Would you believe me if I told you your life could be easier with a newborn?
I’m totally kidding, but I got your attention right?! Newborns, babies, toddlers, kids- no stage is easy but sometimes as parents we make things harder for ourselves. Sometimes, it’s easier to just let something slide in the now than correcting it and making it easier for the future. I know, I sound so wise. Call me Yoda.
I’ve had THREE kids in less three years. All separate pregnancies so I feel like I can shed some light on what no to do. Because I’ve been able to make mistakes now three times, three different ways with three different kids. I’m being dramatic, but ya’ catch my drift.
With my first child, I made every mistake possible. You name it, I probably did it.
Talk about a learning curve. Honestly, I had no experience with babies and it showed. Nada. Zero. Zilch. But looking back, I know now what I could have done differently. And a lot of those mistakes, are extremely common with new parents. Of course once my second and third child were born, I tried to to avoid making the same mistakes (and ended up making new ones lol).
Make your life easier by doing or not doing the following:
- Use white noise. Get a machine for your baby’s room and a portable machine for the car. This will save you. It reminds them of being in the womb and comforts them. It may be annoying (for you) but believe me, it helps relax them and stay asleep.
- Make some noise. On the contrary, don’t be afraid to make some noise. I’m not sayin’ to whip out the vacuum while your baby is napping, but a little noise never hurt anyone. You don’t have to whisper and tiptoe around the house. Otherwise, you’re going to have a baby that fusses every time they hear a sound. This is also where the white noise comes into play.
- DO NOT HOLD YOUR BABY FOR NAPS. Just don’t do it. I understand when you have a newborn, they’re brand-new and adorable and you just want to snuggle them all day. But honestly, it’s just creating a bad habit for both of you. If your baby isn’t feeling well (sick or teething), that’s a completely different story. But remember, nap time is a break for both you and baby.
- Keeping baby up too long between naps. Newborns and babies need a lot of sleep. We all know this but it’s important to understand that most new parents keep babies up much longer than they should. Chances are if your newborn is fussy, they’re probably tired or hungry. Check out this site to see how long your baby should actually be up between naps.
- Get baby on a nap schedule from the get go. Don’t wait until your baby is five-months-old to establish a nap schedule. After the first six weeks, you should be able to start setting up a nap schedule. Yes, seriously six weeks!
- Don’t rely on bouncer or swing for naps. It will just be another habit to break. Only when your baby is awake should they be in a swing or bouncer.
- NO BOTTLES or breastfeeding to fall asleep. You know exactly what I’m talking about! Baby should be drowsy but awake when put them down for naps or bedtime. I know it’s an easy way to get your baby to fall asleep, but down the line this will be another tough habit to break.
- Buy swaddle blankets, and don’t bother learning to swaddle. When you’re in the hospital, you have nurses to help you with swaddling and that’s fine and dandy. But I’m here to tell you, work smart, not hard. There are swaddling blankets where you can zip a baby into the swaddling position so save yourself the trouble. Because when you’re exhausted in the middle of the night, the last thing you want to do is swaddle your baby and double or triple check it’s tight enough so it doesn’t unravel.
- Co-sleeping. Whether you’re for or against, understand this is a difficult habit to break. My oldest child still co-sleeps with us and unfortunately I still don’t know how to fix this. But again, I learned the hard way. My second and third child were sleeping in their cribs at six-weeks for naps and bedtime.
- Be careful with swings, portable sleepers, or angled bassinets because it can cause a misshapen head. I’ve had two out of three children have infant helmets. My oldest child slept in an angled portable sleeper until seven months (due to reflux) and this caused severe head flatness. My second child had torticollis (limited range of motion in neck) which caused head flatness only one side of his head. We even saw a physical therapist when my second child around 2 months in hopes of correcting the issue and preventing the need for a helmet but the damage had been done. Just be aware if you’re utilizing any of these for long periods of times.
- Overnight diapers– once your baby is sleeping through the night or even around 3 months maybe, only taking a feeding a night, overnight diapers will save you a midnight diaper change. Just remember to slather on that diaper cream so they don’t get a rash. Overnight diapers are available once babies reach size 3 in diapers. But I always had my babies in a size up for overnight diapers, just in case. So if they were in a size 2 diapers, I would put them in an overnight size 3.
So what’s the moral of the story? Try to implement good habits from the beginning.
Whether you’re planning to have 1, 2, 3 or 7 kids- make your life easier. Don’t make careless mistakes. Having children is such a blessing, but let’s not make life harder than it needs to be. Because either way, you’re making mistakes, that comes with the territory. Becoming a parent is a challenge, a beautiful challenge, but nonetheless a challenge. Don’t make silly mistakes because it’s easier right now, consider how life will look six months from now.