Coping with a Newborn: 4 Moms

No, I didn’t plan that the 4 Moms topic would be about coping with a newborn when our youngest would be 9 days old, but it sure is handy to be in the midst of it.moms of many manage

Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to read what they have to say about this topic:

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room

I purposely chose not to write this post until after Nathaniel was born because I thought it would be beneficial for me to be in the midst of the coping. I also made the decision to nap when Nathaniel napped (which is conveniently at the same time our other little ones nap) and so I’m writing this post while all the children are up and about (my goal is to only be on the computer when the children are sleeping or during afternoon rest time).

First I’d like to say that

Stop to go get crying baby. Change diaper and give happy baby to Savannah (7) for her turn to hold him.

I’d like to say that  every baby and every mommy is different. Just because something has worked for us and for our children doesn’t mean it will work for you and yours.

Baby decides he wants to eat, so type while nursing baby.

Isabella (2) and Nathaniel (9 days) have, so far, been on polar opposite ends of the baby spectrum. I literally remember talking to Mark when Isabella was 3 months old. It was a serious discussion where I was explaining to him that I didn’t think that I would ever be able to get back to a full homeschool schedule because Bella (even at 3 months) needed so much of my time and energy. I was wondering what options we had…

Tend to Isabella who is upset that she isn’t allowed a snack right now. (She still takes more than her share of time and energy.)

Mark’s response was, “Are you teaching our children to love and fear the Lord? Are you teaching them to obey you and serve others? Then, don’t worry about the academics, just do what you can and God will bless our efforts.” (Yeah, he’s terrific like that!!)

On the other hand, we are on schedule to get a full week of school finished this week even though Nate is just days old. So a lot has to do with the baby.

Here are some things that we do when we have a newborn that help us to adjust, happily function and sleep.

Tips for Coping with a Newborn

Burp, snuggle and talk to one  of the sweetest most amazing babies in the world.

Remember your priorities.

Caring for and nurturing your baby is going to be one of your top priorities during the early days. Many things (laundry, cleaning, homeschooling) will take a back seat to resting, holding, feeding, changing and loving on your new baby.

Say, “yes” when Carter (10) asks to finish burping baby because he didn’t get a turn to hold him yesterday.

However, there are things that, in our opinion, should not be neglected (basic and necessary house work (read dishes and a bit of laundry), cooking (everyone needs to eat) and child training). While baby is a high priority, it’s important to continue basic care for the rest of your family. Of course if you have older children or outside help, then they should be able to cover those things and allow you to rest and spend more time focusing on baby.

One of the most common questions I get is what to do when older siblings misbehave while baby is nursing. Personally, I stop nursing the baby and deal with whatever problem has arisen.

Co-sleep

For us this allows me to get lots of sleep at night (and therefore function with all the other kids during the day), helps maintain a good milk supply and provides lots of special snuggle time with the baby.

Nathaniel

It has not prevented our children from sleeping through the night or moving to their own bed at a reasonable time.

One thing that we do to prepare for sleeping on their own is that during their first couple of months we encourage them to go down to sleep in their own (beside our bed) bed and then when they wake for their first feeding of the night they move into the bed with us.

Wear your baby

Happy baby. Happy momma.  I use a Moby Wrap for little ones and an ERGO for older babies and I wear my babies a lot.

Be prepared for interruptions.

Nurse baby on the other side.

Everything takes longer when you have a small baby. Remember this time in your life isn’t for getting projects done or hosting events, it’s for nurturing an eternal soul through his or her most dependent time in his/her life.

I routinely plan for a half to a full hour extra for getting out of the house, fixing dinner, folding laundry, etc. You just never know what those little ones will throw your way or when you’ll ‘need’ to stop and just admire God’s amazing handiwork.

Schedule and plan LOOSELY

When we have a newborn, I like to have a goal of what we’re going to accomplish, but I always realize that so long as every person is taken care of anything else is just bonus.

