Life with a newborn can be one of the most exciting and stressful times in a parent’s life. Here are some tips from real moms who have been there.
Picture this: your newborn baby cries to be fed in the middle of the night.
After you’ve picked them up, changed their diaper (and probably their clothes), fed them, and finally get them back to sleep, you look up at the clock and realize the whole process has taken so long, and you’ll probably be waking up again in an hour.
You love your baby, but you are exhausted.
You’d do anything to just sleep even a minute longer.
Life with a newborn in the house is one of the most stressful times in a parent’s life.
Especially if it is your first baby, you have no frame of reference for how stressed and exhausted you will become.
It’s normal to feel this way, and it doesn’t mean that you love your little one any less.
Well-meaning comments from friends and relatives with older children don’t help.
“This time goes by so quickly, someday you’ll miss it, enjoy every moment.”
All you can think about is how tired you are.
Here are the ways in which having a new baby will completely change your life and some tips for getting used to your new normal.
In this article: 📝
- What’s life like with a newborn?
- Tips for life with a newborn from real moms
- What is the hardest week with a newborn?
- How do you live a normal life with a newborn?
- What is life like for a newborn?
- How long does it take to adjust to life with a newborn?
What’s life like with a newborn?
So what can you expect when you’re taking your baby home for the first time?
Well, here’s the honest truth from our Peanut mamas:
Lack of sleep
Many women don’t sleep well during the last stages of pregnancy, so they are already tired before the new baby comes.
Getting help at night is key to surviving this period.
One way in which you can get help from your partner at night is to ask them to diaper and change the baby while you feed and soothe them back to sleep.
This system will help make nighttime baby care a little more balanced.
A constant routine
Many new moms are surprised by how quickly their lives fall into a constantly repeating routine.
There isn’t much variety in baby care, and not having very much adult interaction can wear on you after a while.
Taking care of a new baby can feel like an endless loop, but you should know that your baby is thriving because you are being so attentive to their needs.
As your baby gets a little older and has more of an ability to interact with you, you will feel more appreciated.
Learning your baby’s personality
Before your little one was born, you probably had a vision of your ideal baby.
When you finally met them, you quickly began to realize that babies all have their own personalities.
Not all babies will behave “by the book”.
You may have a baby who cries more often than they are “supposed” to.
You may have a baby with stomach pain or gas who can’t settle down because they are hurting.
You may have a baby who is a great eater but has difficulty getting to sleep, and you may have a baby who sleeps without difficulties but has feeding problems of some kind.
Sometimes you have to learn to let go of your vision of an “ideal” baby and get to know the one you have.
Don’t compare your baby to others, especially if you have friends or family with children close to the same age.
Learn to appreciate what makes your baby different without resenting the extra work that your baby may cause.
This may be easier said than done, and it can be a long process.
Balancing baby with older children
If you already have an older child at home, you may be more prepared for the level of exhaustion you will experience when you have a newborn baby.
You survived your first baby’s infancy, so you have a good feeling about making it through this baby’s early months.
At the same time, caring for a newborn with a toddler or preschooler in the house is a stressful situation on its own.
Tips for life with a newborn from real moms
Here are five tips for dealing with the unique level of stress and exhaustion that accompanies life with a newborn.
Using a combination of these tips will help you get through these early weeks with a better sense of balance, and will help you refresh yourself so that you can focus on your sweet little one.
1. Take time out for yourself
One of the most important things you can do to cope with newborn stress is to take time for yourself.
It’s okay to take breaks from taking care of your baby.
If you don’t take breaks, you will be setting yourself up for a crash.
If you’re so frustrated with your baby that you can’t think straight, it is okay to put the baby in a safe place like their crib and take a few minutes to collect yourself.
The important thing is that your baby is safe.
2. Look out for the little things
You may be exhausted in the short term, but having a newborn baby in the house doesn’t last forever.
Every week, you will notice changes in your little one.
They may sleep longer or eat better, which is great news!
3. Rest when baby rests
Some moms may feel that this is poor advice since they feel the need to rush around the house and get things done while their little ones are sleeping, but it really is beneficial to use their naptimes (as short as they may be) to put your feet up and relax.
This is a great time to get a magazine to flip through mindlessly (it’s understandable that you won’t have the attention span to read a book) and have a nice cup of tea.
4. Build your village
Especially today when the possibilities of in-person interactions with people outside your household are slim, it is even more important to make friends online.
Not to toot our own horn, but an app like Peanut can be invaluable to meet friends with children the same age as yours.
These friendships will help you understand that what you are going through is normal.
If you take care of these friendships, they could even last until your children are in their teens, sharing all of their milestones along the way.
5. Know the signs of postpartum depression
While it’s normal to feel stressed and exhausted when you have a newborn baby, postpartum depression takes it to a new level.
You should watch yourself closely for the signs of postpartum depression, and let your partner read up on the condition as well so that they will be able to help you spot any trouble signs.
Most new moms experience the “baby blues”, which are a result of changing hormone levels after birth.
Mood swings, anxiety, crying spells, and difficulty sleeping are common.
If these symptoms go beyond mild discomfort or last for more than 2 weeks, this is the time when you need to see your doctor right away.
If anxiety, sadness, irritability, reduced concentration, and feeling overwhelmed are getting in the way of caring for your baby or affecting your other relationships, you may have postpartum depression.
If postpartum depression goes untreated, it can rob some of the joy that you feel when taking care of your newborn baby.
It can also keep you from bonding with them right away.
Fortunately, just because you had postpartum depression doesn’t mean that your relationship with your baby will suffer.
As soon as you are feeling better, you will be able to appreciate the joy of having a new little one at home, and it will be much easier to bond with them.
What is the hardest week with a newborn?
There isn’t really an answer here as all parents have different journeys with their newborn babies.
But, according to our Peanut mamas, the most challenging time during life with a newborn is the first three weeks.
You’re getting used to baby ‒ even if you already have children, each one is different ‒ and baby’s getting used to the world.
It’s a challenging time for any parent, so if you’re worried that you’re not being a ‘good mom’, relax, mama, you’re doing great.
Does life with a newborn get easier?
Many new moms ask this question, so you’re definitely not alone.
So we asked our Peanut mamas with babies over a year old, and they came back with a resounding yes, it does get easier.
Usually, by about month 2 or 3, you’ll have both settled into a routine, and you’ll be able to anticipate baby’s needs and translate those adorable gurgles.
How do you live a normal life with a newborn?
Having a baby is a life-changing experience ‒ there’s no denying that.
So returning back to your pre-baby life isn’t really in the cards right now.
Instead, you’ll have an exciting new opportunity to live a different life with your newborn.
But, of course, you can still do many of the things you did before baby arrived, like hanging out with your friends, going out for meals, or even going to the gym (although you need to give yourself time to recover, mama).
What is life like for a newborn?
So what’s newborn life like for your baby?
Well, every experience is totally new, from seeing different colors to hearing different sounds, and feeling different textures.
But most of their early life is all about sleep.
They’ll be doing a lot of growing over the next year, so sleep is easily their favorite hobby.
How long does it take to adjust to life with a newborn?
Having a new baby is a wonderful time, but it is normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
As the weeks go by, you will find that some of the things you struggled with the most when your baby first came home aren’t so difficult anymore.
Know you can rely on your village for help when you are having difficulties.
Still looking for your people? We know you’ll find them among our community of mamas on Peanut.