Oh, the newborn phase.
You’d think that having gone through it once, I’d be set, but not quite.
This is my second time around on going through the newborn phase, and going into it I’ll admit I was so confident.
Like, I know what to expect, and there’s nothing new so I’ll be able to handle it (right?).
Being now 1 month deep into it, I can say that boy was I in for a surprise.
Every baby is so different and adding in additional children to the mix does complicate things a lot more.
But that being said, I really do wish I made a list of tips like this one the first time I went through postpartum with a new baby as having a reference guide is so much better than relearning as you go (you forget so much!).
Babies are different, but newborns are very similar in their needs and expression of those needs.
Learning your baby is the key to a less stressful first few months.
Going through the newborn phase this second time I made sure to make note of EVERYTHING that I learned along the way that really helped make things easier.
My baby is officially 1 month today (I can’t believe it!), and looking back, these are the 30 tips that made a big difference in how things went.
So here is what I learned to make the first thirty days with a newborn less stressful!
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Disclosure: I have included affiliate links to products that I have used and enjoyed. These are for your convenience. I do receive a small percentage of every purchase without any increase to your own price.
1. Get All the Sleep You Can Get Day/Night 1 Postpartum!
They say sleep when your baby sleeps, and they’re right, but that gets a little more complicated when you have a toddler in the picture.
Still, you will find that it will be near impossible to find rest during your usual sleep hours, so sleeping, whenever you can, will be huge to keeping you charged!
With that said, I highly recommend starting immediately!
Try to get as much sleep as you physically can your first night postpartum.
Labor is exhausting, especially if you went about the unmediated route.
You will be tired postpartum, but, based on personal experience, something motherly kicks in those first hours which sort of keeps you wide awake despite being physically exhausted.
I mean you did just deliver a miracle of a human in a way that can be described as pretty physically traumatic, so of course, you’ll be filled with all sorts of emotions and feelings.
But remember this key tip, trust me you won’t regret you did!
Sleep as much as you can that first night/day.
Have someone else, a trusted relative like your husband, care for, watch, and make decisions for your newborn while you sleep.
Discuss your plans with your care team so that the only time you are woken up is when it’s absolutely necessary (i.e. when you need to nurse your baby or you need to take medications).
Well, night two will be the start of what sleep will actually be like for the next weeks to months.
Don’t be fooled by your one-day-old sleeping baby and think you’ve been blessed with a great sleeper.
Hey, maybe you have, but more than likely your newborn is like the other 99%.
Newborns sleep very well their first day/night after being delivered because they come out hydrated and fed.
Sure they nurse immediately after delivery, the golden hour, and then every 2 to 3 hours, but that’s mainly for comfort and to help get your milk in.
That’s why they’re, otherwise, mostly sleeping.
The following nights/days will be very different as days 2 to 3 is when cluster feeding begins, and it doesn’t matter whether you are breastfeeding or not, you will still see and feel the difference.
So, take my word for it and sleep “normal” for the last time in some time.
You’ll need the energy.
Sure the small amount of sleep you will get will not seem like enough, but getting a short break between labor and postpartum will really help in getting you ready for what’s to come.
In considering this tip, make sure that you do spend the necessary time with your newborn immediately post-birth with kangaroo care and breastfeeding during the golden hour and that you are nursing every 2 to 3 hours.
These are vital to your postpartum recovery and to breastfeeding success!
Related Post: Mom Hack: Surviving the Newborn Phase
2. Use a Heating Pad
Newborns love to be held.. all the time.
Your newborn baby has entered into a cold and strange new world, it’s no wonder that they find the greatest comfort on your warm chest listening to the familiar beat of your heart.
But I completely understand the inconvenience this might cause when this is the only place your newborn prefers to ever be.
If you want to have a free hand here and there one trick you could try is using a heating pad to heat up the place you would like to place your newborn in prior to putting them there (REMOVE the heating pad completely before putting down your newborn).
I discovered this neat hack whilst reading a mommy forum looking for tips on getting my newborn to sleep in his bassinet and I thought it was borderline genius!
There’s one thing that newborn babies love more than being held and that is warmth.
I purchased this cheap heating pad from Amazon immediately and gave it a try and all I can say is that if your newborn is anything like mine then it will work!
My little guy will fall asleep on anything that is warm and cozy, so before I put him into our DockATot or his rocker, I quickly warm up the area with the heating pad and then remove it before placing him in.
Make sure you NEVER have your newborn baby lay on the actual heating pad nor leave the heating pad unsupervised, always turn it off after every use!!
And make sure that you don’t make the area too hot either, the highest setting I use is Medium and even then I remove it after a couple minutes.
