I have been asked by my friends what has been the biggest adjustment to having a newborn? Well so far the hardest part has been going days without a solid night’s sleep. And I love to sleep! Before I had baby M, I would forgo food and my favorite shows any day of the week for additional sleep. Baby M is still working to get on a schedule and soon we will not have to wake her in the middle of the night to feed her. This is normal though for a newborn and most babies are not on a schedule from the start.
A fact you may not know if you are a first time mom, if you plan to breastfeed, even if your baby sleeps through the night, guess what you will still have to wake to feed or pump! Your new schedule will basically be repeats of three and four-hour cycles of feeding, changing, napping, and then start all over again. If you are bottle feeding or using formula, then you may go for longer periods of these cycles, since breast milk is digested more quickly. In my case, I have not slept more than four consecutive hours most nights. That is why you hear everyone say you need to sleep when the baby sleeps, so you can get additional hours during the day to make up for your lack of sleep throughout the night.
Honestly, the first three weeks were difficult just because we were so exhausted. It was helpful though that I had my sister and mom to help with the house chores and meal preparation. They cleaned and did laundry so I could just focus on caring for my baby, which was such a gift. Plus, my husband has been such an amazing dad and has jumped right in from the start. He helps change diapers and will wake up in the middle of the night to help me.
It does get easier though and believe it or not, I can actually function now on three hours of sleep! Being a mom is the most rewarding job though and I love spending time caring for my little one, even if it is 3 am. You just want to make sure your baby is always comfortable and has everything she needs. You put their needs before your own, but waking at odd hours doesn’t event bother me since you have such a wonderful reward waiting for you, her sweet little face!
Now ever pediatrician might have different recommendations and every mom has a different plan for night feeding, but in my experience we had to wake her a few times throughout the night to make sure she was gaining enough weight. Some moms feed on demand, so they may also have a different schedule. I have no opinion one way or the other, I think whatever works best for you and your baby.
I will share my newborn must haves on the blog soon. Although we were as minimal as we could be with baby gear, I quickly discovered additional things we needed to purchase. I can’t wait to share my essential picks with you for a happy baby!