Okay, math time. Add two people, nine months, one awesome baby shower, endless cravings, and a surprise encore of the Freshmen Fifteen’s uglier cousin, and you come out on the other side with a beautiful new joy in the world you never believed would mean so much to you. Once you’ve reached the end of this equation, you’ve completed one of the biggest wonders in nature. Congratulations! Now for a new set of endless equations so complex and complicated, it would make the most tenured Harvard professor blush. This, ladies and gentlemen, is caring for a new baby.
- Like all good things in life, parenting is going to be hard (but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it). Here we’ll go through some tips as to how best take care of your new baby without burning yourself out before their first words. While the literature on taking care of a new baby evolves faster than a clean diaper into a dirty one, there are many general tips that can keep your new little one happy, and you sane.
- Sleep as much as you can, whenever possible – You have a whole new person to take care of, and you’re on their schedule. So when you can, sleep! Take a nap when the baby does, or consider sleeping in shifts with your significant other.
- Trust your instincts – You have a connection to this baby that you just can’t ignore. “Mothers know best”, amirite? If you feel something’s wrong (or right!), it probably is, so don’t ignore that feeling.
- Get out of the house – Now that you’ve brought this new baby home, you might feel like you’re the warden of the messiest prisoner in diapers; never leaving and always watching. However, you need to get out sometime. Have your partner watch the baby while they play or nap, and go take a walk! Get coffee! Even sitting on the porch will give you a boost of energy.
- Cleaning can wait – Your priority right now is the baby, so focus on it and leave the vacuuming until when you can fit it in. Look, he just made a cooing noise playing in the bath! Isn’t that way more fun than a dust pan and broom? Which brings me to my next point….
- Lower the bar – This goes from how clean you want your house to be to just about every other expectation. With a whole new life to take care of, things are going to slip through the cracks. You might not have the time or energy to garden every week, and that’s okay. Focus on the baby now and you’ll have plenty of time to get back to these things when they get a bit older.
- Accept help – It is not a sign of weakness to accept help. This might be the most chaotic time in your life, so having a neighbor or friend make you dinner or babysit while you catch some ZZZ’s is more than okay. The old adage goes “It takes a village to raise a child”, and while you might not need all of them, a few helping hands here and there can really take the edge off of you, and really help your baby develop into a social being.