Other sleeping tips you could try is placing your shirt or some other article of clothing that smells like you near your baby while they sleep (just make sure it doesn’t pose a sleeping hazard) or the old rice in the glove trick (but that might work better when your newborn gets a little older)!
3. Feed On Demand
So here you are, night number 2 and your baby not only won’t sleep but all they want to do is eat.
It’s a pain, but it’s totally normal.
And if you want to limit the fuss, then you better do it on point.
I made the mistake of assuming that my baby actually wants to suck for comfort instead of actually eat, and so I tried giving him a pacifier instead and had my husband hold him for a little.
I mean you can’t blame me.
My little guy kept smacking his lips as soon as I would put him down, and it’s not like he wasn’t eating (I heard him gulp down that colostrum each time) so I thought he just wanted to be close to me.
And to add to the exhaustion, my nipples really hurt, so I wanted a break.
Needless to say, what ensued for the next hour was so much worse than nursing around the clock.
My newborn became so upset that it took almost a full thirty minutes to calm him down and then another hour to hour and a half to get back to calm nursing again.
And by then it wasn’t only I who wasn’t able to get rest, my husband and my toddler were also forced up, which means even more crankiness.
My advice, offer the boob every time your newborn is fussy (especially if you know that they don’t need a diaper change or need to sleep), especially in those first days.
Your newborn cluster feeds in order to get your milk in, and if you don’t nurse around the clock you not only risk having a low milk supply but you also risk having engorged breasts (another reason why my newborn had such a tough time getting back to nursing calmly).
If your newborn isn’t constantly emptying out your breasts when your milk comes in (and it could come in anytime between 2-5 days postpartum) then your milk ducts can become clogged making your areola/nipple too hard for your newborn to latch on.
So now your newborn can’t physically nurse, making them even fussier, and your uncomfortable engorgement can then progress to painful and serious mastitis.
Related Post: 14 Essential Breastfeeding Tips for the First 14 Days
4. Learn the Cues
Babies can’t tell us what they need, which is what makes them a little trickier to care for.
But they do show us using various physical cues.
You probably have heard of hunger cues.
There are three stages in which babies let us know that they’re hungry.
If you miss the early stages of hunger, it will only get more difficult to feed and keep your baby calm and happy.
Early Hunger Cues:
- Lip Licking or Smacking
- Mouth Movements (notice tongue movements as well)
- Sucking on Everything (especially hands)
Mid Hunger Cues:
- Rooting Around Chest
- Positioning as for a Feed (curling, laying back, pulling with or stroking at clothes)
- Fidgeting or Squirming
- Hitting Your Arm or Chest Repeatedly
- Acting Fussy
- Breathing Rapidly
Late Hunger Cues:(at this point you’ll have to calm your baby down before attempting to feed)
- Frantic Head Movements from Side to Side
- Turning Red (Total Meltdown)
In my previous tip, I mentioned how my newborn baby’s mood quickly escalated when I didn’t feed him on time (when he was smacking his lips, letting me know he was hungry), and how long it took to just calm him let alone feed him again.
The cues are real and they’re important to you understanding your baby’s needs and keeping them happy.
Babies also show sleepy cues!
These also come in stages and if you miss the early cues you too will also have have a fussy, sleepy, and over-stimulated baby who will need to be calmed down first.
Early Sleepy Cues:
- Slower Body Movements
- Making Less Noise
- Overall Lower Activity Level than Usual
Mid Sleepy Cues:
- Pulling or Tugging at Ears
- Rubbing Face
Late Sleepy Cues: (remember, an overstimulated baby is difficult to put to bed)
- Tugging on Onesie
- Bending Backwards or Arching Back (can also appear as refusing to breastfeed, just make sure your baby is visibly full before assuming that they’re sleepy)
I also had multiple incidents in which I didn’t realize that my baby was tired, I just assumed that he was hungry (I always offer the breast first whenever my baby acts fidgety) and had nipple confusion as he would latch on and then off and then bend backward.
However, once I swaddled him and rocked him a little in a dimly lit room, he’d quickly drift off to sleep.
So, newborns can be easy if you give them what they need when they need it.
5. Stock Up On Gas Drops
The digestive system of newborns is still developing which means that there will be discomfort along the way.
Although colic is known to develop when babies are between 3 to 4 weeks old, occasional gas discomfort can occur earlier due to things like allergies, mother’s diet, sensitivities, and breathing incorrectly when crying.
I’d recommend getting them before you bring your newborn home so that you avoid having to make an emergency trip to the nearest 24-hour grocery store at 3 AM (been there, done that).
Both Gripe Water and the Gas Drops are used by parents for baby gas issues but it really depends on your baby’s reaction to either to see which one would work best.
