The first week with a new born is… overwhelming. It is overwhelming in the sense that you are learning how to care for this adorable baby, not getting a full night’s sleep, recovering from giving birth and so amazed and in love with this new little person that your emotions are in overdrive. It is a complete roller coaster, you go from holding your little one and watching them peacefully sleep (it is the best feeling in the entire world) to your little one having a crying fest. You’re learning to care for your child and your child is learning what it needs and how to communicate. I will say that compared to the horror stories people loved to share with us about the first week of a baby’s arrival, our son’s first week wasn’t even close. Here is some of what we heard about the big three (Eat, Sleep, Poop) and our actual experience.
- What we heard: “You will get no sleep, you will fight with your spouse and your house will be a disaster because you are too tired and busy with the baby.”
- No Sleep: Yes, you get a lot less sleep but we were lucky and our little guy is a sleeper! Only a couple days after being home he would sleep 4 – 5 hours, wake up and eat and then sleep another 2 ½ – 3 hours. We both would constantly wake up to make sure he was still breathing (first time parents for sure!) and some nights were worse than other but it was overall not bad. We were both home with the baby for the first week (I highly recommend this if it is possible to do) so we were able to sleep in a bit or nap, if needed.
- Fighting with your Significant Other: This one was not an issue for us, there were a couple times that we were a bit crabby but no fights. We were so filled with excitement over our new addition that we were almost euphoric at times. It was actually a very intimate time for us as a couple. I think that our positive attitudes were helped by our baby sleeping at night and he his lack of colic or crying fits.
- Messy House: Again, this was a non-issue for us. The first night it did look like a baby store exploded in our living room, it was trial and error on getting him to initially fall asleep at night… so we tried everything. Once that was figured out our house has stayed fairly clean and organized. Is it as clean as it usually is? No. But it hasn’t gotten out of control. I am not a big nap person, so while he took is morning snooze I cleaned and did laundry. The afternoon nap was for both of us. My husband also stepped up and completely too over cooking and cleaning up after, we usually take turns on that but I was still in recovery. (Don’t feel bad if you end up picking up take out or ordering a pizza!)
- What we heard: “Breastfeeding is such a special time between you and your baby. Breast is best! Just breast feed and then pump to stock up for when you go back to work.”
- Breastfeeding Bonding: Yes, my son makes the most adorable faces and noises when he breastfeeds. No, I don’t feel it is as easy and magical as I was led to believe. I talked about this in a previous post but breastfeeding is difficult, very difficult. It did feel like it helped the bonding between myself and the baby but it also made less bonding time for my husband. With how often the baby feeds and the fact that when the baby is crying the boob usually comforts him, it made my husband sometime feel cut out. He made the best of it! He would just laugh and tell me “when in doubt, whip them out” whenever the baby wouldn’t be comforted by anything else.
- Breast Feed and Pump: UUUUUGGGHHH! First, your nipples feel like they will fall off, but carry on, eventually baby learns to latch better and your nipples become like steel. Between breastfeeding and pumping it felt like I did nothing else. I think there is a permanent dent in our couch cushion from my lack of movement. I was still sore and bleeding, that restricted what I could do but it was not a pleasant feeling to feel tied down. The lack of mobility was a real struggle, and still is, for me. I never went into a postpartum depression but I could see how it would be easy to do. I made sure we went on walks and trips to visit people, also having my friends stop by for a visit was great, the distractions allowed me to get through my cabin fever.
- What we heard: “You will go through more diapers than you can imagine, you can’t buy too many. Be ready for the baby to poop and pee on you.”
- Can’t have too many Diapers: TRUE! I read about how many diapers a baby should fill a day, I was shocked that a little person would go through that many diapers. What that doesn’t factor in is when your baby pees/poops and you change their diaper and then you realize your baby wasn’t done peeing/pooping and immediately soaks the new diaper. Also, you could be in the middle of changing said baby and he starts peeing, sending urine spouting everywhere, covering your new clean diaper and potentially the diaper you frantically grab to cover him up. You really can’t have too many diapers, just be sure to get a variety of sizes. Our little man is over a month and still in newborns but we have friends who moved to size 1 in a couple weeks.
- Your Baby will Poop and Pee on You: Yes, your baby will most likely get you at some point in time. It usually happens when your guard is down, like at 3am when you are half asleep and changing the diapers by the nightlight. Have a new diaper underneath your little one before you start changing them and keep a receiving blanket on hand (You also can’t have too many receiving blankets). I’ll warn you that baby poo can shoot out a surprisingly long distance. During the first week, this was something funny to laugh about together.
- What we heard: “You will be amazed at how you could love anything so much.”
- I still look at his perfect little face and am blown away that he is ours. Any bad moment is washed away by the perfectly happy moments. We are soaking up every second because it is already passing us by, he won’t be a baby for long.
Our first week with our baby was amazing and made us ready for the coming weeks and months. I would do it all over again. Don’t let anyone scare you, it is nothing you can’t handle! Just do whatever works for you; breast/bottle, sleep train from day one/go with the baby’s natural schedule, cry it out or cuddle. Parenting is not an exact science, just keep that little one happy and healthy!