Life With A New Baby

"What advice would you most like to give about experiencing life with a new baby?"

"Follow your instincts and your gut. I stay away from 'experts' who give advice that has me act different than what my instincts tell me. For example, the suggestion to let the baby cry it out at night - I tried this and felt so terrible, and my child suffered as well. So, I gave it up. And later on I was reading a different philosophy which supported my feelings. So, what I'm suggesting is that while there are many conflicting 'experts' out there, YOU are the only expert on YOUR baby."

"I believe that having a baby is the most wonderful thing that can happen to a woman. If you can afford it, quit your job so you can raise your own child. If you can't quit, than take as long of a maternity leave or leave of absence as you can. Those first few months are such a precious time, and I believe that the time, love and nurturing that only a mother can give far out weigh the material possessions you could give your baby if you worked. Be patient, have fun as you learn together, and most of all, love your baby."

"Be patient and listen to all the different advice you get, but use only what works for you and the baby."

"This Too Shall Pass! Babies ( and children) go through phases of behavior and development. The sleepless nights will pass and you'll be on to a different phase: Maybe long naps even! The hardest times even will soon be just memories."

"Enjoy every minute - They grow up so fast. Remember yourself and husband get out once in awhile. Happy parents make better parents."

"Don't be so hard on yourself. If you need help go and get it wherever and whenever it's needed. Trust your baby's lead in what your baby needs. If your child is happier alone then give some more space. If your baby needs to be in contact with you constantly then do that. We found parenting groups to be great fun and a wonderful source of support for us."

"Get as much sleep as you can. Nap when the baby naps (take the phone off the hook -let the house go.) Don't be afraid to enlist the help of relatives and friends to watch baby while you nap. When you are short on sleep, baby's crying or even another dirty diaper can seem to be too much to handle."

"Take time to process all your new feelings, to think about all the changes you must make in your lifestyle. Experience the wonder of that new little person and the way he/she is struggling to adjust to his/her new world. It is a miracle - a demanding one to appreciate. It requires growth and new attitudes and patience and ever increasing love."

"I think it's the most rewarding and fun experience ever, but I think you have to take things as they come, day by day, and just enjoy everything the baby does, and not get too worried about everything."

"Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Especially the newborn time. It is the most wonderful and most difficult time in your life. When our son was born 6 years ago today I was so anxious for him to turn 3 months so he could do more things. As I looked back as he kept getting older, I realized I'd missed those precious first few weeks and months in my hurry to get him to be an age I felt I could deal with. I can never get back that time. It is the hardest time because you and your baby must adjust to each other but it is also the most miraculous as you get to bond and learn about this little stranger the 3 of you created (you, your spouse and god). What a miracle! What a joy! Enjoy, enjoy and take plenty of pictures and get plenty of rest. Get your spouse or friends or family to help."

"Follow your own instincts. You know more about your new baby than you think. Just remember everyone made mistakes with their baby and you have to keep it in perspective."

"To expect to be continuously tired and to put your needs last, yet incredibly fulfilling and makes everything you thought was important in life pale by comparison, it's worth every ounce of energy." "Take every day as it comes and remember that the advice you get from others can only serve as a guide. Your baby and situation is entirely unique - so let your baby tell you how to react. Also remember that even though there are days during the first few months that you don't get much positive feedback from your child in the form of smiles, special looks, babbling, etc. Your parental efforts will be rewarded ten-fold by the time the baby is six months of age! So hang in there, it gets better by the day!!"

"Physically, the 1st year is the toughest. Be patient and try to pamper yourselves (parents) the 1st year."

"Don't feel guilty if you're not being the parent you thought you'd be. It's impossible to hold and smile at the baby 24 hours a day, especially at 3 in the morning. Accept the fact that you're human, you get tired and cranky too. Just love the baby and he/she will love you back."

"The single most important piece of advice I would give is - do not forget yourself - do not forget the couple which brought forth this child. I have seen marriages fail and wonderful women become self-imposed victims and martyrs because they felt they had to always put the baby first. It's okay to sacrifice some of your ideals (like the family bed or no McDonald's ever) for a real loving couple and family. No one benefits if the 'ideals' create more tension than good. Note what is really important is to be happy yourself and then you can parent happily."

"Concentrate on the new little person in your life and your spouse. Try to forget about other worries (housework, etc.) they are tiny babies for only a short time and need lots of love and hugs. They are special people."

"That no matter what you read, hear or see- one will never be prepared for having a newborn in their house. But you will succeed. It takes a little time to become adjusted to one another, to schedules, but all of a sudden one day things fall into place and you are a team! And if friends and relatives want to help you a little - let them - don't try and become a wonder mom overnight - it won't happen. Take their help gracefully even if it isn't the way you would do it - soon enough you'll be back to yourself and then you can do it the way you want."