Babies are all different so one might work better than the other.
As a rule of thumb, though, Gas Drops are usually given primarily for ￼gas relief.
If you notice your baby is grunting, burping or farting a lot, you can use the drops to help relieve some of that discomfort.
Now Gripe Water is used to relieve not only gas discomfort but hiccups as well.
If your baby is crying, drawing up their legs and arching their back then you want to opt for the Gripe Water instead.
Just make sure to brush it across your pediatrician to make sure that there aren’t any allergy concerns first!￼
And before I move onto the next tip, if your baby is having really bad colic or reflux, you could also try giving them probiotic drops.
They could help with your little one’s digestive issues, just also consult with your pediatrician beforehand.
Related Post: DIY Portable Medicine Kit Using a Makeup Bag
6. Avoid Dairy If You’re Breastfeeding!
Now, this is not exactly a tip for baby care, but it is a tip that will make caring for your newborn a whole lot easier!
If you’re breastfeeding, you have probably been given or have heard of a list of foods you shouldn’t eat because they could give your baby gas.
These include foods like tomatoes (acidic; can cause gas and diaper rash), citrus (acidic; can cause gas, allergic reaction, and/or diaper rash), broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (gassy veggies), and even chocolate (constipation) (1).
Every baby is different, so what makes one gassy and colicky might not affect another, however, one food category that causes the most problems across the board is dairy.
Against popular belief, it isn’t the lactose that upsets babies’ stomachs, it’s the milk proteins (2).
Your baby might not have any dairy sensitivities, but just to play it safe I’d recommend steering clear of all dairy products for at least the first few weeks.
I made the mistake of not taking any dietary precautions and my happy sleeper became a grumpy fart (pun intended; still love my little guy) literally overnight.
No more dairy for a good while in our house!
You can slowly introduce them into your diet when you would like and then check if your baby shows signs of any discomfort to deduce if they have any dairy sensitivity.
Beware, it can take up to 3 weeks for milk proteins to exit your body, so you might want to wait at least to 2 to 3 weeks before making any conclusions (2).
7. Stick to Zip Up Pajamas for the First Few Weeks
You will be changing your newborn a lot in the first few weeks.
From blow-outs to reflux, they will be in and out of diapers and outfits so save yourself the hassle and stick to zip-up pajamas.
Button-up pajamas are ok but they still are a hassle compared to the easy zipper ones.
Apart from being easier to manage during diaper changes, they also do a great job of keeping your little guy warm.
I mentioned it earlier, newborns love the warmth.
Diaper changes upset babies mostly because of how uncomfortably cold they can get throughout.
So, if you have a quicker way of getting your baby in and out of a diaper, you’ll avoid unnecessary tears!
8. Give the Diaper Wipes Warmer a Try
While we’re on the topic of happier diaper changes, you might want to reconsider a tip you might have read about or have been given.
I have seen a lot of blog posts listing baby registry regrets (I too admit to having given the recommendation) that the wipe warmer is a big fat waste of money.
Well, I’m here coming from experience with baby number two and I admit that although my baby girl didn’t need the wipe warmer, my baby boy does.
Babies are sooo different!
My little guy is terribly afraid of the cold (I feel I’ve emphasized that point a lot, but that is so common with newborns so beware!).
The first time we touched his little bum with the wet wipes he jerked and then peed everywhere.. and then cried until he was wrapped up again.
Pulling out our still-boxed wipes warmer, I finally felt that my money wasn’t wasted.
Since then we have been using the warmer without any diaper changing issues.
So, don’t brush aside the diaper wipes warmer as an unnecessary baby registry buy, you might actually need it!
9. Get the Baby Tracker App
You will need to keep track of a lot once your baby is born.
Diaper changes: when and if they’re wet or dirty.
Nursing sessions: when, how long, and which side.
Pumping sessions: when, how long, which side, and how many ounces.
Bottle feeding sessions: when and how much ounces.
Sleep: when and how long.
You could either track all of this using the old pencil and paper that your nurse will hand you post-partum.
Or, you can use an app and updates everything with the tap of your finger!
There are many apps out there, but the one that I found super easy to use is the “Baby Tracker”.
It also has the option of tracking miscellaneous things like milestones, growth, and medications.
And, you get a chart of your baby’s activity from all of the data you input to visually see how they’re doing.
While you’re at it, get the “WonderWeeks” app as well!
WonderWeeks lets you know when your baby is likely to be going through leaps/growth spurts so that you know why your baby is all of a sudden extra fussy (it explains why too!).
