How to Survive Your First Week with a Newborn

We officially have the first week with a newborn under our belts, and so I thought it would be super helpful for other first time mamas to round up all the things that helped us survive our first week with Keldon! 🙂

how to survive the first week with a newborn, baby must haves

A little background on my experience the first few days…

First things first, the first few days are the HARDEST. Having a newborn, breastfeeding, and the lack of sleep was way harder of an adjustment that I was mentally prepared for. I cried a lot, had baby blues and a learning curve those first few days, but I can honestly say now that we have found a groove, nursing is a million times easier once your milk lets down, you adjust to a new sleep schedule (especially after you get home), and it gets better. I was so fortunate to have the support of my mama followers on Instagram, because you guys were SO motivating and made me feel so much better when I was down. This season is short and does not last forever, and like you guys mentioned, it gets easier each and every day!

For me, the days in the hospital compared to being at home was a night and day difference for my mood. Don’t get me wrong, the nurses, doctors and lactation consultants were phenomenal and taught us so much. But since you and your baby get constant check ins, it made it hard to get any sleep since there was someone popping into your room what seemed to be every 15 minutes! I think I got a total of 3 hours of sleep the whole 72+ hours we were at the hospital… less than ideal when you are trying to take care and learn about your newborn while also taking care of your high-maintenance healing post delivery.

I also felt a lot of pressure to make breastfeeding work; breastfeeding was always my plan, but I thought hey, if it doesn’t work out, fed is best! At the hospital, Keldon had trouble latching and I was only making a very small amount of colostrum (which is totally normal), but I had the hardest time trying to get him that small amount, and it was really frustrating and painful. Keldon did not sleep very long stretches (about 20 minute stretches maybe each night at the hospital), and it was stressful trying to make it work, especially when your nips are in so much pain. 🙁

On top of that, when we had a visit from one of the lactation consultants, she noticed that Keldon had a little bit of a tongue tie, which we really didn’t know anything about. Being that she wasn’t a doctor, she couldn’t diagnose it, but she didn’t tell us in the most comforting way and Tom and I basically were thinking the worst since she was talking about long term effects on a major tongue tie (which Keldon didn’t end up having – his is minor, and you can do a very minor and painless surgery to cut the tongue tie if needed). She was very kind, but it wasn’t an easy thing to hear and may have blown it out of proportion a bit. At that point, I wanted to give up! I remember crying so much and trying to regroup before a nurse would come back in the room… so sad, haha! But I want to be completely transparent with you guys, since this is all normal and you aren’t alone!

Also, Tom was super supportive and helped whenever he could, but there’s only so much he could do. And I made him get some more sleep at night so that I could try and nap during the day. But he was so comforting and though he had zero experience with babies, he was patient and eager to learn. He’s the best and gave me so much emotional support!!

The light at the end of this dark tunnel was going home and my milk coming in. Since then, I’ve been able to catch up on sleep and really get into the routine (and enjoy the routine!) of breastfeeding and taking care of Keldon. I think my milk came in on day 5 postpartum – so the first couple of days at home were still hard, but it was so much more peaceful at home. We actually had a little bit of a scare because Keldon had gone about 8 hours without having any wet or dirty diapers, which was a sign of dehydration. After consulting the nurse hotline, we ended up giving Keldon 1 oz of formula after feedings so that he got enough until my milk came in. That worked like a charm, and he started sleeping so much better. After my milk was in, we stopped the formula and it was an easy transition to exclusively breastfeeding.

Now that you have a little background (or a lotta background – I’m an oversharer, haha!), here are some tips and must-haves for surviving your first week with a newborn!

TIPS:

