NEWBORN WEEKS 1-3 | WHAT I LEARNED

newborn weeks 1-3 besotted blog

Prior to bringing home baby, I had approximately zero experience with a newborn, (sheesh a baby or child for that matter).  I wanted to share some things I learned in these three weeks that might help another clueless new mommy.  I did do a ton of reading when baby was in utero but some of these things are really ‘on the job training’.

I had bought a bunch of onesies, what I learned is that it is incredibly frightening pulling a onesie over a squirming and crying newborn’s head and then trying to get her arms through the long sleeves? It feels as if I am disassembling a time bomb.  I only had one side snap onesie from the hospital, I ended up ordering a lot more.  I recommend the side snaps, it will prevent melt downs for both you and baby, even side snap shirts are a good idea!

The baby hates getting her diaper changed, it’s cold and shocking for her, I don’t blame her.  Invest in a wipe warmer if your baby screams bloody murder when you change her/his diapers or see if a friend is willing to donate one they aren’t using any longer.

Baby wearing is a God send! I bought a Solly wrap and she falls asleep within minutes of being put into it. It allows me to work, cook, clean (yes, clean).  I love having her close to me, as I feel an insatiable need to make sure she is breathing at all times (this seems to be a common phenomena amongst first time mom’s).

Do what makes you feel a little ‘normal’, meaning what made you feel good prior to baby moving in.  I thrive in an organized home, it makes me feel better to have a clean house. I make my bed every day, it’s a little thing but it makes me feel less chaotic and believe me adding a baby to the family is instant chaos! You don’t need to clean the house, but do one thing that was part of your former routine and it will make you feel less precarious.

Buy The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD, it’s a little dated visually but the techniques in the video work for both pre-term and term babies!  It was my saving grace in the hospital when I was feeling so overwhelmed and out of control it gave me a sense of confidence that I could help soothe my crying baby.

Have you heard of cluster feeding?  No?  Me either, until baby arrived.  The baby eats almost every hour around the clock, it is really exhausting, this supposedly is very common with pre-term babies (but newborns in general can do this for periods of time), it’s something worth mentioning since it was a shock to the system and I am not sure how you can get yourself physically prepared for it, but if I knew it existed maybe I could have gotten myself mentally prepared.

Newborn’s do not sleep through the night, they need to eat every 3-4 hours, so don’t get frustrated, just resign yourself to the fact and go with it.  I have my husband do the last morning feed (around 5 a.m.) and it makes a huge difference for me to get a solid hour of sleep. sometimes he will even do the next feed, but I have to pump often (because of how often she eats) and that means I don’t get to sleep during that one.

Speaking of sleeping, we bought a mini crib we thought it would be a great compromise from a bassinet or co-sleeper, well choose the latter, she rarely will sleep in her crib it’s large and flat and she freaks out in it.  We are looking into some other options, I’m thinking a rocking/vibrating bassinet but my husband is leaning towards a co-sleeper that goes in the bed.  It makes me nervous to think about sleeping in bed with baby, but it has to be better than staying up all night with her in my arms (did I mention I am SO tired?).  I am so open to any advice on sleeping options for baby.

And that my friends are some of the things I have learned in these 3 weeks, I hope it can help a new mommy and I hope the veteran mommy’s will chime in and offer their experience to this list!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups, they just welcomed to the world a beautiful baby girl. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

Comments

  1. Sounds like you’re doing beautifully and everything is as it should be :)
    My second is 10months old and I’ve often said to my husband how I wish we’d looked into safe co-sleeping with our first (I was up all night with her in my arms) instead of assuming she needed to be in her bassinet. We safely co-sleep with our son when required and I can’t tell you the world of difference it makes to us all.
    Wishing you bigger stretches of sleep-filled hours through the night :)

    • Tristan B. says:

      Renee, that’s where I am at right now, she won’t sleep in her crib so I am up all night holding her in my arms. Did you use a special co-sleeper in the bed?

