Enjoying Newborn Parenting

newborn yawn

Most parents-to-be dream of holding their newborn baby and looking after them – and most new parents find themselves more exhausted than they ever thought possible! I’ve learned the hard way that, if I’m not careful, those precious early weeks fly by in a sleep-deprived blur, so this time round I’ve worked hard to make the most of the fleeting newborn stage. I’m still a little shocked that Anna is already six weeks old, but I feel like I’m enjoying every step of the way. Here’s what’s working for me:

  • Let people help. I’ve been very lucky this time round – I had family helping before Anna showed up, family around for the first few days after she was born, and lots of help from friends after that. I’ve accepted every single offer of help that’s come my way – and I will be forever grateful to everyone who did help out, for making these early new-baby weeks so wonderful for me and my family.
  • Scale back activities. I worked hard to simplify life before Anna showed up, and I’m looking to simplify even more. There’s no point filling days with extras when you’re too busy to enjoy the basics. 
  • Hold your baby. I use my Moby-style knit wrap, and a Mei Tai style carrier to carry Anna during the day when I need to get things done. I’ll switch her into the ERGO carrier when she gets older. I also try to spend at least a few minutes each day *just* holding her – without trying to do anything else.
  • Go outside. This makes all the difference for me, and it’s a huge piece of my walking six-year-old Emma to school every day. It’s also the reason I’m willing to invest in high quality baby carriers and strollers – they make leaving the house much easier!
  • Pay attention to nutrition. I try to keep healthy snacks on hand (fruits and veggies), since otherwise I find myself eating chocolate chips instead of lunch… I’m also a big believer in the benefits of prenatal vitamins after having a baby as well as before, and I feel like I have more energy and think more clearly on vitamins with DHA than on those without DHA.
  • Get creative with colicky babies. Emma screamed for several hours each evening as a newborn. Taking her outside often helped, but it wasn’t realistic to keep her out for hours on end in the middle of a Scottish winter. We found music that also calmed her down, as did bouncing on one of those giant exercise balls!
  • Remember that it goes by quickly. Make time to notice your baby laughing in their sleep, and watch them admire their hands in the sunlight.
  • Remember how lucky you are. There are couples across the world who would give anything to be kept up all night by the world’s most colicky baby. If you must complain about being tired, be careful who you complain to.

a book full of baby play ideas that will help you enjoy parenting a baby and bond with your baby.

Comments

  1. says

    She is just so gorgeous! Wonderful photo.

    “There’s no point filling days with extras when you’re too busy to enjoy the basics.” Very well said. Things have been picking up for me, but I feel internal nudges to simply and slow down even more.

    • maryanne says

      I find it’s a constant work in progress for me – finding the balance between doing interesting things and keeping life at a healthy pace.

  2. says

    Perfect advice. I remember like it was yesterday when I had 3 little ones and now that they are 7, 9, & 11 I can’t believe those days are gone. It’s great now too, but nothing beats a big ol’ chubby baby saying “mama”.

  3. Tara Schmidl says

    AMEN to this post as I can only agress with all six (?) points!!! How true about not needing extras when you’re so busy enjoying the basics. :) Already with Quinn I tried to enjoy each moment and not already hope for the next… and it was a priceless bit of truly good advice I followed but now expecting our 5th I think these points are even more pressing as now there are loads more things competing for my attention – some vital and some only good. :)
    Thanks, Mary Anne, for sharing such precious thoughts with a bit of the world!

  4. says

    I love these tips, especially the one about nutrition. I recently developed a citrus allergy b/c I got lazy about taking my prenatal vitamins and had a vitamin deficiency that triggered the allergy because nursing really does still take a lot of nutrients. Also, here is a popular baby play post for when your little girl gets a bit older, though I know you are certainly experienced and probably have tons of ideas yourself!! http://jennifischer.blogspot.com/2012/08/simple-ideas-for-baby-play-at-home.html — Also, I still have something special to mail you.

  5. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I will be needing these soon. :) I just purchased a Moby wrap the other day – one of my must-haves before the baby arrives.

  6. says

    Love your perspective, and it seems to continue to be true with every passing day. That newborn time was so special, yet I can’t believe how many days have passed since then. I need reminders to cherish them and appreciate the time with my little guy, so thanks!

  7. says

    The biggest advice for me was asking for help. Noone, NOONE will offer to give you a break (some will say it because it sounds good), but really its up to us to ask for the help and that pic is just too precious.

    • maryanne says

      That is very true. This time I got lucky, because a good friend took it upon herself to ask people to help because she knew I wouldn’t…

  8. says

    Hey, I love the giant bouncy ball idea! Walking, enjoying the basics, and vitamins! These are great. I need to starting taking vitamins again!!!

  9. says

    This is all so true, every word, and so beautifully put. I especially love the point about it going by so fast and remembering to be grateful. That’s not always easy to do when you’re right in the middle of it all and it seems so hard, but it’s so important to stop and be thankful for all of it, sleep deprivation and all.

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