Thursday, March 19, 2015

5 Truths to Thriving with a Newborn

Our family ushered our newest member into this world at the beginning of February. Lucy Jo is our tenth addition, and is absolutely precious. She is a great baby, with typical needs. And while I wish I could tell you our life has been magazine perfect this last month, it has been textbook crazy.  I lovingly call it a time of Newbornitis. And even with the best of babies, there are days you wonder if you and your household will ever be normal again!

So, as an experienced Mom (that's code for the OLD mom), I've come up with 5 essential truths to thriving through the Newbornitis.

Truth 1:Plan expecting the unexpected.  
Babies can't read a clock, nor your handwriting. Sometimes, they need to eat every hour. Or maybe sleep longer and go five hours between feedings. They can be known to cry for no reason. Or maybe its just that they need to hear Momma's heartbeat. So when you make plans, whether for a day outing, pictures, school for the older children, or time with big siblings, hold to those plans LOOSELY. Know ahead of time, your plans will be prone to change. Be flexible so you don't break. And remember, Babies are more important than a to-do list. It will be there tomorrow. Or the next day. There's no rush.

Truth 2:Now is the time to try something new.
I can hear many of you screaming, "WHAT?!". Trust me on this one. You know all those cute crafts on Pinterest you've pinned to do with your toddler? Now is a great time to do a couple of those! That 20 minute catnap your baby is taking is the perfect amount of time to color a picture with the toddler, paint a pet rock, or blow bubbles on the front porch. I've watched YouTube with my bigs, learned new braided hairstyles, and was the guinea pig for new card trick ideas. And you don't need to do this EVERY nap, just once or twice over the course of the next few weeks. But remember Truth #1, and be ready to drop plans quickly!

Truth 3:Forget previous opinions.
For nine months, you have been planning and dreaming about life with your newborn. Friends and family have added in their thoughts and stories along the way. You have an expectation of how life is going to look, how it is going to be. But in the midst of spit up, cries, sore nipples, sleep deprived motions, and dirty diapers, you will wonder what you were thinking! I swore I'd never leave the house without socks and shoes on my baby, coordinated outfit, and matching hat donned on his precious little head. Then I had to let it go, and go with what worked. It's okay to re-evaluate your thoughts, change your position, and break your own rules. And your baby can go to the store in a onesie and blanket. You've maybe never done this before. I've had a newborn 10 times, and I STILL change how I do things. What works with one baby, doesn't always work with another! And that being said...

Truth 4:The T.V. is an OK ally.
I know. This may cost me my image. But seriously? When you haven't slept for 36 hours, only eaten the left over cold eggs your toddler refused to eat, and cannot remember your last shower? If that precious bundle finally falls asleep, set that toddler on the couch or in your bed, and put on an age appropriate movie! Trust me, it won't happen all that often. But even if it does, you aren't going to ruin your child.

Truth5:Rest really is important.
The doctor has told you to sleep when your baby sleeps. Your Mom has told you to take a nap. Your body is crying out for rest. Get some! This is probably the most important Truth, and hardest one to come by. So I'm going to let you in on the secret to getting rest. Stay home. It's really that simple. I know you want to show the world your precious blessing. You have errands to run, people to see, places to visit. But your health, both physical and mental are more important. The best thing that happened to us this go around was a sudden break out of strep throat or flu or something. Everyone but two of us didn't get sick. We slept often, played games together as a family, and spent time with each other. And after two weeks (one of sickness, one of making sure the contamination period was over), I felt wonderful! I wasn't snapping at everyone. I felt as if I could handle anything that came my way, and I was ready to face life at a little bit faster pace. People who were brave visited us at our home a couple of times during that time. And we did go to my parents' house a few times after the first week. But we were just able to unwind and adjust for a bit. And after you take your infant out for the first time, you will remember how exhausting that is! And will appreciate your need for rest.

Congratulations on your new baby.  I can't tell you how much I love new Mommas and their little ones. Be good to yourself, and give yourself all kinds of grace. And know this, I have prayed for you today! Some days you won't be sure you can make it through. Just take it from diaper to diaper. One feeding at a time. And you will see you are the BEST Momma to that baby!