"The most important thing for me was to be well rested. Everything started from that foundation. When I wasn't tired, I could get more done, cope with my baby better, and enjoy him more. When you're fighting fatigue, I think you tend to just try to last until nap or bedtime rather than making full use of the time the baby is awake. This is one case where it's best to listen to what 'they' say: let the house go, nap when baby naps, get help from daddy, grandparents, neighbors."

"Get plenty of rest, sleep when baby sleeps, limit phone calls and visitors. Take one day at a time. Enjoy your baby and play with her or him. If you nurse, that's a good time to settle down, helps you relax, it makes you relax. Don't feel you can't take the baby out, you get a chance to be out and baby enjoys it too. But don't over-do. And find a babysitter so you and your husband can get away together."

"Try to have fun. It's terrific if your husband can stay home and the two of you learn together how to care for and 'read' your baby. Sleep or rest whenever the baby does."

"The single most important piece of advice I would give anyone about experiencing life with a new baby would be: PATIENCE. My 8 month old daughter had colic for the first 6 months of her life. I can't ever begin to count the endless nights and days we paced the floors, drove around and tried millions of other little tricks to calm her down. Every day, for 12 - 18 hours a day the screaming occurred. I slowly learned that I couldn't be 'super-mom', that things didn't get done when I wanted them done and that everything would still be there the next day. We learned that the more patient my husband and I became, the more we learned to appreciate the little things that occurred. I think if parents can learn to be patient with the infant(s) the more they will enjoy them."

"Having a new baby in the house is a bundle of joy but it is also a bundle of work."

"The first six weeks are grueling!!! Everyone elaborates so much on labor and delivery, and in comparison the hard part is bringing that little person home and learning real responsibility. After the birth, full recovery is difficult, because it takes a back seat to the needs of your baby. My daughter is 9 1/2 months and just now I am rediscovering what a full nights' sleep is. The feeling is incredible when you learn their signals, and are able to make them content and that time will come to every parent."

"I would like to give the advice everyone gave me but suggest that you take it literally! Sleep when your baby sleeps and don't worry about getting things done so you can just enjoy that baby! Sit around in bed with him/her. Sit and watch/listen to himself and go for lots and lots of walks. Follow your instincts and not your 'shoulds'."

"I'm keeping a journal for the next time around. Two big things I've learned, but need to remind myself: #1. Don't sweat the small stuff - be flexible and don't get upset. #2. Go with the flow - again, be flexible and try to take things in stride. Remember to smile - just look at your beautiful baby!"

"Try to rest when baby is resting. New moms (and dads) can feel drained at all energy from those interrupted nights' sleep. By staying well rested yourself, you are in better humor, and baby will sense your joy, and give you joy in return."

"Parenthood is like marriage; it brings joy and sorrow. The sorrow comes only because you love your children so much, you want them to be perfect. Everyone will have lots of advice; how to make them sleep better, eat better, throw less or no tantrums, never touch grandma's breakables, never shout or rough house, never bite, scratch, pull hair or point a gun...the list goes on. The fact is children will be children, many of their 'problems' are age related and they will grow out of them. So fret as little as possible and enjoy them as much as possible. They are young for only a short time and too soon they will be grown and gone."

"Do everything possible to stay home from work as long as you can (if you work) or go back only part-time. You'll find that you learn to 'live without' quite easily. Concentrate on what's happening and absorb as much as you can because it goes by in a hurry and it's the greatest time of you life. Your 1st baby can never happen again!"

"Take the time to take good care of yourself and get a lot of rest. There's a lot happening to/in your body and it does take it's toll on you. The better rested you are and physically fit, the faster you'll bounce back to your old self after your delivery. It will also make it easier to adjust to life with your gorgeous new baby! Good luck and above all, have fun and enjoy!!"

"Don't let housework and other extraneous pressures 'get to you'. Enjoy this new life and just sit back and gaze into this swell face."

"Your lifestyles will change. It's hard to realize that you have to share yourself with another person - a small one who can take so much of what used to be 'your time'. Let the small person become a part of your new family - if he/she feels secure things will go much smoother for everyone. Mom usually has the biggest responsibility so Dad should try to help whenever he can even by bringing home a pizza that first week. Also remember - it will be different next week or month."

"IT'S GREAT!! Yes, there are those good days and bad, but knowing that you and your spouse created that little baby is an experience all it's own! ENJOY! (they really do grow up too fast!) If you are fortunate enough to stay at home (as I am) forget the house work and have a great time with that little one."

"When your baby first comes home try to rest and relax. If people stop by they've come to see the baby and you, not to check if your house is clean. Relax and enjoy your baby. I feel the baby can sense you're relaxed and it will help them be calmer. If you do have a problem - no matter how small or silly you feel it is, call a friend, a parent or relative. Draw upon their experience. You'll find out your feelings and problems are probably not unique. Enjoy the time with your newborn - babies are truly one of God's miracles. Make it through one day at a time. Before you know it a month will be gone. Then a routine will start appearing and things will get easier. Smile - you're raising part of our next generation!"

