Ask for help if you need it. People are more willing than you think. If you’re hungry, laundry is piling up, or you need to get some sleep: call someone. The first 6 weeks are literally a hall pass to ask anyone for anything without worry.
Apply for a birth certificate: it’s easy to do online and costs about $25. You will need this for many things, including a passport if you plan to travel. Babies can cross the Canada-US border, by car, with only a birth certificate.
If you experienced a tear or episiotomy, consider making a “tea bag” of comfrey, lavender, uva ursi and chamomile for your next few baths. This will help with healing.
From as early as possible establish routines (example: massage, pjs and a lullaby mean night time). Things you do repeatedly become routines: keep this in mind when you do things like consistently nursing your baby to sleep, or, letting baby stay awake past midnight while you finish a movie. This is not the same as a schedule with exact times.
Don't forget to take lots of photos, professional if possible. Babies change so much so quickly.
Make a moby wrap to wear baby to errands. See my video here.
If you start to get “is this normal?” syndrome - find a friend or your mom to ask. (Most of the time the answer is yes!)
Advice to avoid:
- formula or baby cereal to make baby sleep longer through the night
- tire baby out during the day so they’ll sleep longer at night
- give baby a bath everyday
- give baby water to hydrate
If you need help with breastfeeding contact La Leche League.
There are many options for where your baby can sleep at this stage:
- In your bed
- In your bed, in a bassinet/co-sleeping addition, etc.
- In a bassinet, etc. beside your bed
- A crib in your room
- A crib in their room
- A floor mattress
- A moses basket
- The sleeping section of a pack n play*
- The car seat*
Bathing Your Baby
The steps are vital, so do it in order:
1. Prepare the necessary equipment: baby soap, a cloth, a towel, a fresh diaper, a baby
2. Run a bath that is a comfortable temperature for a baby. How full and whether or not you use a baby insert is up to you but no matter what, always keep a hand on baby for safety.
3. Strip baby down and slowly lower into the water.
4. Using the cloth, apply soap to the baby and rinse off with water. Repeat, everywhere.
5. Pull baby out safely and wrap in a towel. For ambitious pee-ers, apply a new diaper quickly (or for those practising elimination communication, this may be a potty moment.
6. Dry off, re-clothe (optional).
I do not believe "cry-it-out" is a fair method of teaching a baby to sleep. The point it instils is that "no one is coming to help you". My family finds that co-sleeping is a real treat for many reasons. With baby at an arm's reach, it gives everyone a sense of security and peace. When baby is inevitably hungry at 3:00am, a slight roll over and shirt pull makes warm milk available within seconds, letting everyone get maximum sleep. Remember - if you choose to share the family bed with baby, please practice safety measures.