7 Tips to Enjoy the Newborn Stage
I have four children, ages 7 years old to 6 months old and I will never forget what it was like bringing home each of my newborn babies. When I was sleep deprived and felt the burden of a little one’s constant need for me, I would tell myself, “I can do this, I can endure.” This wasn’t a bad mindset, after all, I did endure. We all survived. That’s a good thing.
This is a time when a mother is on the baby’s schedule. Having her own schedule is impossible. It’s not really fair. Babies are demanding, unappreciative, and loud! But Babies are each a miracle and blessing, and a mother is their whole life when they are first born. How does it feel to be someone else’s entire life? Ask a mother, she knows.
When I brought home my fourth baby, I made it a goal not just to endure, but to enjoy the newborn period. I thought of a quote by President Gorden B. Hinckley, “Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.” It was hard work. It took a concerted effort. How a mother helps herself enjoy motherhood during the newborn time, will be different for everyone. Here are 7 things I did, that helped me enjoy the newborn stage.
- Preparing beforehand. The day I had my baby, I had a month’s worth of freezer meals in my deep freeze. Does that sound a little obsessive? Maybe it is, but I had four other people in my house to feed and being prepared in that way lifted one responsibility off my shoulders and gave me more time to enjoy my baby.
- Asking for help. I asked my mother to come help for the first week and my mother-in-law to help for the next, (and actually begged her to stay longer, so she ended up staying for 10 days.) I truly needed them. Honestly, I don’t even know if I could have even endured without their help.
- Taking it slow. Remember that you just had a baby. You are healing. I had a C-section and wasn’t supposed to lift anything but the baby for 30 days! I left parts of my house dirty. It happened. I admit it, but it gave me time to heal.
- Making yourself feel beautiful, again. For me, taking a shower, putting on a little makeup and getting out of my pj’s was a huge deal! I felt like a million dollars after I had a long hot shower and had curled my hair. Find what makes you feel alive again and don’t be afraid to spoil yourself, even if it means a bubble bath and chocolate every once in a while.
- Taking pictures of the baby. Always have a camera next to you to get the cute candid moments on film. This time is fleeting, and you can’t take too many pictures. OK, you actually can, but even if you do, you can always delete them later. No one has to know.
- Not counting the hours. When you keep track of the hours you stay up or sleep, you tell your brain that you are suffering and it only makes it worse. I would find myself complaining about my 3 hours and 20 minutes of sleep I got last night. I probably could have slept another 20 minutes by not worrying about the clock! When the baby wakes you up for the third time in one night, don’t look at the time. Trust me on this one. Just try it. It is better to think of the baby and how it feels to hold, feed and care for your precious newborn. Don’t spend your time doing the math in your head. First, it is exhausting and second, it adds more stress.
- STOP and breathe. When it gets really hard, and you feel like you can’t go on, just stop. Put the baby down in a safe place, like her crib. (Even if she is screaming. Don’t worry, letting the baby cry for ten minutes won’t kill her) and go to a different room and breathe. Stop and ask yourself what you can enjoy in this moment. Write it down and remember it. Get a drink of ice water. Eat something. Go to the bathroom. Take a shower, even. Do whatever you need to, so you can be calm and collected again. Don’t sacrifice your health (physical, emotional, or mental) for the baby. You can be a good mother and take care of yourself too. So, if you feel like you are loosing it, just STOP and breathe. Every mother who has brought home a newborn has felt overwhelmed. You aren’t the only one.
Now that I’ve scared all those first-time pregnant mothers out there. I would like to say, that there is a purpose for everything. As children grow up we help them, we try and teach them through word and example. They get bullied. They fail a test. They lose their game. They make their own choices, and as time goes on, sometimes you wish you could just hold them again like you did when you first brought them home. So hold on to these days when your baby is small and enjoy this time. It goes fast!