Related Post: My Top 5 Useful Apps for First Time Moms
10. Use Coconut Oil for Meconium
I’ve never actually tried this neat trick since my husband changes the bulk of diapers in the first few days while I focus on breastfeeding (breaking up the responsibilities is a tip I’ll come back to).
However, many moms stand by this one as the easiest way of handling those tarry first poops!
Coconut oil (or any oil for that matter) works well in cleaning off meconium from newborn bottoms.
So instead of rubbing and irritating your little one’s bum trying to clean off the meconium, just fill up an extra perineum spray bottle with some coconut oil and spray a little on before wiping.
Your newborn’s skin is very sensitive and since you can expect to change a lot of diapers you want to ensure that you aren’t contributing to any aggravation or diaper rash (you don’t want to make your baby any more crankier!).
Diaper rashes are so common (especially with boys) and they can be difficult to get rid of!
While we’re on the topic of diaper rashes, another tip I’d like to give is to use a good butt paste with every diaper change in your newborn’s first weeks, especially if you have a boy!
After you have cleaned off your baby’s bum, wait for it to dry (you can blow on it or tap on it with the new diaper) before applying a thick slab of butt paste.
Use a baby bum brush if you want to avoid having to wash your hands multiple times (and drying out your hands; been there).
Remember, the best way to avoid dealing with diaper rashes is preventing them from happening in the first place because, like I said, they can be pretty tough to get rid of!
12. Divide Up Your Workload and Ask for Help!
If you don’t know it yet, then I want to be the first to tell you that you are not expected to take care of your baby alone.
Sure, you can do it, and I do understand that not every mother has the leisure of having the helping hands of her family at her side.
However, if you think that you have to be alone in mothering, then I want to relieve that burden and let you know that asking help from the village is not a failure at mothering.
I say this because that was my mentality with my first.
I had to do it all and if I wasn’t able to then I was inadequate at being a mother.
I would intentionally decline help and in the process, I would end up drained and overwhelmed.
It was toxic to my health and even relationships.
After having my second, I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to manage two under two all by myself.
First and foremost, caring for a newborn is already exhausting.
You’re essentially nursing and changing diapers around the clock, throughout the day and night.
Dividing up the responsibilities and asking your husband, a family member, or a friend to help out is absolutely ok and recommended, even if you have one child.
Since I would be the one breastfeeding around the clock, my husband took on the role of changing the diapers.
It helped so much and allowed me to even get in a little extra sleep!
Now caring for a toddler in addition to a newborn, that is even harder so don’t shy away from asking for help.
Toddlers also require a lot of attention, and with a newborn, that can become a complicated mess that can be a recipe for sibling jealousy and rivalry.
Having others around to play with and distract your toddler or, vice versa, having someone to watch your newborn between feeding sessions so that you could have some time with your toddler is going to be incredibly helpful, especially if you want to make a transition like this easier.
I really wanted my daughter to have an easy transition from being an only child to now being one of two.
To do that, though, would absolutely require help because breastfeeding would keep me with my newborn baby boy for the bulk of my time in those early weeks to months.
My husband would oftentimes play with our little girl when I’d be nursing, and it worked really well in keeping her mind off of things.
When he would be at work, I’d try to have someone over for at least a little during the day to help lighten the mood and help give me some time with my little girl (this did require planning out my week in advance).
I know other moms have their toddlers in daycare for a little during the day (or with a nanny) and that works well in keeping them busy and distracted.
I understand not all have that option available, but it shows that we all need some sort of help to manage the newborn phase and so whatever asking for help might look like for you, it’s totally normal and does not make you any less of a mother.
Related Post: Things Grandmothers Should Avoid Doing
13. Buy These Night Lights
Why night lights you might ask?
And why these?
Well, they’re the ones that I purchased once I realized that we desperately needed some!
What I love about them versus others that we’ve tried is that they’re light sensitive (they only turn on when it is dark enough) and they’re dimmable, so you can make them brighter or dimmer based on preference.
But enough about the lights, the reason why you will need night lights in the first place is well, no surprise but you’ll be up a lot throughout the night!
Your normal lights can be a little too bright for both your newborn and you unless they’re dimmable.
If your baby is struggling with distinguishing day/night, then you definitely won’t want to turn them on.
Night lights, on the other hand, are subtle in that they light just enough.
As an extra tip, if you do end up going with the wipe warmer purchase, pick one that also lights up!
Ours does, and it doubles up as a great night light as well.
14. Always Burp Your Baby.. Always.
I never noticed this problem with my first, but maybe that was because she “breast-snacked” instead of breastfed.
My little guy, however, gulps both milk and air when he nurses, which calls for a lot of spit-ups!
Now if you want to minimize the amount of cleaning and washing you might have to be doing, ALWAYS burp your baby.