  • Sleep when the baby sleeps! I know a lot of people say this, but it’s important, especially when you are sleep deprived. Keldon is sleeping long stretches at night now so I don’t always take a nap during the day, but when you aren’t sleeping much at night, naps will be your saving grace!
  • Accept help and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Whether that be your parents/in-laws coming over for a visit while you and your significant other catch up on a little sleep, or asking for advice. I hate asking for help, but the help is sometimes so needed for you and your well-being.
  • Have lots of snacks on hand and prep frozen meals (even better if you have someone offering to bring you meals!). Cooking and grocery shopping will be the last thing you want to worry about during this transition.
  • If you are nursing, try to drink a full bottle of water at each feeding. It helps with milk supply, and nursing makes you PARCHED! I actually purchased this smart water bottle recently that works with an app to track how much water you’re getting and also gives you notification reminders to drink more water (and the water bottle flashes red as a reminder if you haven’t drank any for a while as well)! Nursing or not, this is a really good way to help yourself drink more water.
  • Nursing also makes you super hungry. You should be getting 500 more calories in each day if you are nursing since it burns so many calories! So keep a snack stash next to your nursing station, too. I highly recommend lactation snacks, like these booby bites! One of my best friends made these for me, and they are delicious, somewhat healthy and help with milk supply. Perfect for snacking on!
  • Sign up for emails from The Bump and/or What To Expect. I have read so many informational articles both during pregnancy and after that have been great and answered many of my own questions. When you sign up, they ask you when you are due so that the newsletters that get sent to you are relevant to the stage you’re in.
  • It’s okay to cry! Sometimes with all those raging hormones, all you need is to cry for a little bit. Sometimes after I cry I feel like a new human again and like I got something off my chest, lol!
  • Set up a meeting with a lactation consultant at your hospital after you get home if you are still having trouble breastfeeding. We had a meeting set up, but ended up canceling it since we ended up getting the hang of it prior to the meeting.
  • Learn how to use your carseat before you go to the hospital to have your baby. Tom and I literally spent 1 hour trying to figure out his car seat to make sure it was set up correctly when we were about to leave the hospital to go home, and we were so anxious about going home at that point which didn’t help! We thought the hospital was going to be able to help us, but they didn’t help due to liability reasons. So we literally were YouTubing car seat videos and FaceTimed our parent friends to ask for help, lol!
  • Take a shower or bath, wash your hair, shave your legs – you’ll feel so refreshed!
  • Get ready for the day/put on makeup when you feel ready. My mood is much happier and I feel like I am much more productive when I get ready for the day! I don’t get ready every day by any means, but even doing so 2-3 days out of the week helps.
  • Netflix – watch a good show. 🙂 We have been playing The Office reruns all week long. Definite mood booster!
  • Remember that this is a very short season that will go by so fast. I can’t count on two hands how many of my readers told me this, and how much they missed the stage of late night feedings & snuggles, and the bond that grew from them. Listen to the song “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” by Darius Rucker (and have tissues ready) to lift your spirits and cope. You got this, mama!

MUST HAVES FOR MOM:

MUST HAVES FOR NEWBORN:

  • Babybum Diaper Cream Brush
  • Baby shampoo/bath wash & lotion
  • Baby bath
  • Burp cloths: Love these and these
  • Car seat: Obviously 🙂
  • Car seat cover: If you live in a cold climate!
  • Drying Rack: News flash if you didn’t know, newborn clothes shrink! I shrunk some of Keldon’s clothes by putting them in the dryer… woops. We now have this handy drying rack for line drying his clothes!
  • DockATot: Multi-functional lounger that we have been having Keldon lounge in and also using it for co-sleeping (you can use code STYLEDPRESS10 for 10% off!)
  • Rock ‘n Play: We keep this in our living room for Keldon to hang out in/take naps in while we are hanging out in the living room and doing things around the house. It rocks itself and has tunes and white noise!
  • Love to Dream Swaddle: If you have a baby that likes to keep his arms up like Keldon (he did this in the womb, so it’s natural for him!), you need this sleep swaddle! It’s awesome, and they have different sizes as they grow. Keldon currently uses the small size.
  • Halo SleepSack Swaddle: Another swaddle we love to use, but the Love to Dream one takes the cake for being the favorite.
  • Motherlove Diaper Balm
  • Owlet Sleep Sock: For peace of mind!
  • White noise machine: Love this portable one
  • White noise/soother and night light: We keep this one  in our room
  • Wipe dispenser: This is soo handy! Has a weight thing in it so you only pull out 1 wipe at a time
  • WubbaNub: This guy has been great soother for Keldon, and he isn’t interested in any other nuk!

how to survive the first week with a newborn, baby must haves

I hope that this is helpful to any nervous first time mamas out there!! If you made it through this whole blog post, thank you and way to stick through it! 😛 I know it was a long one!

Leave a Comment

21 Comments

  1. Megan wrote:

    I really needed this today. I’m just over a week in with my little guy and it definitely makes me feel better to know I’m not the one who thinks it’s tough. I randomly started crying yesterday because my husband goes back to work next week. You are so right about getting at least somewhat ready for the day. I really do feel so much better and more productive. Thanks so much for being so real and open!

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Hi Megan! Thanks so much for your comment! And yes – I know exactly what you mean. So glad this was relatable and that we aren’t alone in this journey! ❤️

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  2. Sarah wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this! I appreciate the real ness of this post. I am due in May and obviously there are so many unknowns it’s a bit scary! I look forward to hearing more about your experiences as you and your baby grow!

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Thanks so much, Sarah! And congratulations on expecting in May!! So many unknowns for sure, but it’s all worth it. ❤️

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  3. Ilona wrote:

    Oh my I remember first few weeks with my first newborn, I cried probably every day! She was also spitting up a lot and not nursing super well and all the advice was good but overwhelming. I wish I listened to my instincts just a bit more and if I felt like feeding on demand would be better (which I did anyway), that’s what I should have been doing without feeling guilty. Or holding if she needed to be held. Or letting go of messes and dirty dishes. And yes, asking for help! To hold the baby while I’m recharging or even better – mop the floors or do laundry while I’m bonding with the baby you’re doing great, there might be ups and downs, but hands down first week or two are the hardest!

