everything hurt. The ball was a LIFE SAVER for my body. It allows you to sit down comfortable, find the right bounce and even rest your arms on your legs when you get tired. If you are looking for a gift for a new mom with a fussy baby — THIS IS IT :)
BONUS TIP to help with the mastitis and nursing — I struggled a lot with this. Don’t be scared to do what you need to do. I used a nipple shield 90% of the time with my first for the 9 months I was able to nurse her. It was the only way it was going to work. In spite of what all the lactation consultants said, this is what worked for me. I was able to throw it away with the others but with each baby, it was a good 2 months before I was able to do it on the go and out and about. Syringes, tubes and formula were a part of each of my child’s early nursing days. I will always encourage a new mom to go through the struggle to see if it works for them, but I will ALWAYS say FED IS BEST and if your mental and emotional state are suffering, do not EVER EVER EVER feel bad about supplementing or going to formula. Your health is the MOST important part of the equation because with out a happy and healthy mom, there will not be a happy and healthy baby. As for mastitis, don’t forget to massage, massage, massage when you nurse. Do it ALL THE TIME. It truly does make a difference in ensuring the mild ducts don’t get clogged and your breasts stay healthy and comfortable. And I mean get those 2 fingers and move them in small circles in all spots of the breast. Under, over, corners etc…if you feel a bump, massage it away!
So there you have it — my 2 tips to help survive those early months! These were life savers for me and the lessons I learnt with my 1st allowed me to be better prepared for numbers 2,3 & 4. The sling remained a VITAL part of MY survival and sanity through all my babies! And they were happier for it. ‘Attachment parenting’ was not yet a labelled type of parenting style that was talked about with my little ones. I didn’t make a conscious decision to parent one way or another, I just knew my babies were happiest close to me and I listened to my heart and held them there.
I would love to hear your feedback and comments and if you use any of these life savers with your own children. Drop a comment below!