Lessons from My Newborn
He's 4 weeks old already. We have enjoyed his presence in our family life and are so grateful for Baby J.
|Baby J @ 4 weeks old|
Having a newborn is a great teacher; a new little one tests a Mama's patience and endurance in many ways, shows her how much love she does have to give; reveals how much help she does need. Many lessons I've learned from my other children; and for some, it's taken me 5 children before I really "got it"! Here is what having a newborn has taught me, in no particular order:
- Sleep does occur again. . . at some point! Don't stress out about it because it WILL happen again. Try not to let broken sleep (or the complete lack thereof) rule your thoughts. Try not to focus on it. Just know that EVERY mother has experienced a period of "not sleeping" at some point in her mothering. You are not alone.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. That one is as old as dirt, but I didn't always do it. Now, lesson learned! Especially with 5 kiddos! Since I have my husband home with me for a few weeks, I take about 2-3 naps during the day, when the baby is sleeping.
- If people offer to help you, let them help you!! So what if they don't cook, clean, or sweep like you do?! Let them help. In other words, my husband has been making breakfast while I take a morning nap and yes, DONUTS were on the menu TWICE this week!!! (LOL) My kids are thrilled and fed while I'm inwardly wincing at the idea of no fruit or yogurt. **I'm still working on this one, Ladies!! Pray for me. :)**
- Take time to stare at your newborn. . . for at least a good 5 minutes at a time. Those tiny features change so quickly. Enjoy the baby, breathe him/her in!
- It's perfectly fine to spend days at a time in PJ's. You're a recovering mama so wear what is comfortable. Depending on your birthing experience, you may not be up to getting dressed every day. Rest and recover comfortably.
- Drink lots of water, whether you're breastfeeding or not. It helps to flush your system and keep infections at bay during recovery. I have a water bottle that I take around the house with me.
- Continue taking your prenatal vitamin. . .this has helped me this time around with my energy levels, even if just a little bit. I didn't stay committed to taking it after my other pregnancies, but I'm making an effort to continue with them.
- Assign older children a few new duties. Having 2 babies about 15 months apart really showed this mama where I could stand to delegate responsibilities to my older children. For example: I watched my girls (who are my oldest children) make lunch while I fed the baby. Their lunch menu: sandwiches, graham crackers and jell-o! :) They are also doing their own laundry (with supervision). Even small things like getting the mail, setting the table, or collecting items to be recycled can help tremendously.
|Baby J with one of his big sisters, TM|
- Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him for advice for EVERYTHING. I mean it. My mom says all the time to "pray in specifics." God knows your specific, unique situation and every thing you need. Ask Him about all the details--the best formula to use, the best breastfeeding technique, co-sleeping, rocking, diaper changes, fussiness, late night feedings, sleep deprivation, bath time, colic, crying, room-sharing. . . whatever may be troubling you, whatever you can't seem to figure out--ask God. He is faithful to His children and that includes a weary mom who wants to do what's best for her new baby.
- Keep the house noisy. . . kind of! Since my baby is joining 2 parents, 4 siblings, and 2 dogs, there is hardly a silent moment in the house. Baby was used to hearing theses noises in some fashion, from the womb. Trying to keep things absolutely silent all of the time when he is sleeping is a bit unrealistic. So while I encourage the kids to lower their voices during nap times, I do not require total silence. Plus, I've learned that the baby appreciates a bit of background noise when he's sleeping.
- Mama's attitude STILL sets the tone in the home. In other words, having a newborn isn't an excuse to be nasty because you're sleepy, frustrated or in pain. (Ahem--again, pray for me Ladies. Some of my lessons have to be revisited when I've flunked!) When I'm gentle, when I calmly express my feelings, when I give a soft answer, when I offer a sleepy smile, my family responds so sweetly. But when I lay it on thick, griping and complaining, it just adds stress to the atmosphere. In particular, it stresses my husband, who is already dealing with his own concerns: my wife is in pain because she birthed my child into the world; is she healing well; I'm lost amidst the dishes and laundry and diaper changes; I still have to work and provide and protect and lead; is the baby doing well; are the other children okay; am I doing mom's duties well when I help her. Quite frankly, having a newborn isn't all about the wife. The Husband is effected, too and "extra attitude" from me doesn't help him. Realizing this has helped our days go so much more smoothly. Keep the attitude in check.
- Change things up a little. Sometimes doing the same things over and over can get dull and dreary, especially when you're tired. Just a little bit of change goes a long way. . .particularly after you've changed the 14th diaper of the day and you're on your 10th feeding. Some of my remedies have been: play outside with my older kids for a few minutes, snapping a photo of my daffodils, putting on earrings (yes, even if I have no place to go!), changing up my hairstyle (like adding a bright colored scarf), going to lunch with the family at a near-by "mom & pop" restaurant that's not too crowded, going on a drive with the family with no particular place to go--just getting out of the house.
|My daughter took this pic. See the earrings and scarf. . simple right?|
I have no where to be, but the change brightens my day!
- Stay in the Word. Confession: I didn't always do this when my older children were newborns, telling myself that I just didn't have the time. Reality: I should always have "time" for the Lord, since He's the one who has given me time in the first place. While an extensive, intense Bible study probably won't be on the "to-do" list during the newborn phase, God's Word should still be a priority. Even if it's just for a few moments, trust me, it makes a big difference. Ways I've been able to get the Word in: take advantage of the help I have and right before one of my naps, I'll read a bit of my Bible, make use of online Bible websites (www.biblegateway.com), join an online Bible study with Ladies who help keep me accountable, continue Scripture memory with my children which takes just minutes each day, MUSIC--listening to my favorite Gospel and worship songs brings me in His presence.