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Hi Ilona! Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience – it’s a short season and it’s so comforting knowing we aren’t alone in feeling this way! ❤️❤️

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  4. Lexy Hall wrote:

    Love seeing what other mamas are using and have found to be favorites! My son is 7 months now and I cant tell you how helpful all the bump and what to expect articles have been!!! I highly suggest the ollie swaddle if you are ever looking for another swaddle! And one piece of advice for you is look up @takingcarababies she is a sleep GODESS. Her class helped my life CHANGE. You have no idea how much better it can be haha!! Keldon is so very cute Taylor! You and Tom are so lucky and are doing a great job from what I can tell on insta!! Im blown away with how well you’re keeping up with your blog and ig!

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Hi Lexy!! I love hearing mama recommendations too! I need to look into the Ollie swaddle, and I have the class for Taking Cara Babies on deck and ready to take!! I heard such great things and am excited to take the course!

      And thank you so much for your sweet words!

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  5. The first baby is so hard! I totally relate with your experience concerning the lactation consultants. Mine with my first baby were so pushy. I remember one of them scolding me harshly because my daughter’s nose was pressed against my breast. She said quite sarcastically, “how do you expect her to breathe when you’re covering her nose?!??”

    I just had my third in Japan and they really support fed is best. They gave him formula until my milk came in and he had no issues switching to exclusively breastfeeding after it did come in.

    Congrats, Mama! You got this. Treasure these difficult beginnings because they will pass so quickly!!

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Wow, I’m so sorry Laura! Patience is definitely needed by the teacher in breastfeeding, it’s clearly not a cake walk.

      And thank you so much – soaking up every snuggle I can!

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  6. Sara wrote:

    Thank you! Every one always makes it seem so easy! I’m now 2 weeks in and definitely getting more in a routine. I cried almost every day for the first week. She had problems latching and low birth weight … she was only 4lbs 14oz. The hospital made me supplement with formula until I was pumping enough milk to supplement in addition to breastfeeding. The lactation consultant was a help but I found our pediatrician to be the most helpful. How long is Keldon sleeping overnight. Any sleeping tips?

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • So true, Sara!! I definitely got the impression that it was something so natural and easy to get the swing of because of how it’s portrayed! And the low birth weight is so nerve wrecking, isn’t it?? Keldon lost around 8% of his weight at first and we were so worried.

      At first K was waking me every 1.5-2 hours for feedings, but now we go 3 and sometimes one 4 hour stretch in the night! Biggest sleep advice right now is feeding more during the day so they have a great base at night and don’t need quite as much! ❤️

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  7. Lindsey wrote:

    Taylor, you are so real and honest, and I believe this is what your followers love the most! Everything you said above is spot on. There are so many emotions, and crying every day is normal! There is so much pressure with breastfeeding. Even if you have the mentality that fed is best, if you can’t breastfeed you feel like you’ve somehow failed. You don’t fully realize the depth of what you’ll feel until you experience it, but know that it you are doing great, you are NOT alone, and like you said, the days, months and years will get better and more joyful! I wish I had read more blogs like yours when I had gone through the infant years because it’s helpful to have full, honest truth about all the ups and downs! You’re doing great, mama, Keldon is a lucky boy to have you!

    Posted 2.2.19 Reply
    • Lindsey – thank you, thank you, thank you! That is definitely my goal when opening up and writing these posts. ❤️❤️❤️

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  8. Rebekah wrote:

    I really appreciate your honesty in this post! I’m due at the end of April and a bit nervous for that first week because I’ve heard you are exhausted and emotional. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Posted 2.3.19 Reply
    • Rebekah, so happy that this post was helpful!! Good luck in your final few months of pregnancy – they fly by!

      Posted 2.3.19 Reply
  9. Dana wrote:

    All so true and so helpful to share with first time moms! My 2 daughters are 6 and 8, and I remember the newborn phase as if it were yesterday. It’s wonderful and seemingly impossibly all at the same time. I’m impressed that you’re already getting dressed so cute and are getting out and about! You look great! It’s a MUST so you don’t feel cooped up and stuck in the house. I loved letting my girls nap in the car while I drove through to get a coffee and enjoyed a little quiet time ‘out of the house’ but still in the comfort of my own car haha. Love seeing your outfits and baby posts!! Keep on doing your thing and enjoy those sweet moments, and know it’s ok to feel overwhelmed/exhausted/defeated at times, and it’s ok that not every minute of every day is enjoyable. But overall, motherhood is the absolute best ❤️

    Posted 2.4.19 Reply
    • Dana, thank you so much for your comment!! That is so accurate in how I’d describe it too – wonderful but seemingly impossible. And I think I have some coffee drive through trips in my near future. ❤️

      Posted 2.4.19 Reply
      • Dana wrote:

        I’d highly recommend it! ☕️

        Posted 2.4.19 Reply
  10. Katie wrote:

    Hi Taylor, THANK YOU so much for being so real and honest about your hardships of new mommy-ing. I’m due in July with my first and I found this article very very helpful.

    Also you have the best mom style, what are the details from your last photo on this post? Where is your gray sweater and Keldon’s onesie from?

    Posted 4.11.19 Reply

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