Our daughter Allie is nearing the four month mark. How time flies! It’s amazing how much you learn in such a short amount of time when it comes to your kids.
For those with new little ones at home, or for those expecting, here are a few lessons learned from our first few months:
- Sleep and nap when you can, wherever you can. The whole sleeping when the baby sleeps didn’t work for us. We just traded off. It’s amazing how much less sleep you end up operating on.
- Don’t obsess over how much your kiddo sleeps (within reason). Allie is not a great day sleeper, never has been. We read books that say a newborn should sleep 18 or more hours a day. That never happened for us. Truth is you can do everything you can to get them to sleep, but it’s going to be their call in the end. Do what you can. If you think the sleep is a true issue, chat with your pediatrician.
- Kiddos poop a lot. If you have any aversion to diaper changing, get over it.
- Kiddos can squirt poop remarkably far. Fair warning.
- Diaper rash really, really, sucks. Get rash cream and don’t be afraid to use it. We use it every time she poops and helps prevent it. Best to stay ahead of it because once they do get it, it’s hard to get rid of.
- Blowouts are a real threat. Learn to put in diapers well and know when they have a big one brewing. Also, carrying an extra set of clothes is never a bad idea.
- We have been fighting what feels like a never ending battle with Allie’s acid reflux and GI issues. Formula for us was a trial and error deal. Took around five formulas before we found one that worked. For us, not all formulas were equal. If you are having feeding, gas, or other issues with your kiddo you think are GI related, talk to you pediatrician about formulas. They usually have tons of free samples.
- If your kiddo has reflux, how and what they eat matters (at least it did to us). The formula was key and we also had to move to feeding smaller amounts more often. Not a 100% cure, but every little bit helps.
- No bottles work together. Its a racket. So find a bottle you like and stick with it. Some look so close you could end up trying to piece together a bottle puzzle at 3am if you mix and match them.
- You may have read (or are reading) a ton of books on babies. Each will say how much they should eat, sleep, and what they should be doing. Remember to consider those details as a guide. Every kid is different and don’t beat yourself up if your kiddo isn’t the model of the babies in the books. If you are really concerned, talk to your pediatrician. There are ways to assess your kiddo to see if they really are having issues or if they are on the right track.
- The Wonder Weeks app is a good two dollar buy. Its a good guide on what to expect and when. Obviously it’s not spot on and is different for every kiddo, but it has some good info. Also, for the two bucks, its totally worth it.
Family, Friends, and Help
- Never turn down help. It’s OK to have pride and to want to be self sufficient, but remember it takes a village. Even just a 30 break holding baby, or someone cooking you a meal can be a life saver.
- Invite family over often. Not only can they help, but it’s good to get them and the kiddo used to each other.
- When you feel comfortable leaving your kiddo with others, make time for a date night. There will be times when between work and the kiddo you barely get to have a sit down dinner, let alone a date, with your significant other. Having that time together is really important. Plus, its fun.
- My grandma’s doctor back in the day gave her great advice. When the things get really hard with the kiddo, its OK to set them down to cry while you take a break. It is also OK to have a beer during that break. It is true that your kiddo needs your attention, especially when they are young, but you also have to keep your sanity. I find a cold beer or a glass a wine goes a long way in that area.
- Cover for each other so that each of you can have a night (or day) out every once in awhile. It will go a long way toward mental sanity.
What tips do you have to share?