by Rachel Paxton
So you’ve brought your newborn baby home from the hospital. Congratulations!
With the birth of your baby comes a new set of challenges. It is truly wonderful to become a new parent or a parent once again, but let’s face it, the first weeks of your newborn’s life can be quite stressful and overwhelming at times.
Our youngest son is one month old today. Looking back over the past couple of weeks there have been a lot of happy moments, but even though I’ve been through all this before with three other children, I had honestly forgotten how tiring taking care of a newborn can be.
One thing I hadn’t bargained for with the newest addition to our family was his size! Our son weighed 10 pounds and was 21 inches long when he was born. For the past month I have been feeding him every two to three hours for a half an hour at a time. It’s amazing how much time that eats up every day when you have a house and other children to take care of. It has taken me weeks to adjust to our new “schedule.” Here are some tips that have helped me get through the first weeks of our son’s life:
Ask for Help
If you have any friends or family around who have offered to give a helping hand, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For me, it’s not so much that I feel I need help getting things done, as much as I feel like I’m neglecting my twin 4-year-old sons. The past few weeks they have done everything in their power to get my attention, as negative as that might be! They love their new baby brother, but they are getting a lot less attention than they are used to. They’re lucky if mom gets them breakfast and lunch at a decent hour and if they are dressed by noon. It’s been nice to have family around to get the boys out of the house once in awhile to burn off some of their extra energy and give them the extra attention they need and deserve.
Delegate Household Chores
If you have other children and they aren’t already helping out with household chores, now is the time for them to start. I’m guilty for doing too much for my 4-year-old’s, and they are definitely old enough to do more things for themselves, like dressing themselves, putting away their toys, and putting their dinner dishes in the kitchen. If you’re used to having a clean and organized home, you may have to ease up on this a bit for at least the next couple of months. The baby has to be cared for first, than the rest of your family. Unfortunately, housework ends up last on the list!
Plan Your Meals
If you’re really organized you prepared and froze some meals ahead of time before the birth of your baby. Most people probably haven’t thought this far ahead, however, and I know I sure didn’t feel like cooking even when I was pregnant. One thing you can do to help simplify dinner time is to plan your meals ahead of time. Sit down once a week and plan your meals for the next week before you go grocery shopping. Even when you don’t feel like cooking it’s nice to have a list of meals you can choose from and know you have the ingredients to prepare them.
Find a Mentor
If this is your first baby and you don’t have any close female family members, reach out to a friend, neighbor, or someone from your church to give you moral support. You can also join a local moms’ group like MOPS. There are a lot of new things to learn and babies unfortunately don’t come with an instruction manual. You need someone you can ask questions to, no matter how silly your questions may seem.
Call Your Pediatrician
Umbilical cord care, circumcision, jaundice, colic, thrush, cradle cap…these are just a few of the things your newborn may have to experience during his or her first few weeks of life. If you have any questions at all regarding these conditions, don’t be afraid to call your pediatrician. That is what they’re there for. It’s scary when your baby has to go through these things and you don’t know what’s wrong with them. Almost all of these things are perfectly normal and will pass, although some conditions do need to be treated and/or looked at by your baby’s doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so don’t be afraid to call.
Having a baby is an exciting time in your life; however, it is also exhausting. Your house won’t be as clean as you want it to be, your other children may get jealous, and your spouse even may feel neglected at times. Just remember that this, too, will pass. Enjoy all the time you spend with your newborn, they don’t stay small for long!
About the Author
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com