Newborn Survival Guide
I’m feeling like a total rebel right now because its actually “nap time” and the babes are asleep, which means I should be napping too, in order to properly stave off the sleep deprivation. That’s like Rule #1 of Newborn Survival.
But ya know what???? I don’t feel like napping!!! Mama free time!!! Wooo!
Crazy town, I know.
Today I wanted to jot down my thoughts on surviving the onslaught of the second child. Its a bit different that having that first child – but in a good way. Actually, its much better than I imagined. Actually, we are pretty much having a blast over here with Mr. Davis. Here are some ways that Baby #2 is different from Baby #1.
Those long sleepless nights aren’t quite so long.
Having that first child is a bit of a shock to the adult system. Parents instantly go from having total control over your own life to basically none. The newborn takes charge of your sleep schedule, shower schedule, eating schedule, social life, work life, and so on. Eventually, little by little, you regain some of that control, but not all of it. As parents of a 3.5 year old, we still can’t stay up all night watching 6 consecutive episodes of _____ on Netflix without serious consequences. The preschooler won’t sleep in. In fact, he’ll probably wake up earlier than normal because kids have a sixth sense about these sorts of situations. That doesn’t always mean we make the right decision about the number of shows to watch.
I remember thinking at those 3am feedings with Kid #1 that I literally might die from sleep deprivation. Who even knew it was possible to survive on 2 hour naps for weeks (months) on end? Hey, I survived.
The sleepless nights were what I most dreaded about having another baby. Thankfully, its not nearly as bad this time, not as painful as I remembered. Knowing what to expect and knowing its doable makes all the difference. Its just one more feeding, and the house is peaceful and quiet. Life goes on. 🙂
That panicky inner voice in your head isn’t nearly so loud.
With the first baby, even I, the most laid back person of all people everywhere, could hear that voice in my head telling me that Child #1 was probably dying every time we couldn’t get him to stop crying. Or at least starving? Some being emotionally damaged? Something else terrible. Baby #2? We’re more able to hang on to our sanity and just enjoy the little guy, even when he’s crying.
He doesn’t really cry that much after all.
Enjoy it, none of this will last very long.
Again, with the first, we were more worried that he was… not sleeping long enough… not developing healthy napping skills.. depending on being rocked to sleep… not getting enough to eat… getting too much to eat… Baby #2? If you want me to rock your sweet little noggin to sleep, sure, I’d love to. There will be plenty of time for self-soothing later.
Cut out everything.
To get the most out of this oh-so-short newborn phase, really, cut out all the stuff. Forget it. It’ll wait. I knew this the first time, but I really really get it this time. I’m doing a much better job at doing nothing.
I cut out cooking. Its my favorite hobby (truly eating is, if we’re being honest) and it takes up a big chunk of my time. I get a lot of satisfaction out of running our household on mostly-from-scratch, healthier-than-average meals. (Cheaper too, icing on the cake!)
This month we are eating meals I froze in the last few months, take-out, and preprocessed foods like pop-tarts, cheetos, frozen pizza, canned soup, PB&J, cereal. No one has died yet. I’ll ease back into cooking in a few more weeks, but for now, bring on the high fructose corn syrup. In fact, we’re having ‘breakfast for dinner’ tonight which will involve scrambling eggs. Baby steps!
We also used exclusively disposable plates, cups, and plasticware right at first. Sorry earth, I’ll make it up to you later. There’s just no time to wash dishes right in the beginning. I stopped worrying about the recycling (its not easy here in the boonies but I do my best), but I just don’t need a counter full of drying tin cans these days.
So in summary, to make this easiest, I recommend you take all the shortcuts and don’t feel bad about it. Its certainly working for us.
Make lists and set timers.
New mamas do have a little free time. It just comes in unexpected bursts, at ever varying times of day, for unknown lengths. What works best for me is to keep a list of things that I’d like to accomplish. Keep it simple.. e.g. paint toenails. That sleep deprivation will keep you from being able to remember anything ever, unless its written down.
And then, if I’m doing anything that is time sensitive, do set a timer. Again, you’ll totally forget you started that rice boiling, and 30 minutes later be wondering what that weird smell is. (did it) I prefer the oven timer because it keeps beeping until someone addresses it. You can set reminders in your phone too, for calls that need to be made, bills to pay, etc. These things come floating across your brain at that 3am feeding, but then they are nowhere to be found in the light of day.
Download some e-books.
Okay last tip. Babies take up an enormous amount of time with their round-the-clock feeding habits. You will be chair-bound like, 4+ hours per day. I downloaded some books to read on my phone with the kindle app. Even though this isn’t my preferred way to read, I can easily manage my phone with just one hand. And having something intelligent to do keeps your brain from rotting out. 4+ hours is too much time to spend on facebook!!
Next time, I look forward to talking about something besides babies! Although I do love babies. 🙂
Packing on the lbs.