I cannot believe that our Little Guy has been with us for a week already! It has been a whirlwind since he was born. Since he is jaundice, we’ve been making daily trips to the lab to check his bilirubin levels. Thankfully the last test showed his levels coming down, so hopefully we’ll be done with daily doctor trips!
This is the 7th newborn phase I’ve gone through and you’d think I’d have some great advice to share— but I don’t. As I think back to my other children’s first days, I realize that each one of them was different. Each newborn phase depended on various variables such as my delivery recovery, how well nursing was going, the ages of my other children at home, and my help support. I’ve bounced back great after several of my children’s births, and struggled for months with others. Thankfully with Little Guy’s delivery, things went very well and physically, I’m doing great. So I feel like I am able to tackle a few things and start working on our new normal. For this newborn phase I have three priorities:
3. Building Routines
All the motherhood advice books say to sleep when your baby is sleeping. I could never figure out how to do that if I also have to take care of other kids. If you are a mom with other young kids, it is hard to find time to rest during your day. I find that having quiet time at some point in the day is a necessity. Even if I can’t sleep, I can take time to regroup. If your younger kids nap, try to squeeze in a nap with them. I have been know to resort to DVD’s too. We all pile on the couch and “watch” a movie (they watch, I sleep.) If you have help, try to take a nap when help is around. Right now I take a nap after dinner when dad is home from work. That way I can handle all the night-time feedings. I have learned that if I feel rested (yes I know that sounds impossible with a newborn) I handle everything much better. I am calmer, less emotional, and have a better grip on things.
You would think that by the 7th kid I would have nursing down to a science. I don’t. In fact, nursing does not come easily for me! It takes a lot of work, stress, and tears. I tend to struggle with correct latching and/or thrush. With my little guy’s delivery, I was given one round of antibiotics due to Group B Strep. So now I have my nursing arsenal to try to build back my gut flora and my little guy’s gut flora, and hopefully head off any thrush infections. I am taking probiotics, eating yogurt, and drinking kefir. I also take grapefruit seed extract, Vit. D, and use essential oils to help calm myself before nursing.
Since I do have other children, I find that in order to cut down the chaos, I need to start building new routines right away. Right now I’m focusing on bedtime and morning routines. With the holidays falling around my due date, we kind of let things slide. We took a much needed break. Now I need things to be a little more structured. I need the kids to be in bed at a certain time. I need them to know what they need to tackle when they wake up in the morning. So we have established a new house blessing chart (aka chores) and bedtime routines.
Since we also homeschool, we are also starting back with some school. My older kids have independent work and my younger kids will be working on a few things too. I keep it easy for me though. Most of the schoolwork can be taught with me sitting on the couch nursing or with the help of an older child. We will only do 1-2 subjects a day for awhile. My older kids will use this time to pursue electives and interest-driven studies along with a couple core classes that don’t require much assistance from me.
Take Time to Enjoy the Newborn Phase:
This time passes quickly! It really does. I want to soak in those sweet newborn baby moments– like how he holds my hand when he nurses, or how he scrunches up his little body in the crook of my arm. At night when he’s up, I want to enjoy the one-on-one time by praying over him. I’m not going to feel guilty about staying in my pj’s for most (or all) day (umm, I can’t say that ever made me feel guilty–lol!) I plan on taking it easy and slowly over the next few weeks.