And that means wait for the burp.
If you don’t, you risk either having your baby spit up on you or themselves or worse, choking on their spit once you put them down to sleep.
Not burping can also contribute to your baby’s gas discomfort, which also means you might have a crankier hiccuping baby as well.
So, don’t overlook this baby care tip, it really is extremely important to both the comfort and well being of your baby!
I have found that laying my baby against my shoulder and tapping the left side of his upper back (where his stomach is) to be the most effective in helping get those air bubbles out, but there are other ways to do it.
It’ll take trial and error to see which position works best with your baby.
Related Post: 14 Essential Breastfeeding Tips for the First 14 Days
15. Don’t Change Diapers Right After a Feeding! Wait for a Little..
Ok, as a heads up newborn tip, don’t change your baby’s diaper right after a feeding
For one, a feeding session gets that still-developing digestive system moving, so everything that you just put in is displacing what was already there.
I mean their stomach is pretty small for at least the first month!
That means that you will be having bowel movements immediately following a feeding.
So unless you want to go through 3 diapers, 20 wet wipes, 2 changes of onesies, and don’t want to wipe poo off of your floors and walls (and no I’m not over exaggerating.. it has happened to us) then wait!
The other reason why you should wait for a little is that laying your baby down and then also pressing on your baby’s tummy immediately after feeding will cause your baby to spit up some of what they just ate, plus some stomach acid.
So, actually, another way to avoid baby spit-up is to wait for at least fifteen to thirty minutes before laying your baby down (I mean that’s understandable since you have to wait an hour after eating if you want to avoid reflux and heartburn during pregnancy), any sudden movements after will cause reflux (3).
That is both messy and super uncomfortable for your newborn and is easily avoidable if you just wait.
You still want to change their diaper after that fifteen to thirty minutes in order to avoid a diaper rash!
I know, newborns are sensitive!
Related Post: 9 Mom Essentials for Easier Clean Up of Baby Messes
16. Distinguish Day & Night
Your newborn will most likely not be able to tell the difference between day and night.
You will know this the first time they look at you wide-eyed at 2 AM and then refuse to fall asleep for the next 2-3 hours.
Ok, it might not exactly be that in your case, but you will, most likely, get the feeling that they sleep way better during the day than during the night.
Like at times my little guy would nurse, sleep, poo, and repeat during the day, but come evening, all he would do is nurse and catnap or flat out refuse sleep for an hour or more.
It is normal for newborns to get the two mixed up, so that is why you want to make sure you help them by distinguishing the two.
By that I do not mean keep your newborn awake during the day, expecting them to then sleep more at night.
It does not work that way, and I actually learned the hard way with that one.
All you will get by doing that is an overtired baby that will be difficult to calm down, let alone put to bed.
Instead, let your baby sleep when they want to, just make sure to let them know its daylight when they are awake.
Change their diaper in a room with sunlight, talk in a happy tone and smile at them when they’re up, and just get out of the house early on in the day.
As it starts to approach evening hours, slow things down and start dimming the lights.
Try to be as quiet as you can (I mean in your tone; you still want some white noise) or that is possible, especially if you have other kiddos, and try to refrain from smiling or even making eye contact with them.
Also, avoid going out late if possible.
Be consistent and they should be adjusted to the new schedule in no time!
Another important sleep tip; help them sleep during the day.
Notice that all of those daytime indicators are meant for when your baby is not sleeping during the day.
If they are taking a daytime nap, you should also try to use white noise and dark areas.
Driving in a car is great white noise or even a noisy playground, so don’t think you need to only be locked away inside while they sleep.
Just hide them from the light until they’re up, and refrain from moving them around a lot while they sleep.
Having portable blackout shades is also a neat thing to have if you need to get a room as dark as possible!
And if you need an easy portable white noise machine, look no further than your phone.
There are lots of great free white noise apps (I’ll mention the one that I use later) literally a click away!
17. Use the Onesie Flaps When Changing Blowouts!
Expect a lot of blow-outs from your baby.
No surprises since they will be on a fluid-only diet for some time.
With that said, changing a newborn out of a onesie (you don’t have this problem with zip up and button up pajamas) after a blow out can be both tricky and messy, that is unless you know this neat hack!
Instead of trying to take your baby’s onesie off from the bottom up, use the top flaps, which are specifically designed for the purpose, and take it off from the top down.
Just fold the flaps down over the shoulders and down the arms and then legs until it is completely off.
It’s off just like that and you don’t have to deal with getting any of that runny poo on your baby’s sweet head!
Related Post: 9 Mom Essentials for Easier Clean Up of Baby Messes
18. Invest in a Good Carrier
Your newborn’s favorite spot is in your arms.