"The lack of sleep and disruptions of one's day/night body cycles, as well as hormonal changes in the new mother, can make her feel sad or depressed. This will pass! Don't take things too seriously in those first weeks. Sleep whenever you can, forget everything else, and enjoy the baby!"

"Relax and enjoy the new life you have brought into the world, it is a wonderful and hectic time that goes all too quick, trust your instincts."

"Enjoy the new baby and forget about keeping the house work, laundry and meals at a perfect '10'. The time is so short and your baby will outgrow the newborn stage by three months or so. Relax... who really cares about a little dust everywhere, and there is always McDonald's down the street for quick, easy mealtimes. Treasure every minute with your baby now and clean later."

"Now that our daughter is 8 mos. old, life is much easier. In those early months thinking about taking it 'one day at a time' was too overwhelming. She ate every 2 hours and didn't sleep through the night till 12 weeks. I found it easier to segment the day into feedings - like 'just making it to the next feeding' rather than worrying about how I would make it through an important meeting the next day on 3 hours sleep, for example. Rather than getting though one day at a time, just try to make it till the next feeding! Time will fly by and your baby will become more precious and joyful each day."

"We found after we had children that all of our free time was spent with the kids to the exclusion of time for us as a couple. So - we have a neighborhood babysitter who babysits every other thursday night so we can go on a 'date'. We may sit and drink coffee, go for a walk, to a movie, out to dinner, but it is our special time. We have shared our idea with friends and many of them have adapted our idea by finding another couple and trading off every other week. One week couple #1 babysits all the kids and couple #2 goes out and the next week they switch. We love our kids and love our family time - and we are much better people and better parents with some 'couple time' as well."

"It will change your life but it is so incredible to see the two of us poured into one being. Our son is the swellest bestest smartest child on earth. I see how he accepts people readily with none of the notions that I have as an adult for not liking them for some reason or another and it helps me to get over my prejudices. I grow by watching him! Cool!"

"My advice is to sleep as much as you can before baby arrives and sleep with them after. I loved waking up with him between us and no, I never rolled over on him. At 4 months he went into his own room and crib no problem, but it was easier for me to have him right there to nurse instead of getting up. I wouldn't trade the lost hours of sleep for anything. I love being a mom. DON'T DRINK DURING PREGNANCY."

"Life with a new baby, however prepared your feel you are, is harder than you ever imagined. It's a joyful life, but get your rest before he or she arrives! One small piece of advice I'd offer is that if you are nursing your baby, but want to use the bottle sometimes, too, start early! Our 10 month old son fought the bottle horribly until he was 7 months old. We started too late."

"Be flexible! As an avid planner prior to our son's birth, I found it necessary to be more flexible and spontaneous. One never knows if the next day the baby will be fussy or in a great mood -- yes babies do seem to have moods and we as parents must work with their moods since they're unable to communicate them yet."

"Try to relax. Take life very slowly. Try to enjoy the slower pace - life will become hectic all too soon. My biggest regret was rushing myself and my first child. Now, after my third son, I'm able to take each day as it comes, and to appreciate the little changes as he grows and develops."

"When you first bring home your baby it may not seem real. You may feel like this child can not really be yours. But the more time you spend talking and holding your baby that feeling will soon go away. On my 'down' days I find I feel good if I take my babies shopping. People comment on how good or cute they are, or ask how old they are and it lifts my spirits."

"Babies are a lot of work - remember that we don't always love that new bundle of joy. But as baby grows, so does your love. There will always be times when you want to quit, but then baby does something wonderful to make all the trouble worth it! Remember - take time each day for yourself and do something special or pleasing just for you!"

"A baby becomes one year old in the blink of an eye. Relax, be patient, especially with yourself, and enjoy each moment with your baby."

"Understand from the first day that your days, nights and body are no longer your own, but shared with your baby. Once you accept that fact and resign yourself to being on call 24 hrs.a day, the frustration diminishes. Remember, it's only temporary. Then relax and enjoy your baby, spending his/her 'awake periods' (not at night) playing and getting to know one another."

"The first four to six weeks are the hardest!! By that time you'll have gotten to know this new person, and she will have adjusted to real life's days and nights, and maybe even be sleeping for six hours or more. By then you'll have also somewhat adjusted to the intensity of your relationship with the baby. This near-total absorption was something I wasn't prepared for, so it took me by surprise. My most important words would be to be patient with yourself, and give yourself time to get used to a new way of life. This may be especially trying time if you're recovering from a caesarian delivery, and breast feeding, simply because all this takes so much out of a woman physically."

