So something in the water about 6-9 months ago has gotten many friends pregnant. Not sure what it is…
So I feel the need to impart some information about those first 3ish months of your glorious bundle of newborn joy. By newborn, I mean up to 3 months old. The 4th trimester. It exists.
I am NO expert! Let me make that bloody clear!! I only have 1 kiddo (edit: 2 now).Butttttt I have volunteered at a new Mums n bubs course for nearly a year, every week. I hear the passionate speakers. I listen to the same questions get asked by anxious new mummies (me included!) and I hear the wonderful knowledge that is open minded, honest, holistic and in my personal experience with Lilypie, a lifesaver. I’ve listened to my mum friends and I’ve done a bit of research on some topics (albeit, I took my science hat off in many situations and put it back on for others)
I want to pass it on.
So here it is, take it or leave it. Pin it or poo on it. Or pass it on. Preferably not with the shit on it.
1. Newborns can’t tell the time.
Strangely enough, their lil scrunched up faces cannot see the clock nor then put the idea together that oh shit, it’s been 4 hours, I now demand a feed. Or it’s now 2 am, I think I will stay super quiet and let mummy and daddy sleep, even though this room is kinda scary and I can’t feel my mummy, and I WANT food!
The biggest shock was that damn this little tyke isn’t fitting into our ‘expected timings or schedule’ (I LOL to that now)! I mean we’ve read that newborns can go for 4 hours between feeds right? Thats what they did ‘back in the day (F*** back in the day)..yet here she is, crying AGAIN…..
If you are a regimented schedulely type person, you may have to lower your expectations of what you expect your new born to do TIMEWISE. Like low. to the ground. Flat. Other wise you may make yourself sick with stress. I am an example of this; loosen that shit up.
If you are schedule type person go for it…but, schedule the shit outta what you want to do after baby is 3ish months. Because by that stage, their brain connections are more complex. And what worked one day will change the next and this is where frustrations can build; ‘why won’t you do what you did yesterday!? It worked! Just do it!’ (Unless your baby falls into the 1% of angel baby who does everything by the book. You dick.)
Schedules are time based. First 3 months, middle finger that shizz (or not, if you want to do them, just breathe when shit doesn’t fit into what you expected or changes nek minute).
Routines are activity based. We followed a routine.There were no clocks. Just Lily’s cues, our intuition and our flexible routine. Routine is similar activities in a similar pattern. And are soooo different for everyone.
Eg: wake, one boob. burp. other boob. burp. change nappy. tummy time/floor. cuddles/sleep on me, sometimes put down in bassinet, sometimes not, sometimes feed more til asleep. wake and repeat. That was the first 3ish months. Then after that, ’tis another blog….
2. They’ll get used to what we do for them
There is this fear that ‘oh but baby will get used to it if I hold/rock/cuddle(godforbid)/sing/play lullabies/white noise/feed/walk in pushchair/wear him or her to get them to have some sleep. Stop yourself right there. Please. Their brain connections are only at about 14% in new born stage, so any associations made with those ‘tools’ are irrelevant. You will not be rocking them to sleep when they are 5. Nor will they be suckling at your boob to calm or sleep when they are 8. Do what you gotta do to get through.
Hold bubba! Sit in the couch with them! Watch crap TV! Let it be your excuse to do absolutely NOTHING else! Now is the time to relish that quiet state! Sniff (pretty sure I’ve said that many times in previous blogs. I don’t have a sniffing obsession. I don’t think…?) that newborn goodness. Seriously, you’ll catch your self saying, ‘but they’ve grown up too fast! I want the newbornness back!’ And did you actually be in the moment with them when they were a newborn? Possibly not. So I’m telling you this NOW. RELISH IT!
Will you look back in 10 years time and say ‘Man, I wish I did more housework when baby arrived….’
3.You baby, your choice.
When pushy Aunty Lola comes by unannounced, stinking of perfume and all loud and baby is about to feed (you can see the hanger signs) yet she wants to hold and play with baby and then bubs starts howling, and she says oh what’s wrong (all in babies face), Politely say ‘oh thanks, but I’ll just feed her now.’ Scoot away to the bedroom and feed. And once bubs has fed, stay in there a bit longer. Then come out and say, ‘oh she’s asleep now, sorry, another time’. And DONT let that Aunty/uncle/neighbour wake your baby for their own satisfaction! You know what’s best. If bubs is tired, let them sleep for the love of god!
I remember bravely heading to a cafe on my own at about 1 month old. I just wanted to sit in public, be somewhat normal again. This old lady, possibly well intentioned, decided to actually get all in Lily’s face while she was sleep on my shoulder and STROKE her hair and talk awfully loudly to her then woke her, crying inconsolably. In my sleep deprived state, I reacted slowly, smiling politely. Then I pulled Lily away from her and said ‘thank you, I’ll just go change her nappy’ and hid in the toilet. Tell people politely to back off if you can sense baby getting worked up at this person. Your allowed to! Your baby, your way! They just want mum or dad. Not 50 other people’s different smelly hands on them. Plenty of time for smelly hands later on.
