How to survive the newborn stage? – The truth
How to survive the newborn stage? – The truth of the 4th Trimester
You come from 40 weeks of being an amazing host to your little one, some less, some more. No matter the time you spent being pregnant the last month it feels like it lasts 90 days LOL and you think I want to see my baby NOW!
You probably had swollen feet, backache, cannot wait to stop going to the loo every 20 minutes and wake up in the middle of the night with a kicking baby and a full bladder.
As soon as this ends and you have your precious newborn, another amazing stage starts. The 4th trimester, named this way because babies literally need 3 more months to cope with the world, but as mammals, the best way to cope once they are born is to be SUPER close and cosy with mum.
Every time you said, “He/She only sleeps on me”, “He wants to feed all day”, “She hates her cot” it always comes from a very tired parent, that wants to have at least 20 mins for themselves. The night feedings are lonely and the day time seems to be a mess.
Assumptions like “They should be sleeping X amount of hours a day”, “They should be waking up every 3 hours”, “You are creating a bad habit by letting him/her sleep on you all the time”, don’t help at all and believe me if you are like me you just want to scream SHUT UP to anyone who dares to comment again.
If you ever watched any Animal Kingdom series…
… you see Silver Back Gorilla holding her Little one for their first 7 years. So again as a mammal instinct, it’s no surprise our little one wants to do it too! They go to the safest place (mum) the safest chest and heartbeat (mum) and the safest voice and smell (mum).
So here are my key takeouts of the newborn stage and how I survived this:
There are no such things as bad habits
I personally don’t like the “bad habit” thing, whenever someone told me (usually my grandma) “The baby is too close to you, you must let him go with others”, “You are creating a sleep crutch by letting him sleep on your chest” I wanted to just end the FaceTime call.
I didn’t wait 40 weeks and 6 days to leave the baby always in his cot and miss those little amazing cuddles which you barely get at 6 months old. It is not a bad habit and it is not a sleep crutch. So I let my baby sleep on me, I try to do it now and I will forever enjoy. “Cave” to this instinct and get comfy as this will only last a few months.
Sleep: It’s developmentally appropriate for a newborn
Did you know that newborns can only be awake between naps 60-90mins. That’s it. Offer a nap between these times and you won’t have an overtired baby by bedtime and they will sleep long stretches at night. Two things you need:
White noise copies the sound of our womb, so you must get one for every night and day time sleep.
Swaddle compresses the Moro Reflex, which wakes babies up when they happened, so get one with a zipper, velcro, etc.
Visits: Be straight with them and ask them to come with food!
No one will ever say NO to a new mum, and believe me, if they want to meet the baby and you ask for frozen lasagna they would definitely get it for you, so DO ASK!
Flexible daytime schedule but consistent bedtime routine
I am only checking wake windows (time between naps) and sleepy cues. From the time my LO is up I start my clock of waking time then I offer the first nap, no matter the length of the nap I will offer the next one after his wake window. I don’t follow a rigid schedule and It has been liberated.
Bedtime is the only thing I do the same everyday: bath, pyjamas and feeding. White noise on and that’s it.
Feeding: Offer enough in the day and they won’t ask a lot in the night
Babies have a total calorie intake, and unless your newborn hasn’t hit pass the birth weight, you can stretch the night feedings. Offer feedings every 2.5 to 3 hrs during the day and this will help to fill up the “tank”, so in the night they won’t be waking up a lot for a feed. You can stretch this week by week by waiting 10 mins more but do this after they are 2 weeks old.
At the end every baby is different, every mum will do what is best for their baby and what works for them and the dynamic of their family, it doesn’t matter your technique you are for sure the best parent for that baby and no one is going to say the opposite! ENJOY YOUR BABY because you will want to hit pause sometimes.
As a general guidance here are the minutes you should focus on according to your baby’s age to keep them awake and active before offering a nap:
0 – 12 weeks 60-90 minutes
3 – 4 months 90-120 minutes
5 – 6 months 2.5-3 hours
7 – 14 months 3-4 hours
14 – 24 months 4-6 hours