    • Hi Tristan,
      We don’t use anything special for co-sleeping, but my husband sleeps in the spare room if I’ve got our son in bed, and we follow the safe co-sleeping guidelines – no alcohol/drug consumption, no covers, positioning of myself and the baby etc. Because he’s almost 11months, I put a guardrail on our bed too so he won’t roll out. You most definitely are more alert through the night, but I find I’m not woken ‘wide awake’ through the night. Also, if you’re breastfeeding, you can lay on your side to feed through the night. I was really unsure about this and felt quite awkward at first, but it’s another thing to help us all sleep better.
      At the end of the day, do what sits right with you, trust your mama instinct, it’s rarely wrong ;)

    • Go for the co-sleeper. I used it for both my kids and I love it. I am paranoid about the breathing thing and sids. The co-sleeper fits right in between you and your husband. I swaddle the kids up in aiden and anies swaddlers and place them in the co-sleeper with the noise maker attached to the outside of the co-sleeper and it works like magic. Just make sure no blankets or pillows can fall into the co-sleeper. We got our co-sleeper for $40.00 at target and it works like a charm. I am not sure what I did without it. Good luck. It gets easier. The first 12 weeks are the toughest.

  2. Buy a Miracle Blanket – completely life changing for me after I had my first, and I used it again for #2 & #3 – it’s truly a miracle. Cannot recommend them enough – I now give them to all friends having a baby. It swaddles, comforts and most importantly it keeps their little hands off their cheeks (so they don’t trigger their innate rooting reflex between feeds). 100% with you on the Happiest Baby book too – the 5 Ss are amazing. Enjoy your little bundle!

    • Tristan B. says:

      Josie thank you! I have the Miracle Blanket but she is still too small for it, but I can’t wait to use it! I actually can’t believe the 5 S’s work, but I can get her to come off the ledge when she ‘s on a crying jag with them!

  3. You are doing great Momma , but I feel the need to mention that we still do not have a picture or a name !!

    • Tristan B. says:

      Julianna, soon, soon name reveal and photo! I am still wondering if this is her name, I can’t make up my mind and I am hoping this is her name, do I sound like a crazy person?

  4. I am so proud of you. Those early weeks are so hard and you are doing great! My boys are teenagers now, so I can offer no newest things advice. However, I can say swaddling is crucial to sleep, in my experience. Perhaps, that Miracle Blanket is on to something. I just used a soft, cotton blanket with one corner folded down. Feeding a newborn is serious business and you are so right about the frequency. I hope one day you will be able to eliminate the pumping step. I applaud your perserverance. Pumping is time consuming. You are a champ! Eventually, your baby girl may accept her mini crib. I would be cautious about the cosleeping. You may not sleep as well as you think, and safety would be a concern to me, too. Truly, congratulations. Her tiny lips are divine.

    • Tristan B. says:

      Kathy, co-sleeping danger is a concern for me, if we did it, we would have a special sleeper and she is being swaddled but I honestly am horrible at it! We have the Miracle Blanket and the summer swaddlers but she is still too small for them, she’s growing so soon! Thank you for the kind words:)

  5. Hello! I just read your post and I do completely relate to the fact that
    I did not have any experience with babies until I held my first son. I had a very hard
    Time and I wish I would have had advice from other moms. For that matter I had zero mom friends .
    Anyway, I remembers book about sleeping habits from newborn
    To teens that helped me a LOT. Here it is:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0449004023
    I think you are doing amazing! Working and having a newborn is no small feat.
    All the best! Also , the photo of her sweet little lips is just gorgeous.

    • Tristan B. says:

      Thank you Ursula for your note + link! AND for the compliment:) I can’t wait to have enough energy to break out the ‘big’ camera and take some photos!

  6. Hi! I’m the most imperfect mother of three, the youngest one is now 3 years old…I can only tell you that I passed for the same fears, the same feelings… It will pass, you and her will be knowing each other, and hte things will ease little by little. You shoukd just here youinner self, let your body talk to you, do not think much.
    I will highly recommend you co-sleep, that was a real change in my life when I decided to change my first baby, when she was 4 months or so, to my bed all night. You will find that you can breastfeed and continue sleeping, at the same time.
    Keep well.

    • Tristan B. says:

      Pececito I feel like that may be an answer the co-sleeping, prior to her arrival I wouldn’t have thought twice about it but now that she is hear I am thinking it is an incredibly good idea!

  7. Thanks for sharing all of this! Glad to hear you and new baby are doing well! I’m not a mom yet but hope to be one day so I’m bookmarking future reference, this is wonderful advice :)

    • Tristan B. says:

      Kate I hope even one thing was of help, like Mrs. Limestone said all babies are unique, but it’s nice to have some tricks in your arsenal to try;)

  8. Your experience is pretty much the opposite of mine but that is what is so awe inspiring about the whole thing- each baby and mother is so unique that it really is a totally different process each of us evolves through.