Although you might be able to get them down in a sleeper (both of ours love the Dock A Tot) or a bouncer (we discovered the BabyBjörn Bouncer with our second and it’s also amazing!), there will be times that nothing else will do but your arms.
So unless you want to be stuck holding your baby all day, I would recommend investing in a good carrier.
A carrier gives you the freedom to get things done while giving your baby what they want, to be held.
Now there are many on the market, and with my first, I opted for the most expensive carrier on the market, the Ergo Carrier, because that’s what first-time moms like me do.
I loved it because of how sturdy and versatile it is.
I was always worried about the security of carriers which is what made this one so appealing.
It’s also easy to use, no wrapping necessary, just fastening and snapping in and you’re ready to go (the one I purchased also doesn’t need a newborn insert so you can use it immediately on your baby).
With my second, I wanted to give the wraps a chance.
I went with the K’tan and I sadly had to return it because it wasn’t my baby’s favorite.
However, newborns are all different so maybe your little one might like it.
Wraps are softer which is what makes them so popular and they’re also snugger (and they’re cheaper!).
If you’re gonna go with the K’tan, just make sure you get a size up because you might underestimate your size postpartum.
The Boba Wrap is also another popular carrier.
The difference between it and the K’tan is that the Boba is literally all a wrap which means that you’ll have to wrap it around your body in specific ways and secure it with knots, while the K’tan is a 1-piece (2 wraps connected) that you sort of wear like a shirt.
So it’s totally up to preference, but the feel is very similar.
19. Swaddle the Quicker Way
Swaddling newborns can be tricky and time-consuming since ￼they always seem to find a way out!
Then there’s the fact that many babies hate the idea of being swaddled (initially) so why would you even want to swaddle them in the first place?
Well, swaddling mimics how your baby was in the womb which is how it helps newborns sleep better.
And if newborn sleep is something that you are really interested in improving then you could check out this awesome book by Dr. Harvey Karp called “The Happiest Baby On The Block”.
It goes over the 5 S’s that help soothe babies to sleep, the first of which is swaddling (4).
He’s also the one that came up with the hyped-up SNOO Sleeper that parent with babies that were terrible sleepers now swear by saying it gave them back their sleep, so definitely worth checking out (and the book is wayyyyy cheaper!).
So in reality, even if your baby hates the swaddle at first, it will help them sleep better once they ease into it, especially once it’s combined with the other S’s!
I will add that a reason why swaddling might be hated by your baby could be due to gas (at least that’s how it was in my case), so you should consider first tackling that (gas drops and bicycle kicks) before moving onto the swaddling.
Now back to the quicker way to swaddle!
They’re so much easier and quicker to put on and they are usually baby-proof (well the zipper one for sure is!), which means you won’t be fighting your newborn into it every 30 minutes!
So your newborn is fast asleep sooner and you finally get some shut-eye, hopefully!
20. Use ￼White Noise
Whoever told you that babies sleep better in the quiet never accounted for the fact that the womb is a pretty loud place.
According to Dr. Harvey Karp, the sound of your heart pumping and your blood whooshing through your blood vessels in the womb is louder than a vacuum cleaner outside of it (4)!
So babies are used to and prefer noise, but not all noise is effective because not all white noise resembles the womb.
Sounds that work well are those similar to things like vacuum cleaners, AC units, hairdryers, air purifiers (the “noisy” ones), and wind & rain sounds.
Anything along those lines I have heard has worked, so experiment and see which your baby prefers.
If you don’t want your electricity bill to go up for some extra sleep, then I’d suggest you get an app that conveniently has these same sounds conveniently playing from your phone.
I use the “White Noise” iPhone app and the free version has been enough for us, but there are others out there.
Related Post: My Top 5 Useful Apps for First Time Moms
21. Forget About the Chores
You have probably heard this tip from other moms as it’s kind of passed down in circles just like the “sleep when baby sleeps” tip.
But the reason why it’s said is so that new moms don’t feel overwhelmed thinking that they have to do everything even with their newborn.
You don’t, momma.
And real moms won’t judge you.
In fact, they’ll offer to help out when you’re ready to get back to things, or they’ll just offer to help out just like that.
For the first few weeks, your primary priorities are caring for your newborn and yourself, everything else can wait.
I mean you will feel overwhelmed as it is.
One chore, though, that might be unavoidable is the laundry.
That will need to be done because your little one will go through clothes fast if they have blow-outs and/or reflux.
Now if keeping clean is a must for you, then you can totally go for it.
I know I get stressed out if it’s dirty, so I opt for recruiting helpers (yes ask for a family member’s or a close friend’s help!) in order to get things done.