Some of my goals for the past two weeks:

  • Keep up with laundry (did it :) )
  • Unpack hospital bags (been on the list since last Thursday, but hasn’t happened yet)
  • Take kids to park (not yet)
  • Take a walk (did it)
  • School work with kids (did it)

I think that having a loose plan  or schedule can be especially helpful if you struggle with baby blues.

Sleep when baby sleeps

I know the temptation to try to get things done when baby is sleeping, but especially in the early days, it’s probably wise to sleep if at all possible.

Even when you have a houseful of little ones it’s possible to get a few minutes of sleep by laying down on the couch with them playing (or watching a video) around you.

Take one day at a time and keep perspective

It does seem as if you will never sleep through the night again, but honestly, this time is short and fleeting and God will give you the grace and strength to face what He has ordained for you.

Enjoy baby sleeping on my shoulder.

In a few weeks you’ll remember a difficulty you were facing with your baby and you’ll realize that it’s no longer an issue.

Honestly, with a newborn, if you don’t like what they’re doing today, just wait for tomorrow because they’ll probably do something different.

Enjoy

This time passes quickly. In no time at all little one will be smiling, rolling, crawling, walking and talking. These things are wonderful too. But they are nothing like the floppy, snugly softness and perfect weight of a newborn.

Nicholas (2, he’s now 4) and Isabella (newborn- now 2)

What tips do you have for coping with a newborn?

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room

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25 Responses to Coping with a Newborn: 4 Moms
  1. Michelle
    August 30, 2012 | 8:40 am

    Thank you for this! With number two due Christmas day, I need to start thinking and planning (filling the freezer, Christmas stuff done ahead of time, etc.). I really like the idea of having a loose plan for those early weeks and even months; will definitely borrow that one!

    (PS-those pictures are absolutely precious!)

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  2. Michele P
    August 30, 2012 | 8:52 am

    Oh, such sweet memories. Enjoy this wonderful time!

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  3. Cari Wiebe
    August 30, 2012 | 8:59 am

    Wow how encouraging. Sounds like I am on the right track. We seem to have the some of the same ideas. I have not started our home school year yet. Next week we will begin. The plan is to start slow, Bible study and math worksheets, then moving up to our full day the following week. I find the hardest thing is to lay down my time lines and high expectations. My biggest issue, I hate going to bed when the house is untidy. But sleep is important and I know that I am starting to run on low. Baby Jase is 19 days old and this mama is getting tired. So top of the to do list today is take a nap.

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  4. jayme @ No Regrets Living
    August 30, 2012 | 9:05 am

    I’ve only done it once, having a 4-month-old son, so my advice is as a first-time mom who had no other kiddos in the house.

    In the beginning, I resisted the “sleep when he sleeps” philosophy, preferring instead to clean or meal prep or laundry. Eventually, I figured out that I didn’t need to sleep everytime he slept, but I did need 1-2 decent naps a day. And I learned that a shower does wonders for one’s mental state! And that I shouldn’t worry about meal prep – that was the reason that I had made some meals before hand – use those instead of new things! And that my husband was more than happy to boil some noodles while I tended to the baby, so I should let him.

    Biggest thing that I learned is just to hold him – that was the most fun!

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    Melinda Reply:

    I am preparing for the birth of our first child; it’s nice to hear your perspective with your first. I’ve wondered what it will be like adjusting to having a newborn around.

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  5. Tori
    August 30, 2012 | 10:04 am

    Wow! This is such a timely topic for me, too. My littlest is a month old, and she’s the first of my 5 to insist on sleeping with me. Actually, she pretty much won’t let me out of her sight. It’s been a big adjustment. :D Thanks for the encouragement! Blessings to you and the new baby olive!

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  6. Jennifer
    August 30, 2012 | 10:25 am

    Remember that we do not have to be super mom. We can get it all done in God’s time. I won’t ever forget when my husband’s grandmother came to see our second little and commented on the dishes in my sink (we had just finished supper and I was nursing the little man), and informed me that just because you have a new baby doesn’t mean you can stop being responsible for everything else! Talk about hurtful. I have learned the more littles that we have that it is OK to stop everything else, including schooling, and allow my children to see that all babies deserve to be loved when they need it. After all, that is what God does for us when we need it!

