Friday, July 24, 2015

5 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Days and a Formula for Happiness™

Snug as a Bug

My babies are quickly growing. In fact, *sniff* I fear my babies are no longer babies and are now a toddler and a preschooler. This doesn't mean the baby years are behind me though. So many of my friends are still having babies and I'm always the first to dive in to help them. Need a meal? I'm at your doorstep! Want me to hold your baby so you can shower? Let me sniff that fresh baby head! Need me to take your preschooler so you can bond with your newborn? Bring them over!

Smiling Maggie

All these newborns have me reflecting on my family's newborn days. When Molly was born, I had just gone through four days of labor and a c-section so I was exhausted. I also struggled to breastfeed and was on a rigorous program to get my boobs on board. Maggie's birth was fast and surprising but I was still exhausted. Maggie struggled to breastfeed so I was once again on a rigorous program to get her to breastfeed and eventually went to exclusively pumping. In the end, I did supplement with formula with both of my girls. I am so thankful that I was able to combo feed them even though those first days were hard. Once we got over the feeding hump and settled into a routine, then came sleep issues. Both girls were awesome sleepers for newborns but then the 4 month sleep regression hit. Oh boy! We still struggle with some sleep problems but they feel way more minor now.

Walking with Molly Pop

With all this reflecting, I wanted to share my newborn Formula for Happiness™, sponsored by Gerber® Good Start® Gentle.

1. Start a routine as soon as possible. It might be as simple as waking up at the same time every day, changing your yoga pants and nursing tank into a new pair of yoga pants and nursing tank before heading to the couch for a nap. Slowly build on your routine. It will help when you are so sleep deprived that you simply can not think.

2. Elicit help! Ask family and friends to bring you meals, run errands for you or even just visit for adult conversation. Ask the experts for help! When I was having breast feeding issues, I visited the lactation consultant daily for awhile. I was excited to learn that Gerber Good Start is now offering free appointments with their new certified baby sleep consultants, with their nutritionists or certified lactation consultants.  I would have made use of all of these free services on a daily basis. Make a free appointment at here.

3. Go Outside Once I felt like I had a handle on the feeding thing with Molly, I made an effort to go for a walk every day. Just getting out and roaming around my neighborhood made a huge difference in my mood. Molly usually slept in the baby carrier and I'd slowly amble around. With Maggie, I had a rambunctious toddler to entertain so I was outside everyday even if I wasn't quite ready for it. I still feel that daily outside time is a lifesaver for my mood and the kid's moods.

4. Slow Down The world moves fast and it doesn't slow down for anyone but I really feel like having a newborn is the time to slow it down. Don't try to tackle that to do list. Let it languish. If the dishes don't get done for a few days, don't worry (try to follow tip #2 and ask family to do them). Just slow down. You'll actually find yourself enjoying the moment more, no matter how trite that sounds.

5. Involve Dad! Scott has been such an involved parent from the very first moment Molly arrived in our lives. He helped me through those early days by changing all the diapers, mixing up bottles and making me take naps (I am terrible at taking naps!). He's been a lifesaver for those middle of the night wake-ups when I just didn't have it in me to handle another wake-up. Even with all this help, Molly and him still had a harder time bonding in the beginning. Since Molly spent so much time with me during the day, she wasn't so easily swayed to hang out with Daddy. I knew I had to nip this problem in the bud or I was never going to get any alone time so every night when Scott came home, he took Molly for 30 minutes while I headed down to the basement with headphones. I'd blast the music while checking email, writing blog posts and eventually exercising. In turn, Scott and Molly learned how to be with each other. They are now thick as thieves and often get up to trouble together.

3 Month Maggie Smile

What are your tips for surviving those newborn days? What helped you or is helping you make it through the sleepless nights and hunger-filled days?

I'll be posting some of our favorite throw-back moments of newborn happiness over on Instagram in the coming weeks and I'd love to see your family's formula for happiness. Tag your photos with #formulaforhappiness to share.

Gerber® Good Start® Gentle
Gerber® Good Start® Gentle believes that the Formula for Happiness™ can be a lot of things, and moms have different ways of enjoying the journey through motherhood. 

Certified Sleep Consultant
Good sleep–for your baby and your family—is an essential component of that journey. That journey isn’t always perfect, but getting support every step of the way helps.  That is why Gerber® Good Start® Gentle is happy to introduce a Certified Sleep Consultant for your little one’s needs.  

This service is brought to you by Gerber® Good Start® Gentle.

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