I am in the thick of it over here with my 8 week old, Tucker. He is my second baby so I am getting to repeat some of the things that worked with Lucy and do differntly the things that didn’t. I feel like I have a few go-to tips that I would share with any mom and want to document those before I forget and am on to new challenges. So if you were my pregnant best friend here is what I would tell you:
ONE | Get the Moms On Call book for newborns. I didn’t follow any schedule or regimen with Lucy, but decided to try it this time with Tucker. Mainly because with a 2 year old, I couldn’t afford to be utterly exhausted like I was the first time around. Sleeping is like currency around here right now! The most useful parts of the Moms On Call book to me are the feeding tips, sleeping tips, and “typical day” routines. I started following that typical day routine with Tucker and we saw a major improvement immediatly. I am leniant on the timing and definitley don’t give him a bath everynight, but it so helpful to know the order of things. Like east, play, sleep. And, to have something to turn to for help. When he is freaking at 2:00, I can check the schedule and see what he is suposed to be doing at that time (like sleeping) and know that I need to work on getting him to sleep.
TWO | Swaddle with a Woombie! This thing has been a lifesaver both times. You might think your baby doesn’t want to be swaddeled but they really do. Once they get to sleep it keeps them from getting startled and waking themselves up. It ensures longer sleeping sessions for sure! I swaddle for naps and for night time. I swear by the Woombie specifically. It’s a no brainer in my eyes.
THREE | Use a baby carrier while grocery shopping. I use the K’Tan and the Ergobaby. This is the safest and easiest way to shop with your baby. You have to push a cart so you can’t bring the stroller and if you put the carseat in the cart, that isn’t safe (trust me). Plus, the carrier keeps them asleep longer so they don’t wake up and freak out on you.
FOUR | Lay the baby down on a flat surface often. Both of my babies loved to just lay down and play on their own. By “play” I mean kick around, move their arms, look around, and make noises. I didn’t realize this at first. I thought I always had to hold them or put them in a bouncer or swing, but my babies are happier just laying on the bed or floor.
FIVE | Put the baby in the crib as soon as possible. We waited to put Lucy in her crib until 10 weeks and she started sleeping through the night as soon as we did. With Tucker, we moved him at about 6 weeks. Again, as soon as we did his sleep improved tremendously and so did ours! I think between the three of us moving around and making noises all night, noone was sleeping good. Also, it helps you not jump up as soon as the baby whimpers, which helps extend time inbetween feedings. I put him in the crib for nap time just like night time. This was probably our best decision so far this time around!
SIX | If you can’t get them to stop crying, take them outside. That has worked with both of my babies. I’ll go on a walk, or just put his bouncer on the porch. I don’t know why, but it works.
SEVEN | Keep some liquid formula, a bottle, and a diaper in your car. I don’t know how many times I’ve left his diaper bag at home. I had to run into Target and buy formula, a bottle and a pack of diapers one afternoon, so now I just keep this stuff in my car at all times.
EIGHT | Split your day up into 3 parts. The first part from 6am(ish) to Noon is catchup time. During this time I sleep when he sleeps to catch up on missed sleep during the night. It’s important to designate this time so you don’t feel guilty for not doing much. The second part is Noon to 5pm and this is my productive time. Get dressed, clean the house, run errands, whatever. The third part is fun time. For me, this is when Matt and Lucy get home and I want us to have fun as family. We go on walks, make dinner together, play etc. This new method has helped me enjoy maternity leave 100% more than I did last time.