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How to Survive the First 6 Months of Baby: 9 Critical Things To Know

If you are about to have a baby, you’ll want to read this...it might mean the difference between surviving and melting into a puddle of goo

Jennifer Hamilton

The first 6 weeks of being a brand new parent—no matter whether it’s your first or your fifth bundle of joy—can be really difficult. You and your little are getting to know each other and you and your partner are taking on new parental roles. But, you need to survive—and trust us—the payoff is awesome. Right around the six-week mark you’ll finally be rewarded with one of the most amazingly gratifying things in your entire parenting career—your wee one will finally bestow an actual smile upon you. Fist Pump!

In order to help you survive, here are nine things you need to know, do and have. Read it, print it out, post copies of it everywhere. Trust us, you’ll need reminders…because your baby brain will betray you in so many ways.

  1. The Poop

In the very beginning, Baby’s poop is blackish green (and yes, you will likely get grossed out a little). Then it approximates certain shades of green, yellow or brown, and it can be runny, pasty, seedy or cottage cheesy (and by then you won’t be as grossed out anymore).

Bonus: If you do choose to breastfeed, poop doesn’t usually smell bad…!

  1. The Spit Up

It’s going to happen and it’s going to happen A. LOT. Don’t worry, just keep lots of burping cloths, blankets, hand towels, bath towels and your partner’s shirts at the ready. There are lots of effective ways to diminish “returns,” the best of which is to burp your baby and hold her—head up and relatively still (no bouncing, throwing or playing catch with her—after feeding.

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  1. The Food

A newborn is way simpler than a 10 year old to feed…and they won’t eat you out of house and home, either. Breast feed, bottle feed…we don’t really care which you choose, as long as you feel it is the best decision for you and your wee babe. If you are going to breastfeed, do your research beforehand and get yourself a good breast pump…we guarantee you won’t regret it. Bottle feeding? Get bottles—and lots of them. We absolutely love MAM’s Scientifically proven Anti-Colic bottles; designed to prevent colic and reflux and with a nipple that babies—especially breastfeeding ones—love they’re a dream come true. Plus: BPA-free, lead-free and PVC-free…? What better start is there your little babe?

  1. The Stump

When your baby is born the umbilical cord is cut and there is a stump left that should dry and fall off by the time your baby is 5 to 15 days old. Keep the stump and surrounding skin clean and dry. And no you don’t need to save it when it falls off. You can…but you definitely don’t need to.

  1. The Bath

Bathing a newborn for the first few times is a challenge. The nurses in the hospital may have showed you how—but they make it look super easy. Using a baby tub, a basin or even a bucket, and making sure to have everything you need before you start, learn to make it look easy…fake it till you make it we always say!

First, shampoo the scalp (once or twice a week only), and then, supporting his head, start washing from the top down, using a soft cloth and mild baby soap. Be certain to get in all the soft, babylicious nooks and crannies and to wash his face well. Left around the mouth, milk and spit-up may cause a rash. Rinse baby well and pat him dry with a towel. You may have seen a poster in your doctor’s office that tells you to use cotton balls to wash his eyes. Don’t. A soft baby wash cloth is all you need.

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  1. The Teeth

No, newborns don’t (usually) come with teeth…but eventually (at about the 4-6 month mark), they might begin to sprout. Lay the foundations for that winning smile you know they’ll have someday with good oral hygiene. Clean baby’s mouth long before the first tooth sprouts with a soft microfiber cloth made especially for this tiny job. Then, later, count on MAM for the perfect toothbrush for every stage of oral care from newborn to baby’s first learning-to-brush set.

  1. The Crying

Human beings laugh, cry, smile, smirk, huff, pout, slouch, talk, yell and even snort. Babies? They cry. That’s how they communicate. How do you know what baby wants? That’s easy. We have a million expressions and a thousand ways to express how we are feeling because we have a gazillion ways of feeling. Babies have a finite few. She might be hungry, uncomfortable, have a soiled diaper, or she is sick. If she’s just been fed and changed and isn’t running a fever or teething, she may just want to suck. Sucking calms and quiets babies and MAM’s pacifiers, made specifically for newborns are perfect for this situation.

  1. The Sleep

This is your goal as a new parent: to get your baby to sleep…a lot. Newborns often sleep for four hours at a stretch and a total of 16 hours or more a day. There are a few tried and true get-my-kidlet-to-sleep tips that have been passed down from generation to generation of new parents. We’ll share them with you (because we really like you).

  1. Establish a routine. Do the Bs-Before-Bed one…it’s great (and simple!). Bath, Book, Bed. Give your child a bath and change her into jammies. Read to her. Put her IN HER BED. (Place baby in the crib while drowsy. This way she learns to fall asleep on her own and associates the crib with bedtime.)
  2. Swaddle. A baby not swaddled may startle himself and wake himself up. Get a supply of swaddling blankets, swaddles or wraps and learn how to swaddle.
  3. Give her a pacifier. Again, babies need to suck; it calms them. A pacifier will likely help her sleep more soundly. Also, experts believe that babies who suck on a pacifier may be less susceptible to SIDS.

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  1. The Parents

Creating another human being (or adopting one, or being a new parent to one) is a big deal. It’s trying and it’s extremely difficult In order to make it through the first 6 months, make sure you take care of yourself:

  1. Get enough sleep and rest. We know, easier said than done. Try—going to bed earlier; napping when your babe does; take breaks and relax.
  2. Get away. Delegate more. This will likely involve some sort of asking for help. Get used to it: it takes a village to raise baby, remember? Let your partner do some feedings (both breastmilk and formula can go into bottles and cups) and have him care for the baby so that you get time alone.
  3. Come back smiling. Enjoy yourself. The newborn stage doesn’t last forever and you will undoubtedly miss it once it’s over. Take it all day by day and you’ll remember the good parts for the rest of your life (you’ll remember the bad parts too but they’ll soften with time).

 

new-baby-find-itThis story is part of our New Baby Guide. Check it out for more info on bringing home, planning for and surviving having a new baby.

 

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