Not too long ago, I sent my mom a text that said “newborns are unpredictable.”
Man, is that an understatement or what?!
I’m sure I was referring to trying to schedule a FaceTime call with my parents so they could see Penny, and I wasn’t sure if she’d be asleep, awake or having a complete meltdown. But the statement is true for just about anything else to do with newborns, too.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned (or more honestly, I’m still working on) is to go with the flow. There are days when scheduled tasks must take place, like a visit to the doctor. Other times, you have to go with what your baby is willing to handle.
While we’re only a couple of months into this adventure known as parenting, and we are by no means experts, we are working on a few areas that are going fairly well. This is definitely not a comprehensive list of everything that goes on during our days, but maybe some of this will be handy for you or will prompt questions.
Be sure to reach out and ask away, or if you’d like to share your tips and tricks with me, comment here or on Facebook!
1. Our Feeding & Sleeping Routine
Right now we feed Penny every three hours during the day and at night we let her wake up and “tell” us when she wants to eat. She’s starting to sleep longer hours at night — we’ve had a couple of 6 1/2-hour stretches! But we make sure to get in seven to eight feedings a day. Our routine is to do a diaper change, feed while pausing to burp several times, and then keep her upright for a bit to hopefully prevent spitting up. We’ve found if we put her on her play mat too fast, she spits up.
Sometimes during the day she falls asleep after eating, and she’s fairly good at doing this at night. Once in a while at night we have to rock her or walk with her to get her sleepy before putting her in her crib. But she’s also pretty good at going down sleepy and falling fully asleep after going into her crib.
One tricky thing right now is she’s been fighting her naps in the afternoon and evenings. You can tell she’s sleepy and could use a cat nap before her next feeding, but she gets really fussy and won’t just go down easily. We try all kinds of things to calm her — walking, bouncing, singing, walking her in the stroller, etc. — but sometimes she just has to get it out of her system and then eventually falls asleep.
2. Playing With Our Newborn
Penny loves her Baby Einstein play mat! She’s fascinated by the colors and loves knocking around the toys with her hands and kicking them with her feet. She’s grabbing the rings with her hands and pulling hard, and looking at herself in the mirror.
She also likes us to read and sing to her, but generally needs some visual stimulation, too. Simply walking around the house looking at everything entertains her. This helps when we’re out of the house, too! She loves taking it all in, so we’re getting her out more often. Observing this new world is fun for her — and tends to wear her out and make her nap!
3. Keeping Supplies On Hand
My husband and I should adopt the motto “be prepared” because, for the most part, we’re awesome at reviewing what we have on hand and what we need. We’re pretty well-stocked around here!
Whenever we leave the house, here’s what we have in the bag: diapers, wipes, pacifiers (two, in case one falls on the floor and there’s nowhere to wash it!), at least one extra outfit, blankets in case it’s chilly, at least two Enfamil 2-ounce pre-made bottles (since she eats usually 3.5-4.5 ounces per feeding now) and disposable nipples, a burp cloth and hand sanitizer.
At home, besides diapers and wipes, we always have powder formula, gallons of water, gas drops and Aquafor for her bum and dry spots on her head (she’s been dealing with cradle cap so I put Aquafor or baby lotion along her forehead sometimes). I’ll have another post soon about the gadgets and gizmos we couldn’t do without!
4. “Me” Time And “Us” Time
While I’m on maternity leave, we have a routine for the evenings that helps us have a little alone time after Penny goes to bed. My husband does her bedtime feeding while I have a little alone time to wash up, read a book — or sometimes I just use the time to shower! When she goes down, we can watch TV and talk, but we sometimes just go to sleep, especially if we’ve been up more with Penny the night before. Of course if she naps in the evening, we get a little extra chill time. But that’s never a guarantee!
During the day I can find a little time if she naps. Sometimes she really wants to sleep on me and I’m not as able to put her down. But when I can, I use the time to do dishes and laundry, catch up on emails or blog posts, or call my mom, etc. I used to nap when she napped, but I’m not doing that as often now.
Once I go back to work in three weeks, a lot of this will change. The plan I have in my head looks like this:
5:00 Get up, shower, dress
6:00 Get Penny up, dressed, eat breakfast while feeding her
7:00 Take Penny to daycare, go to work
4:00-5:00 Leave work (the earlier time is if I’m able to work through lunch)
5:00-6:00 Pick up Penny
8:00-9:00 J puts Penny to bed, I prepare Penny’s stuff for daycare (bottles, clothes, etc.) and make my lunch
Of course we’ll see how this all works out. I’ll have no idea until the first full week or so if this plan will work, and as always, I’ll remind myself to remain flexible!
So, that’s how things are rolling for us right now. I’m always interested in hearing how other families go about their day-to-day. Any tips?