I also try to clean a little here and there as I go, having a cordless vacuum is HUGE help!
However, if you find yourself struggling with this area (like I know I wouldn’t be able to clean all by myself with a newborn and a toddler), then don’t worry about it.
It’s seriously ok.
The same goes for cooking!
Takeout or frozen meals is literally what all the moms I know eat postpartum unless someone is bringing them meals home (ask for help with this too!).
Related Post: Mom Hack: Surviving the Newborn Phase
22. Don’t Overlook the Pacifier
The pacifier is seriously your best friend, momma.
Yes, especially you breastfeeding, momma!
It’s no secret that pacifiers can help babies sleep better!
However, if you use it sparingly, I mean once you know your baby is well-fed and you know they’re only nursing for comfort (or they’re trying to but milk keeps flowing out so they’re upset about that.. yup), then the pacifier is exactly what you and your baby need.
And because no one is getting any sleep until baby suckles (which is one of Dr. Harvey Karp’s S’s!).
The reason why I put this as a tip (I understand many of you are already using or planning on using a pacifier) is that a lot of the time pacifiers are given a bad rep, especially with breastfeeding moms.
￼And a lot of the time moms may not even realize that what their breastfed baby needs in order to fall asleep isn’t the boob (of course you need to be aware of your baby’s cues) but a pacifier (something to suck on without getting milk in return).
If your baby is gaining weight well, has the right number of wet and dirty diapers, and has been otherwise given the boob every time they have appeared hungry and now all of a sudden they look as if they want to suck but spit out the milk, try the pacifier.
It can be a tricky topic since it’s recommended to wait at least 4 to 6 weeks before introducing a pacifier, so use your own intuition.
I, personally, offered one (the MAMs one was the only one mine took) to both my babies from the very beginning, sparingly of course, but it wasn’t until I had my second that I realized how much extra sleep (and peace of mind; pacifiers reduce the incidence of SIDS) it really gave to both my baby and me.
My little guy wouldn’t take a pacifier, and knowing that babies can reject the bottle nipple if they aren’t introduced to it by 8 weeks (yes you read that right, so don’t overlook that either!), I was starting to worry about him ever taking a pacifier.
Thankfully with a lot of tug-n-suck practice, he finally took to it, and then we started to get a little more sleep and were able to go out a little more.
So, remember, even if you prefer to wait, you do want to make sure your baby takes a pacifier since it will make things a lot easier and safer, but just don’t wait too long as they might never take to them!
23. The Best Time for a Newborn Photoshoot is When Your Newborn is 4-12 Days Old￼.
This tip comes from our newborn photographer, however, I wish I knew sooner!
Which is why I’m letting you know if you, otherwise, didn’t.
Once newborn babies reach 2 weeks of age, they sleep less and sometimes even get a little crankier.
For the best newborn photos, you want your little one sleeping the entire time.
It’ll be less stressful all around and you’ll get the best shots that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.
So if you do want to get those photos done, plan for no later than 12 days (the earlier, the better!).
24. Get Out of the House!
Both exhaustion and the lack of sunlight contribute to postpartum depression (5).
So on top of trying to get as much rest (and help) as you can get, try to get outside as much as possible.
Sunlight and fresh air are good for both you and your baby, just keep your little one out of direct sunlight as their skin is still very thin and sensitive.
Getting out of the house will also help you start working back toward a routine as you adapt to your new life.
Having a new baby, no matter if it’s your first or second, can bring shockwaves to your life because it is still a huge change.
The sooner you get into a routine, the sooner things will feel “normal” again, or in other words, not all out of control!
25. Always Have an Extra Outfit On Hand!
When you do go out with your baby, make sure to have an extra newborn outfit (or two).
Blowouts always happen at the worst possible times and things always seem to go wrong during diaper changes when you’re out and about.
Once the need arises (and trust me it will), you will be so thankful you had the extra baby clothes on hand!
And while you’re at it, grab some extra clothes for yourself as well, especially if your baby is a spitter.
Milk stains aren’t the easiest to cover up!
I have also found it SUPER helpful to have stain remover pens on hand.
Related Post: 9 Mom Essentials for Easier Clean Up of Baby Messes
26. Take Advantage of Technology
I’d love to say that you will be able to go out whenever you like in those early days with your newborn, but then I’d be lying.
I’ll be honest, there have been days where I don’t even get the chance to step foot outside until the sun is already down because I’m cluster feeding my newborn all day and trying to keep up with my toddler’s schedule.
With that said, things like shopping still need to get done, and thank God for technology, they can!
While caring for my newborn, I have tried a number of super helpful services that have helped me keep up without having to step foot outside of my house.
