We are the proud parents of a newborn. Well, technically, an infant. She still, mostly, has that new baby smell. Her big brothers still, mostly, love her to bits. We are deliriously happy to have a new little one in the house… But… (And this is a big but, people) new babies are hard.
This is our sixth new baby! We have reached an entire half dozen and it’s still so hard each and every time. To be honest, I decided to start writing again to address the following question:
“Six kids, are you crazy?! How do you do it?”
The first response will always be: “Yes, I am crazy. Crazy AWESOME!”
The second response is a bit more complicated. I could say: “I fake it every single day and somehow we all end up alive at the end”. I could also say: “Jesus and copious amounts of coffee”.
Let’s break it down another way, shall we?
How to survive the first six weeks with six
1) Delegate and/or accept help as offered
If you have kids old enough to be helpful, involve them. If you have a spouse old enough to be helpful, definitely involve him! If other friends want to help by bringing you food, or watch your older kids so you can just flop down on your bed, casually check for holes in your eyelids, and drool on your pillows, please please let them!
2) “Sleep when the baby is sleeping!”
This long time piece of advice for new moms no longer applies to me. I don’t know about you, but when I came home from the hospital, I still had five kids. They were still loud. They still ran around like someone had doped them with ridiculous amounts of sugar.
Believe you me, I begged the hospital to let me stay until I felt rested, but unfortunately, they said six months was too long for a normal vaginal delivery. Go figure. Even the hospital staff had it in for me.
The best advice I can give you is, at the very least, be gentle with yourself. Even if you aren’t able to sleep, rest. Do as little as possible. If your professionally OCD brain can handle it, and you’ve delegated to the best of your ability, stay off your feet and let the house fall apart. It’ll be ok. Someday. In like twelve years. Pinky Promise.
3) Make sure you have your essentials
By my third pregnancy I had a pretty good grasp of the things I couldn’t do without once we got home. I’m still finding new products and ideas but we’ve pretty much got this down now.
For me, this boils down to just a few things:
- -Baby clothes – just a handful of newborn and slightly more 0-3. Having twins out of the gate, we ended up with a lot more clothing than we needed.
-A box of newborn diapers- you may need more than one, but we almost always have extras when we move into size one diapers.
-Wipes – seriously, you can never have too many wipes.
-Pacifiers – we don’t typically use pacifiers until breastfeeding is established, but it’s nice to know they are in the house and ready!
-Coffee- because coffee. Enough said.
-Nursing pillow – life was changed forever when they invented the pillow for around your waist when nursing.
Some of the new things I’ve discovered and fallen in love with (these are affiliate links to products I use and love, for more information see my disclosure here):
- Snuggle Nest Portable Infant Sleeper – I like to keep my babes close at night, and this is a great way for me to have them close and safe. I love it. Plus, traveling will require one less bulky play yard for a few months.
- Always Discreet Underwear – I switched to full incontinence underwear instead of the bulky hospital pads post partum for this baby. I was so so so much more comfortable. Plus, it’s like a trial for thirty five years from now when I’ve failed to keep my pelvic floor in shape and sneezing, coughing, and laughing is even more dangerous.
- Thermacare – These are heat packs that stick to your underwear and soothe cramps. Afterpains are like period cramps on steroids. You might be looking for a bullet to bite on when they hit. These little babies held heat for hours and hours. So awesome.
4) Get by with a little help from your friends
Don’t forget to call your BFF, mom, or get your husband to come listen to you when you need it. Sometimes those baby blues will hit hard. You may be sobbing like you just found out they discontinued mint chip ice cream worldwide. Reach out to people. You can still be a hermit and make a phone call when you need support. Be sure to let someone know if it feels like more than just baby blues. Providers screen for postpartum depression, but postpartum anxiety can also raise its ugly head, so be aware of how you are holding up. It is very important to have someone you trust watching out for you as well.
5) Keep meals simple
My house is a certifiable disaster. FEMA stopped by and said it was beyond their capacity to help. My kids are eating macaroni, hot dogs, tacos, PB&J, and hamburger skillet meals like they’re going out of style.
It is okay if you are too tired to make real food. Try to add a salad, yogurt, fruits, and veggies as sides. Easy to grab, added nutritional value for otherwise nutritionally defunct meals. This too shall pass, and your older kids won’t be too worse for wear when it does.
Whether this is your first baby or your eighth, you will get through the first weeks! (I know it doesn’t always feel like it). Take each day one at a time, and pretty soon your little one will be stretching out those feedings and getting you a bit more rest. Suddenly you’ll feel like a new person! Then the next wave of exhaustion will hit and you’ll run for the coffee pot. That’s totally normal and expected, you’ve got this mama. Know that I am cheering for you from the stands, and if you need anything – reach out.
In the meantime, as long as you have a coffee in your hand- don’t be afraid to eat all of the some chocolate.
If you liked this, check out Reasons You Should Not Get a Puppy During Pregnancy
Or maybe You Can’t Make This Stuff Up will tickle your funny bone…