If you’ve just had a baby and feel a bit stressed, never fear. Here are some tips on how to mentally and emotionally survive the newborn phase.
Well I’ve done it. I’ve had 5 babies in 5years and I’ve lived to tell about it.
I’ll not say every moment was sunshine and sunscreen, but here I am. Alive to change 3,567 more diapers and say “No, you can’t have mommy’s coffee,” for one more day.
Each mother is different (which is a great thing) and some fare better with different phases than others. I find the newborn phase delightful, but don’t particularly enjoy the early toddler (12 – 24 month) phase.
They are all full of challenges and joyous moments, but I believe that many mothers really struggle during the very early days.
Maybe all moms but…
Particularly if you’re a first time mom.
And if your baby has days and nights confused.
Or has colic.
And you’re having breastfeeding issues.
You know. Life.
I think the newborn phase – though stressful – can be one where you lay some great foundations in your new bundle’s life that continue to reap benefits for months and years to come.
So, how can you survive and even thrive during this phase?
Here are my thoughts.
1. Start out how you can hold out
My grandmother has always given me wise advice. One of the first things she told me after I had my firstborn was to “start out how you can hold out.” Simply put, don’t start doing things you aren’t willing to keep doing.
Now, obviously there are things you do with a newborn you don’t do with a 1 year old. Or conversely, start habits early that you’d like to continue.
If you nurse, you may want to know how to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle so you can have some breaks here and there.
However, if you find yourself doing elaborate things to get the baby to settle (because you’ve got a whiny baby) or you are running around in circles to do simple things, it’s time to step back and weigh, test, and measure.
In the sleepless newborn fog it’s easy to do things that don’t make sense.
By doing some hard work on the front end you’ll save yourself a lot of stress later and you won’t have to break multiple bad habits.
2. Work on the sleep
Newborns are going to wake up all night long to feed because they need it. This is unavoidable.
However, you can help them develop good sleeping habits from the beginning that will transition naturally into babies who start sleeping through the night and who nap well.
You can use these baby sleep checklists to help troubleshoot baby sleep issues.
It is for your own sanity that both you and your baby get adequate sleep.
The goal is not to deprive them of food so they sleep through the night, but that you create an environment that encourages sleep and helps set your newborn up to be a well-rested baby.
And (I’ve got a secret for you) when other people’s 3-month-olds “wake up” and stop sleeping, you’ll have one who goes down for naps without fussing and who sleeps long stretches at night.
- How to Get Your Newborn To Sleep Well From Day One
- The Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule That Brings Calm Days
- What To Do When Baby Is Feeding Every Hour (& Not Sleeping!)
Newborn Sample Routine
Grab this sample newborn routine, tweak it, and have calmer more peaceful and predictable newborn days.
3. Get some “you” time
If you’re trying to survive the newborn phase, this is one of the best things you can do.
When it’s your first child you will be able to nap when the baby naps. If you already have children and a newborn this doesn’t always play out how you’d like.
I do get a 30-45 minute nap daily even with 4 kids at home most days, but I have to fight for it!
Whether you have a family member, neighbor, or babysitter come occasionally, or you just maximize your time, it’s so important to have wind down and recharge time built into your schedule.
If you are like me (and you hope you aren’t) then it’s not a luxury to have alone time, it’s a necessity. You may have to move mountains to get it, but it’s worth the effort.
4. Don’t fill your emotional basement
Baby blues and postpartum depression are a reality for many mothers. However, even without those you’ll still be experiencing a myriad of emotions post delivery.
New baby means new routine.
Older siblings will behave differently while adjusting. You’ll have to figure out how it all fits together. You may feel more frustrated, angry, lonely, or sad than normal.
Whatever you do… don’t just say “oh it’s fine” and ignore it. That will not work out for you. You have something called an emotional basement and during the postpartum period you will be very tempted to fill it.
We actually need empty emotional basements, so you must be real with how you’re actually feeling. Surviving the newborn phase necessitates you are present with your emotions so they don’t overwhelm you.
5. Let your husband help
If your husband is home then let him help. Can he change diapers and bathe the baby or older kids? Let him. If he doesn’t volunteer, ask him. If he acts uninterested, pressure him.
Okay I’ll stop dispensing relationship advice, but do ask for help. If your husband works a lot then ask a family member or friend.
If you push yourself past the point of coping then you’ll end up having to get help anyway so… swallow your pride and ask.
Postpartum Phase FAQ
When do newborns get easier?
This is a tough question, but I want to give you hope. There is no cut and dry answer, but by around 3 months of age, you and baby will likely settle into a routine. It all depends on why things are tough with your little one.
So, if baby isn’t sleeping at all right now, then a sleep schedule will probably help. If baby is feeding every hour on the hour, then know that will slow down as baby is able to drink more and eventually have solids.
Want some printables to hang up?
If you want routines and schedules for not only the 6 to 9 month age, but for the 12 month, 18 month, and on I’ve got great news. I’ve created a book chock full of routines that work.
Routines that keep babies well rested, happy, and content.
They also account for all the things you need to do and they are mom tested. The best part? The book comes with printable routines (3 choices for each age) that you can hang up and use!
So instead of having to reinvent the wheel every few months, you’ll have tried and true mom tested routines right at your fingertips.
Rhythms, Routines, & Schedules Pack
Easy to implement routines, rhythms and schedules from birth through school-aged kids to help you streamline day-to-day life with kids, including a step-by-step guide for getting started.Learn More