So you got the positive pregnancy test and you are SO excited, but also SO scared!
You will be responsible for another life! But also you can't wait to meet that baby!! I feel you!
New life is an amazing blessing and becoming a Mom or Dad for the first time is an incredible, life changing experience and everyone has advice based on their past experience whether you ask for it or not.
Just so you know, I will never claim to be an expert, I honestly don't think that exists considering that every child is different. I always tell fellow mamas that God gave you this child because you are the perfect parent for them and you always know what's best for them period. (That applies to adoptive and foster parents too!)
That said, some pieces of advice are SOLID GOLD or at least they were for our family so I thought I would share! I know your time is limited, so I'll just jump right in!
1. You Know What is Best for Your Child, Period
I always tell fellow parents that God gave you THIS child because YOU are the perfect parent for them and YOU always know what's best for them over ANY other person on the planet. (That applies to adoptive and foster parents too!) First time parents are especially vulnerable to other people's opinions of what is best for their child and it is so important to remember that each child is unique and what worked for one may not work for another. This is even true with siblings!
2. Make Noise While They Sleep
Your baby has heard nothing but noise since conception. They hear your heartbeat, voice, body sounds etc. literally from the moment their ears are formed so it simply doesn't make sense to keep quiet when they are trying to sleep. Especially for new babies a noise maker is an awesome thing to have. Also getting them used to noises around the house right away will allow you to keep living your life during the much needed nap time breaks. Oh and not freak out when neighbors mow their yard or the mail man rings the doorbell like I did with my first!
3. Sleep Any Way You Can Get It
Experts seem to go back and forth as to weather or not it is safe to sleep with your baby in the bed. First of all, documented or not, people have been sleeping with their babies since the beginning of time. This is where rule number one applies heavily. Do what works for you and what you are comfortable with! Sleep is hard to come by with a baby in the house so again, do what works for you.
With my first baby I had with an OBGYN in a hospital and followed what they suggested. She slept in a rock and play next to my bed. (those have now been recalled I believe, but for her it was amazing!) It took her a long time to sleep through the night and I remember being a zombie.
With my second baby, I chose an incredible midwife who gave me great advice. From birth he slept on my chest until he was too big and wiggled too much at which point he went in a co-sleeper between my husband and I on our bed. I chose to breastfeed and getting up every two hours or less would have been a recipe for complete exhaustion. With him on my chest I perfected the art of sleeping while he ate. My midwife told me that having the baby sleep on my chest would regulate his body temperature and the sound of my heartbeat would help him sleep soundly. She assured me that motherly instincts would keep me from rolling on him and she was right! If I were to have number 3 they would be on my chest from day one. That said, with my first baby I never would have slept well worrying about her being on my chest. Like I said, do what works for you!
4. Invest in Blackout Curtains
Your baby has been in complete darkness for its whole life until birth, so in the interest of recreating the environment they are used to, the darker the room, the better. If you must have light, red light is the easiest on the eyes. Lucky for us, our diffuser had a red light setting!
I thought my daughter needed a night light, so I had one in her room from day one and she still wants her closet light on when she sleeps, but we kept it dark for my son and he still sleeps in a pitch black room.
5. Wrap Them Up Tight
Again, going back to what they are used to. There isn't much room in the whom, (well that was fun to say! LOL) especially toward the end of your pregnancy, so they are used to being wrapped up tight and "held" all the time. This is why swaddling is recommended until they can roll over and why baby wearing is so great for baby and for mama to get things done!
That said, my girl did not want to be swaddled and is still not much of a cuddler (is that a word?) but my boy knocked out as soon as he had a full belly and got wrapped up like a burrito.
Here's the thing my fellow Mama, you've got this! Trust your instincts, do the best you can and whenever possible, take time for yourself and, for the love of God, don't feel guilty about it! Hear me on this:
You CAN NOT take care of ANYONE else well if you don't take care of yourself FIRST!!
You got me? It took me years to figure this out so if you start out this way you will be miles ahead of me which is the goal of this post!
There is honestly SO much more I want to write in this post, but as I said before, I know your time is limited with a new baby in the house so I'll leave it at my top 5 and hope it helps you, unless of course, you do all of these things and still have a fussy baby that refuses to sleep because...girl, been there!
In that case I've got a "secret sauce" that has worked for my two and many of my friends!
Comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to share my secret with you and get you and your baby sleeping like a husband....see what I did there??