Here is some down to earth and easy to implement advice for new parents. Post contains affiliate links.
When I became pregnant with my first child… I was so so scared.
We had other plans for the next few years and this seemed to derail them. But not only that… I had no idea how to take care of a baby. I had not been the babysitter type. I was not the teenage girl whom all the neighborhood kids adored. In fact, I was barely ever around kids. I felt it was a recipe for disaster.
So, I did what I always do when I’m completely freaked out.
I read and read and read until I feel a bit more confident.
After all those books and 5 babies of my own, I want to boil down into a few practical points what really makes the biggest difference with little ones.
Advice For New Parents That Ease The Tension
I want to give you some peace of mind here… there are only a very few things you need to focus on in those early months that make for smooth sailing for the months after that. Get these few things down and you are Good To Go.
Create An Easy Newborn Routine
One of the biggest mistake first time parents make is to wait and try to decipher baby’s cues.
Of course you’ll want to use your instincts.
Of course you’ll want to respond to baby’s cries.
But do not assume you’ll understand what baby wants when baby cries.
This is why a good newborn routine is key. It takes the guesswork out of daily life with a baby. You feed baby before baby is starving. You put baby down to sleep before baby is too exhausted to get to sleep. You don’t have to worry about what to do when and how to get baby down. You simply focus on the feeding and changing and resting and baby is a happy happy camper.
This will also help minimize witching hours.
Work On Baby Sleep (Without The Tears)
It’s a lot harder to teach baby to sleep on their own when they have developed sleep props.
When baby is addicted to rocking, nursing to sleep, riding in the stroller, or whatever else… it ain’t easy to break that habit. It’s much easier to teach a tiny little thing to get to sleep on their own. You don’t want to end up with a super tired baby if you don’t have to.
Then they’ll just always know how.
- Put baby to sleep at the first sign of sleep cues, or within an hour or so of starting to feed.
- Swaddle baby (I prefer these swaddles) because it helps them transition through sleep cycles. (Psst.. here are some clever swaddling tips for baby at night)
- Put positive sleep associations in your baby bedtime routine.
Reset Household Expectations
Your home will no longer look like it did pre-kids.
Even if you hid the crib and swing and infant seat… you’d still end up with more mess than before because now you’re distracted and focused on a baby instead of the speck of dust on the kitchen floor.
Remember this: life is like a video not a photo.
At some parts of the day the house will be a tip and you’ll be dirty and spat on… but it’ll look up. You’ll clean, do some tidy routines, and take a bath. Honestly, you need to learn how to take a nap when baby naps. It’ll be the best thing for your hormones, your mental health, and your mood.
Meet Baby’s Needs In A Timely Manner
If you are working on a routine, this will happen naturally.
One of the most encouraging things a new mom can do for herself is to make sure that her baby’s needs are met. This results in a calm, content, happy baby (barring medical issues you couldn’t have predicted nor prevent) and mom who can relax a little.
- Feed at regular intervals (cluster feeding in the early evening) so baby doesn’t get starving or have blood sugar drops.
- Put baby down for a nap after every feed. Watch sleep cues so you’ll know what baby’s perfect sleep window is.
- Avoid over stimulation and over tiredness, both of which make it difficult for baby to calm down and drift off to sleep.
Don’t Take Shortcuts With Feeding And Sleeping
It is much easier to teach a positive habit today than to continue a negative one and then have to correct it later.
With things like feeding and sleeping… you honestly want to put the hard work in early. Baby is content, sleepy, and it’s easy to meet their needs when they are little. If you wait to start good habits until baby is 6 months or later then there are many more factors involved that make it harder.
Start out like you can hold out. – my grandmother
- Feed well, don’t let baby snack all day because then baby won’t get the rich hind milk, they’ll never be “full” and will become fussier and fussier as time goes on. Babies who are not full don’t transition well through sleep cycles which causes short naps and multiple night wakings.
- Add in a dreamfeed so you’ll be able to go to bed immediately after and get more sleep.
- Find baby’s tired cues so you can put him down and let him learn to sleep on his own. This is very easy with tiny ones, much harder as they get older.
- Give yourself the grace and compassion you’d give your best friend during this time.
You can do this, mama.
As a mother who had 5 kids in 5 years… you’ll get through it.
Need sample routines for babies 6 weeks and older?
By now, you know how to handle the newborn days, but what after? The good news is this: you’ve set your baby up for a foundation of success.
Now all you need to do is continue to find routines that work for you and your baby as they grow up and begin getting bigger and bigger. Sob. After having had 5 babies with 5 different personalities, I know a thing or two about finding a good schedule.
This is why I’ve created a book of sample routines and schedules for babies ages 6 weeks up to 5 years. The book includes information on how long to let baby stay awake, how much play time is good for each age, what to do with baby when baby is awake but not quite mobile, and even how to manage toddler and baby joint routines.
Chapters covered in Rhythms, Routines & Schedules include:
Section One: Sample Schedules
- 6 Weeks to 3 Months Old
- 3-6 Months Old
- 7-9 Months Old
- 9-12 Months Old
- 12-18 Months Old
- 2-3 Years Old
- 4-5 Years Old
Section Two: Tips and Tricks
- Tips for Managing the Day With Multiple Children
- Daily Rhythms for an Only Child Ages 1-4 Years Old
- Daily Rhythms for Multiple Small Children Ages 0-5
- Sample Bedtime, Mealtime, and Playtime Routines
- Tips for Keeping Kids Busy Throughout the Day
For more sample routines, mom tested and approved schedules for babies ages 6 weeks and up, check out Rhythms, Routines & Schedules right now.
I’ve created a free email series just for you! If you struggle with creating an easy flowing routine or rhythm in your home… this is it. I’ve gathered all my easiest routine hacks into one free series and, best of all, you can get a big sneak peak into our book that has over 25+ routines for babies ages 6 weeks to 5 years. This series will help you:
- find a routine and rhythm for your child
- learn how to juggle multiple routines (for 2 or 3+ kids)
- know what is and isn’t working so you can make one tweak that’ll change your day
Click here to sign up for my free email series or simply click on the image below.
New to this community? Start here, friend.