Surviving your first month with a newborn can often be overwhelming. You’re learning who your child is, what they need, and what they like. They sleep (or don’t sleep) at weird times and give you zero sense of normalcy. And that is completely normal! Now that I can look back on my first month as a mom, there are a few things I wish I would have known or done differently, so I wanted to share them with you so maybe you can be prepared more than I was!
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Your hormones may rule your life
Between milk coming in, your body adjusting after birth (or c-section), and your new routine controlled by a 7 day old, hormones can get a bit unruly. Don’t be afraid to address these in a way that you need. Working out may be off the table for a bit, but you can journal, cry, listen to your favorite music while swaying around the house, go for a leisurely walk outside, or drive to your favorite coffee shop and go through the drive-through. Don’t try to bottle your emotions, get them out and move on.
I went through some crazy postpartum anxiety about 3 months after having Lachlan and started taking medicine (that is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding) and felt SO much better afterward. Please advocate for yourself with your family, significant other, and doctor. My husband was actually the one that called my OB and scheduled my postpartum anxiety appointment for me. BLESS HIM.
Surviving is thriving
You may be one of those people who only need a few hours of sleep each night. I am NOT one of those people. And if you’re not either, then don’t worry. I learned early on that surviving your first month with a newborn meant if I kept the baby alive and brushed my teeth that day, I could call the day successful. I lived off coffee and dry shampoo and, honestly, it was a good time. It revolved around snuggles and simple chores, and daytime tv.
Don’t do it alone
Surviving your first month with a newborn is all about teamwork. Your team isn’t just your significant other, it’s also Google, books, and blog posts. If you have family or friends that live in town and are willing to, let them bring you food, come do a load of laundry, or sit with the baby while you nap in between feedings. If you feel like something is not going smoothly, like sleep or feedings, google it! You don’t have to guess at this new-mom thing! There are so many free resources out there. If you disagree with one, find another! You will find some help or support (even if it’s just reassuring you that you’re doing everything great and right).
Some of my favorite resources were the Taking Cara Babies Sleep Course and their Instagram Page, the Moms on Call book and schedule (I love a good schedule), and grocery pickup or delivery. (Use that link for money off your first order)
Follow the EASY schedule below to figure out how to spend your day with your sweet new babe.
- E- Eat (bottle feed, breastfeed, or formula feed)
- A- Activity (find simple activities for infants HERE)
- S- Sleep (put that baby down while they’re still awake so they learn to put themselves to sleep)
- Y- YOU. Take some time for yourself, whatever that may be for you
Start the EASY schedule over when they wake up! When they wake up at night, they should just eat in a dark, quiet environment and be laid back down in their crib.
Tummy time is key for surviving your first month with a newborn
Doing tummy time is SO IMPORTANT. I wish I had started much earlier than we did. Building up a baby’s muscles will help them be able to roll over easier (meaning more sleep for you later on!) and is a great start to hitting all developmental milestones. It’s also a great activity to wear them out before going down for a nap.
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Naptime is for YOU
Do all your chores and tasks while your baby is awake. Stop and relax when they’re asleep. I believe firmly in this rule. While my son sleeps, I almost never fold laundry, unload a dishwasher or clean a window. I work (like I am doing as I write this blog post and my son naps away in his crib!) or catch up on TV shows, or hang out with my hubby!
While they’re awake, all you need to do is place your little one on their tummy next to you while you organize your closet, put them in a swing while you vacuum, or play a children’s audiobook and lay them on a soft blanket near you while you scrub the toilet. Just be sure you’re talking to them and “including them” in whatever you’re doing. If they don’t like to be set down, wear them while you do these things! I LOVE my Poppet sling and Boba Wrap. And remember you don’t have to do much. I try to tackle at least one thing while my child is awake, even if it’s as simple as putting one glass in the dishwasher.
Give yourself grace
Please, please, please give yourself grace. There is no “right way” to parent and survive this first month with your newborn. Just trust your gut, try your best, and learn as you go!
Find tools that help you
I shared my 12 Amazon must-haves for your baby’s first month on my blog but I also recommend finding some items that ease any pain points you run across. I asked my Instagram followers what they recommend for surviving the first month with a newborn, and here is what a ton of people recommended! Each suggestion received three or more mentions.
Crowdsourced items to help you survive your first month with a newborn
- Comfy robes
- Dry shampoo
- Velcro sleepsacks
- Bassinet or rocker
- Daily gratitude journal
- Saying NO to visitors some days
- Youtube videos to help with latching
- Help from family or friends with food and laundry
- Grocery delivery
- Microwavable lavender heater (great for encouraging let down and relieving painful breasts)
- Baby carriers
- Nipple cream
- Strategically placed snacks and water bottles
- Boppy lounger
- Amazon playlist “Cozy Night in Folk”