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    Kacie Reply:

    Rude of her! Grandma should have rolled up her sleeves and gotten to work.

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  7. Carrie
    August 30, 2012 | 12:03 pm

    Congrats!! My newest little one is 16 days old today, so this is quite relevant for me too. I like your advice and agree wholeheartedly.

    Personally I have insomnia after my babies so sleeping is difficult, but I find that just lying down and closing my eyes is enough.

    I find that emotionally my recovery is much easier after several kids, but physically it takes longer. I keep thinking I “should” feel better by now (16 days postpartum).

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  8. Michelle
    August 30, 2012 | 1:43 pm

    Nathaniel is awfully cute! I love the precious floppy newborn stage.

    Very good advice. I liked how you actually blogged the little interruptions. Such a great reminder and example of how to not let our “to do” lists keep us from our most important responsibility to care for our young blessings!

    Our #9 is due in late March. :-)

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  9. Kristina
    August 30, 2012 | 2:27 pm

    Hi Kimberly! We are expecting #5 in 7 weeks so this post is absolutely perfect! I always gain so much from reading your blog and I often send posts to friends as they need encouragement or advice. Thank you for taking the time to keep us up to date and to share your heart with us! Nathaniel is precious…as are all of your little olives! Blessings to you and your family!
    Hugs,
    Kristina

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  10. MelissaG
    August 30, 2012 | 9:39 pm

    Reading this while snuggling my 10 day old babe (4th baby). Thanks for the encouraging words and congrats on your little one.

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  11. Emily M.
    August 30, 2012 | 10:01 pm

    It is so true how different babies can determine how the adjustment goes. My fourth baby was so easy and sweet, much like your little guy. She barely cried, nursed amazingly well, slept great, and was generally happy (and at 2 she still is!) My 5th baby was so much harder. And at 1, she still “takes more than her fair share” as well. ;) She is a precious blessing, I’m thrilled God gave her to us, but yes, I remember wondering how I would ever get back on track with our normal life. It took us a little longer, but she’s now 1 and we are getting there. :)
    Congratulations again! Blessings~

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  12. Chelley
    August 30, 2012 | 11:17 pm

    I’m so glad you talked about resting or sleeping when the baby sleeps. I felt SO GUILTY doing that with both of mine, but that rest is very vital while recovering from pregnancy/birth. It’s nice to see a mom whom I respect condoning that!

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  13. Serenity
    August 31, 2012 | 10:01 am

    With our first baby I did not listen at all and never once took a nap or really rested. I thought I felt fine. Then a few weeks later when the adrenaline wore off I felt pretty terrible and on top of that I felt foolish because I had been insisting for so long that I felt great. Kimberly is right. Rest. Even if you don’t think you need it!!!

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  14. Carolynn @mylittlebitoflife.com
    August 31, 2012 | 4:00 pm

    I like the “rough” plan/goals, but also keeping in mind that getting some stuff done is a bonus!

    http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?p=1349

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  15. Laraba
    September 1, 2012 | 1:27 pm

    Congratulations on your new blessing!

    We have a 3 month old and he is now sleeping through the night, napping nicely during the day, eating well, and generally is an easy baby.

    I thought I’d die the first couple of months, though, as I had a rough C-section and the baby, while not really difficult, was upset in the evenings and cried a lot.

    It is helpful to realize during those first hard weeks that things WILL get easier. And do rejoice in the moments with your precious new little one.

