Having a baby is a life-changing experience. No matter what advice you receive from friends and family, nothing can prepare you for your life with a newborn. One big change you might experience is going from working professional to stay-at-home-parent. Or maybe you are on parental leave and suddenly find yourself having several weeks of time off work. Life with a newborn is exhausting. The days are long and the weeks are short, so make sure you make the most of your time.
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As soon as you pop out your new baby, the texts and phone calls from family and friends are bound to start coming in asking when they can come visit. While you may not feel like hosting anyone when your house is in shambles and you haven’t showered in a week, don’t turn them away! Make sure to put your guests to use! One of the most difficult things to do with a newborn is making meals. Have your guests bring already prepared meals with them. This way you eat something wholesome rather than living off of cookies and ice cream.
Having your guests bring a meal is also the perfect way to control how you entertain them. Let them hold your newborn while you heat up the food. Sit down and eat with your friends. When the meal is done, thank them for coming and show them the door. With a planned activity like eating a meal, you don’t have the open-ended problem of how long your guests will be intruding in your space. Don’t worry about asking your visitors to bring food. Many people are anxious to be helpful. This way you get what you actually need instead of another stuffed animal or onesie that your newborn will grow out of in a few days.
If your parents are like mine, they may be intimidated about taking care of a newborn on their own. Afterall, it has probably been many, many years since they were in charge of a baby. However, they do genuinely want to help, so use this to your advantage. While you won’t be going out and getting a spa day you might be able to take a 20-minute nap! I found it very relaxing to know that my baby was safe in my parents’ arms while I was snoozing. I didn’t have to constantly make sure she was breathing because they were doing that for me! My mother was determined to give me a chance to rest. I often found her pacing the living room to keep my daughter asleep long enough for me to nap.
While my parents could only visit on the weekends, I really looked forward to their visits. They were already so in love with their granddaughter that they didn’t care that my house was messy or I wasn’t showered. I didn’t feel a need to be a hostess to them. We could just sit, relax, and enjoy the new baby smell. I am sure my husband’s parents would have been right there too if they didn’t live 3,000 miles away!
While you should be cognizant of germs and sickness, don’t be afraid to go out of the house with your newborn. Daily outings are a great way to help you schedule your day and make you feel more human again. Whether you just head to Target, or you go for a walk, getting out of the house is good for your soul.
When I was pregnant I didn’t understand why I would need an infant car seat as well as a convertible one. I figured the convertible car seat was rated for babies as small as 5 lbs, so what’s the point in having two? I didn’t realize the importance of being able to carry my newborn in her car seat. Only the infant seat is designed to come out of the car and be used as a carrier. It also clicks into most strollers, so going for a walk is a breeze. They can even fit into grocery carts at stores. While I am a big fan of baby-wearing, a newborn can be too small for some of the carriers that you might use. So relying on their car seat to go out of the house is a good option at the beginning.
Another great thing about using the infant car seat to get out of the house is that it keeps your baby in a protective bubble. While strangers will love to ogle at your baby, they won’t be able to hold them or get too close when you have the canopy pulled up over the car seat. There are also many car seat covers you can purchase as well to give your baby even more privacy. I really liked this one because it was easy to take on and off and kept my baby warmer in the winter.
The hospital I gave birth at had an amazing program for new mothers called Muir Mommies. This program brought together a group of twenty new moms and had us meet weekly for eight weeks. It was an amazing way to ask questions and commiserate with other new moms going through the same changes. Not only did we get to put our minds at ease about all the crazy things our newborns were doing, but we also were forced to get out of our house and meet other parents. Our weekly classes through the hospital turned into meet ups at the park, and gift exchanges at restaurants. Now that my daughter is over a year and a half, we still get together regularly with our friends from Muir Mommies. I imagine we will continue for years to come.
Our local library in Walnut Creek also offered a special story time just for babies called Cuddle Club. While storytimes filled with germy toddlers might not be an appropriate place to bring your newborn, classes just for babies are a great way to get new parents out of the house. Do your research online and don’t be afraid to try new things. We have made great friends from these classes as well. Plus it gives us something to do each day so we don’t get cabin fever at home every day. You can also find Mom groups on Facebook and Nextdoor, just start looking!
Believe it or not, there are even more ways to fill your days with a newborn. Stay-tuned for part two of this post next week! Tell me about what worked for you in the comments below. Make sure to share this with your friends who are expecting a new baby or just had one!