"A book I read suggested to sleep when the baby sleeps! This is very helpful. If you're up at night with baby and don't sleep during the day (because you're trying to clean the house, etc.) - Forget it!! You'll be so tired, crabby and depressed. Sleep is very important those first few weeks. Make sure you get some!"

"When you've tried everything you know to comfort your 'screaming' infant and you find yourself coming near the edge, feeling frustrated, tired, angry, etc.: PUT THE INFANT IN THE CRIB AND GO AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE SO YOU ARE OUT OF HEARING RANGE! This can give you the mental and emotional space you need to calm down and be better able to cope. It is far less painful on the child to cry for a few minutes more than to suffer physical harm at the hand of the one who loves it."

"Remain calm. You can do it, millions before you have. No question is a dumb question - ask family and friends for help and advice!"

"Enjoy your new baby! The house may be a little messier, a little dustier, a little more disorganized - but all those things can wait. Taking the time to talk to your baby, play and rock your baby, is far more important. Besides, it's definitely more fun than keeping your house spotless."

"My husband says 'Learn how to cat-nap'. Boy is he right! Mine is, no matter how 'unkind' it may seem at the time, insist on taking care of your needs (especially true with c-section as mine was). Don't let visitors, even family, wear you out. The baby will be there for a long time and the many adjustments to your new life will be much easier if you aren't distracted and exhausted by playing hostess on top of everything else."

"The most difficult but most important thing to do is to think before passing judgement on your child's small behavioral changes or health issues. Also pay attention to behaviors to recognize change.

"As a new mom in my late 30's, I wasn't prepared for how tired I was for the first few months. I had a fussy baby that spit up all the time and didn't sleep more than 45 minutes at a time for the first 3 months. My advice is to plan that you will be tired and arrange accordingly. For instance, make meals ahead and freeze. Arrange for someone to help with housecleaning and laundry. The thing that really saved me was resting every time the baby did - even if only for 10 or 15 minutes."

"Be kind to yourselves - it's much harder, more emotional, and more disruptive than you imagine before the baby is actually here. Treat yourselves gently, both for your sake and baby's. For example, don't expect to get enough sleep for 3-6 months. Expect to be somewhat grouchy. Expect your marriage to withstand a lot of turmoil and chaos, especially in the early weeks/months, but even a year later. Don't pressure yourselves to 'bond' with or 'unconditionally' love your baby - those are processes that unfold over time and can't be controlled or rushed. Enjoy the unforgettable moments and remain 'in the present', not anxiously fearing what lies ahead or bitter about the birth experience. However, if you feel pained by a particularly rotten birth experience, go ahead an be mad about it and gripe and complain and cry, if necessary, and be done with it. Most of all, trust your instincts - they are present and working. You know your particular baby more than anyone else. Listen to your baby's cries and coo's - you're not supposed to magically know what they're signalling at first. Listening with your brain, ears, and heart will over time and experience, help you decipher the puzzle until it forms a pattern. One by one, the patterns for this, your baby, will emerge. Enjoy the process as much as you can and your part in it, for process is what it's all about."

"It's the most demanding, never-ending job there is, but if you remember to enjoy your child, everyday, it's worth it!"

"SHARE THE PARENTING RESPONSIBILITY! Both mother and father need to diaper, burp and dress the baby. Both parents need to love, play with and console the baby. There are ways to share the responsibility of feeding the baby even if mother is breast feeding. A new baby can be consuming and few of us can handle the stress alone. A new baby is delightful and that is a pleasure none of us wants to experience alone."

"Stop to think about what is really important in your life and spend your time on that. There won't be time for everything you used to do, so you might as well not worry about doing it all now, while your child is growing, and just enjoy life instead."

"Husbands, sex is not the most important thing to your wife right now. Let the poor woman sleep! Let the housework slide. If anyone has anything to say about the way you're keeping house, cheerfully invite them to clean it to fit their specifications. Then go take a nap."

"Cancel everything you can to make time for yourself. Give up trying to control your life and household. Give in to the baby's schedule during the day, and you might get to sleep in the night. Accept all offers of help. Breastfeeding is a relationship; the baby has to do her part, too."

"In this culture, people frequently try to get a baby to adapt to sometimes narrow ideas of what a baby should do, often for the sake of convenience, regardless of whether or not this is really best for the baby (i.e. - trying to get the baby to sleep through the night at an early age, adhere to a feeding schedule, etc.). It is less frustrating in the long run, and healthier for you and baby if you try to adapt more to (and don't fight) their natural rhythms. Be flexible and remember - babies are individuals and don't necessarily fit our ideas of what they should be like. A baby's wants are his needs. They are tiny for such a short while. You won't 'spoil' a little baby by picking him up every time he cries, and so on."

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