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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
What tips do you have for coping with a newborn?
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