First and foremost, Amazon Prime (try your first 30 days FREE) is my #1 shopping site.
Knowing that I’ll get everything I need to be delivered on sometimes the Same Day has been a lifesaver!!
I have also loved using Grove (once ready to clean) because they deliver baby safe and eco-friendly cleaning supplies right to my door every month.
They give you a cool welcome kit and give you the chance to try their service first month free of charge.
I also discovered Dyper from another mom blogger raving about how these were the BEST diapers ever because of how safe and eco-friendly they were (safe enough to compost!).
They also give you a discount on your first order and deliver the diapers you need when you need them.
Grocery and take-out delivery services are huge during this time frame as well, so don’t feel overwhelmed, take advantage of the day and age you live in!
Related Post: Mom Hack: Surviving the Newborn Phase
27. Use a Humidifier
Babies primarily prefer breathing through their noses.￼
Which can complicate things even more (as if newborns weren’t already complicated).
Dry air causes mucus to stiffen which can stuff up your baby’s nose making it tougher for them to breathe.
A baby that has difficulty breathing is a parent’s worst nightmare.
Using a humidifier resolves this issue quick!
Humidifiers release moisture into the air which instead helps your newborn breathe better.
No cries or fusses over something that could be easily fixed!
Related Post: Natural Remedies for Surviving Your Baby’s Flu/Cold
28. When All Else Fails, Try The Hold
Sometimes calming a crying baby can be trickier than just swaddling and shushing.
Sometimes your newborn will get so worked up, nothing seems to calm them down.
That’s where this neat trick comes in.
Dr. Robert Hamilton uses this technique on his teeny patients and it works instantly at calming fussy babies.
Check out the viral video below to see just how it works!
29. Try Bathing Before Bed
If your newborn has a tough time winding down before bedtime, try giving them a bath (once their umbilical cord falls off) in order to establish a routine.
Newborns can easily get overstimulated and overtired if you miss the right cues and take too long to start prepping for bedtime.
The best way to get bedtime down is to first start immediately when your baby starts showing signs of being tired and second to stick to a routine.
Now an awesome way to get a newborn into a bedtime routine is by giving them a nice warm bath.
You have to keep in mind that newborns also hate the cold, so if you don’t prep for and execute bath time well you’ll end up making things a lot more stressful.
I wrote an entire post with hacks and tips on how you can give your newborn a bath easily and without all the tears.
You could check it out here.
Oh, and once you give your baby a bath, don’t forget to finish off with a nice comfortable and soothing massage!
I mean who wouldn’t sleep through the night after being pampered like that (my baby, haha.. oh man I sure love the newborn phase.. but in all seriousness, it does help them wind down for sure)?!
Related Post: 15 Mom Hacks and Tips for Bath Time
30. Learn What Your Baby Likes and Stick with It
My final tip is very broad but so true because no baby is the same and so I encourage you to be a learning machine because that’s what it’ll take to thrive through the newborn stage.
And I’ll add that most of the things that do work you’ll discover by chance.
Someone will do something accidentally and your baby will react and you’ll have that “AHA” moment!
In my case, I accidentally discovered that my newborn is fascinated by ceiling night lights and so I use those to sometimes calm him down.
I read all the time about moms discovering that their newborn reacts well to certain sounds versus others.
Maybe your newborn likes the feel of a certain swaddle and hates the others.
Maybe they like to be held a specific way, like horizontally at a 45-degree angle.
Or maybe they don’t like to be held at all when they’re drifting off to sleep.
You’ll figure it out, just make sure you’re paying attention!
Ans if sleep is something your baby absolutely struggles to get on their own, in other words they only sleep in your arms (which is both exhausting and dangerous), then talk to your pediatrician about co-sleeping.
I know its a controversial topic, so I won’t delve too much into it.
However, in our case, using a co-sleeper (either one that attaches to the bed or a lounger) was the only way to get some sleep in those early months as we were exhausted (and the SNOO was just too expensive for us at the time.. but looking back, we could’ve so rented it!).
All in all, do what’s best and safest for your family!
I hope these tips make things a little easier.
I’ll admit, the newborn phase is TOUGH.
And it’s even more brutal with two under two.
Every day is so different, and just when you think you’ve got it down, they change on you again!
Bedtime is chaotic and it seems like getting a schedule down is a lost cause.
But remember, it’s all temporary.
By 3 months, you will have what will seem like a whole new baby.
So, try to savor these moments with your teeny one.
I know it’s tough to cherish this time since you’re so exhausted, but take as many pictures as you possibly can and love on that baby every second you can because once they’re older they’ll want their space.
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Until next time mommas!