    Hope you are getting a little rest. The first 6 weeks were the hardest for me but I know not everyone agrees.

    • Tristan B. says:

      Oh, Stefanie, I am So exhausted! I know you wrote that your baby ate every 40 minutes and my getting the hour in between feedings seems luxurious in comparison! I am agreeing with you, I feel like this is so, so tough! When did Agatha start sleeping or more, when did YOU get to sleep again?

  9. Clearly, you are wonderful at everything you do, and your little peanut will not be an exception to the rule! I promise they DO sleep through the night eventually and you will feel like a normal person again.

    I love your advice about doing something that makes you feel like “you”! When Olive was itty bitty, I had to shower – even if it meant waking up early and doing it before my husband left for the office each morning. Showering, drying my hair and putting on a bra made me feel like I could conquer the world! Just my two cents. Much love to you are your family.

  10. I co-slept with both of my boys. Never had anything in-between us – but in saying that, the protective side of me always had my arm or my body between my husband and bub as he would sleep a lot more soundly during the night (I’ve never been a heavy sleeper). You will be surprised how ‘in tune’ you are. I would often wake up 5-10minutes before bubba would wake up and it honestly allowed me to function somewhat normally because I was actually getting sleep. Another life saver – and I recently gave one to a dear friend of ours who has an 8 week old little girl – was a bouncer. Nothing special – just something that has a quick dry cover on it (as tacky as some of them look) that can be taken off easily and washed. My hubby’s shifts meant that I would often be home alone with the kids and well, you can’t wear them all the time (although they both lived in my baby bjorn until they got too heavy) – and it simply allowed me to have my body to myself. Even if they were crying I could put them in the bouncer and wash myself, or peel the potatoes, or hang out the clothes (and do it a lot quicker). I could see them and I knew they were okay. There is no way I could handle trying to have a shower if I can hear my baby crying in another room. Thing is – I would shower with them (used a washer around them for grip) and they ended up loving the shower so much that they would sometimes feed in there, then sleep and I would wrap them in a towel and put them in the bouncer – and half the time would jump out, run a bath and just sit or lie in it. That’s the reason it needs to be quick dry. I used the bouncer every single day/night. Saw my friend just last week and although she literally has ‘everything’ she couldn’t get over how life changing that bouncer was – haha. Bubba was sooky because she’d just had her immunizations and didn’t want to be held…but within a few minutes of being in the bouncer with mummy bouncing her with her foot while we chatted, she fell asleep. Not saying it’ll work all the time – but for those times when wearing isn’t ideal and when you just need your hands – it’s great. Hang in there though! We’ve all been there. And yes, my boys were both breastfed – so they would wake, attach – we’d both go to sleep and our world was perfect. People say they won’t transition – but both of mine did – and within a few days into big beds (not a cot) without a problem. Enjoy. :)

  11. Forget the wipe warmer…they get used to it and then freak out when you have to change them elsewhere with cold wipes. Setting yourself up for a public freak out! ;)

  12. Ah, she’s perfect! Sounds like you are doing fabulous. Hold her, feed her, love her, repeat – that’s the formula ;)

  13. Congratulations! I am so happy for you. Those lips are precious!

    I have never tried co-sleeping, so don’t let me discourage you from it if you are definitely leaning that way. I will just say what helped me with my three, and that was letting them lie on their stomachs to fall asleep. All 3 of them showed a definite preference for it, and I went with it. It makes sense to me–it’s so much cozier. Plus, mine all had varying degrees of reflux and never really liked to lie completely flat on their backs. I figure the sleep experts change up the recommendation every 10 to 20 years anyway (when I was a baby, they were telling moms that babies had to sleep on their stomachs). But probably the most important thing is that you have to be comfortable with it. I was comfortable with it when I sensed that they were more at ease and less likely to gurgle and sputter with their reflux, and from that point on I didn’t really sense any danger in it.