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  16. Diana
    October 9, 2012 | 2:48 pm

    Thank you so much for this! It did my heart good to see those “interruptions”! Random question, how do you type while nursing? Are you one handing it? I’ve often wanted to try this but never managed, maybe b/c I can’t reach the keys very well over my very big boy! Also, we have a co-sleeping arrangement similar to yours (his bed in our room and starting off the night there), but our boy is 8 months and still wakes up at least 4 times a night. Part of it is teething I know, but how old are yours usually when they start sleeping longer? There is light at the end of the tunnel, right? Thank you so much for encouraging other Mommies through sharing!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Well, Nate was just a couple weeks old when I wrote this. I’ve found that much beyond that point I can’t type while nursing. :)

    When do ours start sleeping longer? Well, it depend so much upon the baby. Nathaniel is currently sleeping through most of the night (6-8 hours). Bella didn’t do that until she was much older. Most of our little ones have been getting up one time or less by the time they are around 5-6 months old. Hope that helps some.

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  17. kimberly huff
    November 1, 2012 | 11:56 am

    My baby #5 (born c-section)is 6 weeks old now and this post was great for me to read. I never was able to sleep any during the day, but then again I never tried. great advice to moms with many kiddo’s is baby wearing is amazing :) you get cuddle time with the baby and both hands free to do other things. I’ve always loved baby wearing.
    I still don’t get out of the house much but I don’t mind at all. My husband has been doing the shopping with us on the weekends so he can help, and it gives us time to talk while we shop.
    The best advice I can give after having several babies,I’ve realized the most important thing to do is slow down and enjoy the days. We can never get these day’s back and kids/babies grow up soooo fast. Enjoy them, the laundry will always be there waiting.

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  18. Mary Jo @ Covenant Homemaking
    November 1, 2012 | 1:34 pm

    I am curious what you do to encourage babies to go to sleep in their own bed next to yours. Our third was born two weeks ago and he is my first to despise the bassinet. Even from Day 1, he will *not* stay asleep in it for more than 5 or 10 minutes (I think one time he slept a two hour stretch in it, but that’s the only time). My other two would happily sleep in their bassinet from the beginning.

    I’ve struggled with what to do. Cry it out? Just enjoy him going to sleep snuggled up with me and assume he’ll figure it out later? I’m also struggling with this during the day, because I have a 3 1/2 year-old and a 22 month-old and I haven’t really had *any* focused time with just them since Joshua was born because he wakes up as soon as I lay him down (and I’ve tried laying him down when he’s almost asleep and he just jerks wiiide awake).

    I’ve tried swaddling him, white noise, warming the bed up with a rice sock before placing him in it, and haven’t found success with any of these.

    Any light you might be able to shed on the issue would be much appreciated. :)

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Perhaps I’m not the person to be asking about this because our two month old still doesn’t sleep in the bassinet at all. :)

    I would say, though, at two weeks to enjoy snuggling up and sleeping with him and to gradually and gently work it out later.

    With Nathaniel, we’ve started encouraging him to sleep in his bassinet during the day. We are also starting to put him in the bassinet when he’s sleepy (or sleeping) it’s time for bed. So far he’s not stayed there long, but I expect he will get there. :)

    I know it’s tough with all little ones, but enjoy this time. As a friend of mine asked me recently, “Do you think that you’ll look back 10 years from now and regret sleeping with your baby?” I don’t think I will.

    Oh, and I second the idea of wearing your baby during the day. They love to be close!

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  19. MelissaG
    November 1, 2012 | 1:39 pm

    Not everyone would agree with me but my 10 week old is sleeping happily in my homemade Moby Wrap as I type. I have 3 boys, 2 of which are home school age. I wouldn’t get anything done if we didn’t use it. I have about 7-8 different carriers (some expensive) and this is by far my favorite. Go to Hobby Lobby with a coupon and you can make 2 for $20-$25. And we co-sleep at night. I already see a few glimmers of hope that it’s getting “better”. I’m trying to enjoy the littleness of her and still get things done.

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  20. Desiree
    April 12, 2013 | 3:07 pm

    This was an encouraging read…my seventh is three days old. :) Thanks!

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  21. Felicia
    August 14, 2013 | 1:42 pm

    I found this blog post through Pinterest and it was truly a reminder I needed. With all the sleepless nights it’s too easy to forget just how precious this time really is. <3

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