4. Mumma knows best (And dad!)
Mothers instinct exists. It’s innate, built in. Trust it. If you feel something is up with baby, talk to someone, seek professional advice. Healthline, plunketline, your midwife, your GP and try stay off uncle google. It can bring a raft of anxiety (she says as she does research on ‘is it normal for poo to be smelly and runny then hard and no smell within 2 days?’). My friend had a refluxy baby, way worse than Lily. This Mumma wasn’t getting the answers she felt she needed. She knew something was up. She was a trooper, she approached various healthcare professionals, all giving the same advice. She had enough, in her gut something wasn’t right. So she forked out to see a specialist and turns out bubs was completely lactose intolerant, like severe allergic reaction intolerant! I admire my friend as she never gave up looking for answers, trusted her instinct. Go get a 2nd, 3rd, 100th opinion on something.
5. Cluster feeding
They are growing, and at certain times (first one is around 12ish days old) they take more milk in then usual. It may feel like you are glued to the couch or where ever you feed. It may feel like you have a second appendage which is attached to your boobie (or bottle) and you think god this is draining!! This can’t be what it’s going to be like? For a day or so, maybe. Sometimes on certain hours each day, sure. But it does pass. I remember lying in bed, about 2 weeks into it, hubby was home and also my mum was there. I had lily on the boobie what felt like every half hour. By 4pm, I broke down. I was a blubbering mess. I no shit said, ‘what did we do? Why did we have this baby.’ I of course, was hideously hormonal and tired and all the rest that comes with a 2 week old bubs. But I couldn’t see it changing. The next day, poof! Different story. Back to feeding more than every half hour at least. In those times, have a nourishing snack box and the TV remote ready. Sit back, munch those snacks, re-hydrate! And rest. The washing can wait. Dinner can come outta the freezer and be microwaved. Or have toast. What ever it is, cluster feeding will pass.
Ok, I’ve rabbited on way too long. I’ll bullet point-ish the next stuff as to keep you interested, if I haven’t lost you already.
6. Choice is power
As I said, your baby, your choice. Choice is powerful.
7. Is it safe? Does it work?
With everything you choose to do with baby, ask yourself, is it safe (for you and baby) and does it work? (For you and baby). If you answer yes to both questions, then keep on truckin’ Mumma! Ignore the naysayers. Ignore the parents that say ‘ well my baby slept thru at 1 weeks old’ (not safe). Ignore the ‘back in my day’ people. Do what works for you IN THAT MOMENT.
Breast fed babies can go up to 2 weeks without pooping! And when it happens, perhaps surprise hubby with a beautiful pxt of the gloriousness. Seriously, it’s exciting and a relief. Formula fed bubs poo too! Just more often.
9. Tongue and lip ties.
Get them checked and rechecked. It can help with breastfeeding big time if you get it sorted early on. Saves a lot of pain for both you and bubs.
10. Bubs will cry
Attend to them! A ridiculous baby whisperer person once said you spoil a newborn if you attend to their crying, let them cry to find their place. Excuse my language but what the fuck.You are attending to their needs! Scoop that baby up and calm them ASAP. They have different sounding cries for communicating. Check out Priscilla Dunstan on Oprah, below in the link. You can also get an AP called baby ears. HOWEVER, this is just a tool. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t wait around for the wailing of baby! Don’t wait and say oh that might be a hungry cry…or a windy cry…Attend to them! See number 11 and 12.
Get the wonderweeks AP. Or book. Saved our marriage. Enough said.
12. Tune in
Get in tune with baby. Watch them. Get on the floor with them. Tune in with is their tired signs. Jerking arms? Blank stare? (I must be tired all the time..) Looking away from eye contact? Grizzly? Perhaps time for sleep. Check them out in the link below. They will help.
13. Less stimulation
Goes without saying. Overtiredness is very quick with babies. Miss their tired cues = overtired baby = hard to calm =stressy mum. They have no filters. They download everything all the time. And when it’s sleep time, it’s download time. Too much stimulation while awake? Not great sleep. Babywearing came in super handy with this. Pop them in against you, they can shut out the big world and have a snooze. Plus you get snuggles!
14. Little humans.
They are little humans after all. People think they don’t do much. They can’t think much. Sure, complex algebra isn’t on their agenda yet, but they are highly intelligent beings. And they have senses, feelings. Ask yourself would you like that if someone was doing it to you? (in ya face etc…) If not, then why do it to them..?
Find a group/forum what ever that you feel comfortable asking question to and chatting to. I swear I am the luckiest lady to have my coffee group/antenatal ladies and their kids. They are the tits. Find that support, don’t feel you are alone, cause you aren’t! There is a network of queens (love Constance!) out there who have been through it, ready to support you. Shit, message me if you like. I’ll wait. Here. Patiently. Hoping someone contacts me…..sigh. 😂
Pat yourself on the back. You are wonderful. Your baby thinks you are wonderful. They are finding their way, as are you. It’s scary! And they need you! You are their all! Be there. Breathe them in.
You got this 👊 Especially for getting through this bloody long blog.
Dunstan baby language (long version)
Baby tired signs
Pinky Mckay who has awesome advice