Do not make sleep training decisions in the middle of the night. This is the best piece of advice I got when I was in the trenches with a newborn. You will be tempted one night when your child just won’t fall back asleep and you are beyond exhausted and just want a few hours of continuos sleep and suddenly the idea of sleep training sounds like heaven. Don’t do it. At the same time, don’t try to switch up the sleeping arrangement in the middle of the night whether that is co-sleeping or they are in their own room. The middle of the night is not the time to make these decisions.
It will be hard when you are trying to calm down a fussy baby while your husband snores peacefully next to you. Try not to smother him with your pillow – you’ll need him later.
You cannot spoil a newborn. Does he only sleep in his carseat? Or only in the swing? Or do you need to wear him in order to get him to nap? Whatever it takes, go ahead and do it. You cannot spoil a newborn and you will not set bad sleeping habits at 6, 8 or 12 weeks of age despite what all of the sleep books say and he will be ruined for the rest of his life and never sleep.
Take pictures – with you in them. I have tons of newborn pictures but rarely any with me in them and that’s because I would growl at my husband if he tried to take one of me in those early days. I hadn’t showered, my hair was a mess, no makeup and just looked awful and no way was he going to capture that in a picture. But the truth is, later on you’ll look back through these pictures and wonder where you were. Just take them – your kid will want to see you in his baby pictures. Also invest in newborn photography – your uterus will thank me later.
It’s okay if they are crying. I was so nervous taking my newborn anywhere in fear that he would start crying at the restaurant, grocery store or in the Target aisles and I would draw unwanted attention and glances from people judging me why I couldn’t calm my baby down. This is quite the opposite. For one, newborn cries are so mellow & quiet compared to the tantrum of a 2 year old as you are attempting some form of discipline (trust me on this one) that people barely notice. And chances are 75% of those people have kids and they understand. This also applies to flying with a newborn – just relax, if your baby starts crying it’s okay.
Bring extra clothes with you. You will get puked on, or have a diaper explode on your lap. This will happen – bring extra clothes for yourself and baby.
It will get lonely and repetitive. After the initial excitement of a new baby wears off and friends and relatives go back to their everyday lives, you will be doing this day in and day out for the next few years. It is repetitive: feed, burp, change a diaper, nap, and then rinse and repeat. Except sometimes you don’t get to rinse and it’s just repeat.
Remember to eat. In order to take care of your baby, you need to first take care of yourself. Feeding yourself is the first step then work on getting some rest and then try to set aside some time just for yourself. Even if that means browsing Target by yourself for 30 minutes.
It is a phase, and this too shall pass. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – I promise. Sleep will get easier, so will breastfeeding and they will stop shitting themselves in the middle of the night. It’ll get better and easier just try and make it through today and not worry that this will forever be your life. It’ll change in a week or two – or three.
Hire help. Get a maid.
Stop Googling. Also applies to reading sleep expert books, baby blogs (so guilty here) or following other moms on social media. You’ll oogle over their perfect pictures and spotless houses and moms who have showered and have pretty lipstick on. This is not normal. Also stop googling how to get your 3 week old to sleep through the night while rocking your baby at 3am on your iPhone and be oozing jealously over other moms posting that their babe was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks of age. Wonder where the mom is that has a 9 month old and he is not sleeping through the night? Probably still rocking her baby and is not posting on BabyCenter’s forum.