    If you are uneasy or worried about the safety of co-sleeping, then I would be afraid you might not get really good rest. It really helped me even in the early weeks to have baby sleep far enough away from me (in our master closet or in the living room with the monitor close by) that I didn’t hear every tiny noise that was made (but close enough that feeding was not inconvenient). I used the monitor and had it turned to a setting that would allow me to hear true cries but not every smaller sound. I slept so much better in between feedings that way! I think sometimes we think the baby wants to wake, but she is actually just squirming around. Babies are fairly noisy sleepers! Also, I always had a fan going for noise. I still sleep with a fan myself–it’s so soothing.

    It’s always nice to hear that you are doing a good job and are not completely crazy. I hope you can rest in that! Know that your new motherly instinct is the best guide to follow and try not to think (or worry) too much. Advice, opinions, and methods abound, but your little girl has only one you. :) Enjoy her! Praying you can get the rest you need. xoxo

  14. Oh, congrats mama! I just wanted to say that it gets much, much easier. Not easier, but you won’t be tired like t h i s. I just really wish someone had told me. The first month you have to live on adreleline becaues there is no such thing is uninterrupted sleep (for most of us). By three months it feels completely different. Manageable. I remember a few moments in the first week where I was afraid that this was having a baby. It’s just having a newborn. You will sleep again. I feel like if I KNEW that I would have been a little less anxious. Yes, the swaddling is wonderful and having the baby at an armsreach. We had a bed level bassinet that I kept right next to me for first three months. I could literally have my hand on him if I want, scoop him for feeding and drop him back in still sleeping after. Of course he also ended up in our bed as well sometimes! Also, if possible, if you can just do the feedings and have daddy to the diaper changes it’s amazing what a difference in rest it can be. Sometimes it’s just a little bit extra that you need to feel a bit more like yourself. And you can stay moderately asleep for feedings, but getting up for diaper changes really wakes your whole body up.

    Hoping you get the rest you need. You’re doing amazingly!

    Lots of love!

  15. Hi Tristan, osa gladi that everything is ok with you and your baby! I’m only 10 weeks pregnanti, but I think to make something like this for first months: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/culla-belly-cos-25224
    Lilia

  16. it sounds like you’re doing great! I have two little ones (3.5 and 2 years now) and i remember those sleepless nigths so clearly still. Most of the time my kids ended up in bed with me but i was SO paranoid! I didn’t even sleep with a pillow or blankets at first as I was so nervous. But they were both fine. I found that i got a little extra sleep if they slept on me or next to me. And the pumping and nursing will get better. I pumped like crazy initially to keep up but my body eventually regulated itself and just was able to provide enough of what was needed. Best of luck and congratulations!

  17. Congratulations, Tristan! It sounds like you are doing great, but remember to go easy on yourself. Things change fast, which is both a blessing for the things that are hard, and a curse because eventually you’ll wonder where your newborn went and where this toddler saying “NO” came from :)

  18. Catching up on my reading and so happy to hear everyone is doing well! Congrats! The best tip for sleeping I received was to get a sound machine. My girlfriends and SIL told me to get one for her room and something like this to travel with: http://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Travel-Machine-Soothing-Sounds/dp/B000J6CDY6/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1386347244&sr=1-1&keywords=lamb+sound+machine

    For her room, we bought an mp3 dock and downloaded a white noise song from iTunes since its similar to the inside womb. I quickly noticed how much it soothed my little girl and she still uses it. I took the lamb with me while I shopped, on walks and car rides. It allowed me to get so much done as well as let her sleep peacefully. Our best investment ever!

  19. regarding co-sleeping (i don’t remember that phrase from when my girl was a baby all those years ago) but i did have her with me all the time, it was just she and me. made feeding so, so much easier as i never had to get up. i never felt i would ever crush her, instinctually i was just more aware. that was 18+ years ago and i still do not sleep as soundly as i did before i had her, i think it must be part of the protective instinct. and make sure you are having plenty of liquids to keep your strength up.

  20. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job and you have such a good attitude! I remember how utterly exhausting it all is – just remember that it will all pass (especially in those hard moments), which is hard to remember when you’re ‘in it’. I remember sobbing to my mom because my older son would only sleep at night rocking back and forth in the swing and I was certain I was ruining his sleep habits for years to come. Now he is six, in a big boy bed, sleeping from 8 pm – 7 am. So don’t worry – you’ll get there! Also we used and loved the Miracle Blanket, co-sleeper by the side of the bed, “snuggle-nest” in the middle of the bed, white noise machine, and pacifiers!

  21. I just love this photo of those perfect little lips. Enjoy your precious little bundle. Adorable.

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