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Newborn baby exhaustion is no joke!
Our beautiful baby boy was born this January. To say I was awe struck with my adorable little man would be a huge understatement. I was in love!
But with my husband back at work within one week of his birth, and no family living locally, I was been pushed back into the depths of newborn baby exhaustion head first. Only this time I had a two-year-old to take care of as well.
I was reminded today of how hard the newborn baby exhaustion phase was with my daughter two years ago. It’s funny how you forget about the minuscule amount of sleep you got during the first few months with a newborn.
Surprisingly, however, I was slightly less exhausted this time with two babies then I was with only one. I think that may be because I’ve ironed out some of the kinks that come with having a newborn. Also, baby #2 was full term and 2x the size of our daughter (who was born prematurely) so I wasn’t quite as worried about him.
Here are 7 helpful ways to help cope with newborn baby exhaustion:
#1. Try to shower and brush your teeth first thing in the morning.
The first thing I do in the morning after climbing out of bed is spend 10 minutes to pull myself together. I take a quick shower, brush my teeth and put on something besides my pajamas. It is so easy to think you will have time later, but with a newborn time seems to slip through your fingers like sand. And then it’s 5 PM and you’re still sitting in your pajamas! Just the act of showering and cleaning up helps to trick my brain into thinking that I haven’t been up in 1 to 2 hour increments all night long.
Its like how the airlines tell you to put the mask on yourself before you put one on your child. You NEED to take care of yourself first before you try to take care of others. If you don’t, you will struggle so much more through the newborn baby exhaustion phase, I promise!
#2. Work as a team.
Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork! Divide and conquer tasks with your spouse. Take turns with daily to-do’s. If one of you is feeding the baby, the other can help care for the other children. A new baby means all hands on deck!
Good communication is so important. Newborn baby exhaustion is no reason to take out your frustrations on your spouse. Kindness can go a long way, especially when it feels like you haven’t slept in ages.
#3. Except help from others.
Excepting help from others is something I have always had a hard time with. But as a mom with no family living locally I decided it was time to change my attitude.
My local Mom’s club has a meal program where you can sign up to bring a new mom home a home cooked meal (several members can sign up for a different night over a 2 week period).
At first I felt really guilty about having other busy moms cook meals for us (even though they did it for all the new moms). But it was so helpful and kind! There is nothing like a home-cooked meal to make you feel more like a human again when you are exhausted with a newborn.
Since then I have cooked meals for 2 other families with new babies and I am so happy to do it! (Added bonus: I have met so many new moms!)
#4. Try to squeeze in a catnap.
You can spot a new parent from a mile away: the dazed look and bloodshot eyes are a total give way. Although you love your new bundle of joy, you probably don’t love their sleep schedule (or that they sometimes think that its daytime when it’s midnight!)
You may feel compelled to do chores when your baby takes a nap during the day. Don’t do it! Take the opportunity to sleep when you can, even if its for just 15 minutes. Studies show that naps are extremely beneficial to overall wellness, especially when you are awake every 1-3 hours at night.
Sleep deprivation is taxing on your immune system, increases your risk of chronic illness and heart disease and increases your risk of postpartum depression. You are going to be tired when you have a newborn, so treat yourself to a nap every chance you get!
Pssst!: A sleep mask is helpful for daytime snoozing.
#5. Give up perfectionism.
It is impossible to keep your house immaculate when you have a newborn. It’s totally OK, you will survive I promise!
A newborn takes so much energy and the time will be gone before you know it. Give yourself permission to let the house get a little messy. Eventually you will find your groove again and can clean to your hearts desire. In the meantime, get comfortable and snuggle with that adorable baby!
To swaddle is to snugly wrap your baby in a thin blanket for comfort and security. It helps keep your baby from disturbing themselves with their own startle reflex (your baby can actually startle themselves awake!). When baby sleeps longer then parents have the opportunity to sleep longer. Its a win for everyone!
Hint: adin + anais are your friends!
#7. Have compassion for yourself.
Self compassion is a valuable parenting skill. If you take care of yourself you will be happier taking care of others. (You can read more about self care for moms here).
It is also important to make sure your expectations are realistic. You aren’t going to fit into your pregnancy jeans this week. You may forget to brush your teeth some mornings or even keep your pj’s on for a few consecutive days (in which case deodorant is your friend!).
Eventually, this time will pass and you will find yourself again. In the meantime be malleable with yourself. Be present with your tiny human(s). You can do everything, you just can’t do everything at the exact same time. So be kind to yourself.
#8. Have gratitude.
New babies are perhaps the sweetest, most terrifying and most unconditionally loving people in our lives. With their precious chubby cheeks, perfect teeny fingers and toes, and smooth baby skin it is impossible for parent(s) not to fall in love. Even though the responsibly of newborn care is overwhelming, you are so lucky to have this incredible experience.
Thank the universe for the wonderful blessing that is your new baby. There is simply no greater gift in the world.
Do you have (or are you expecting) a new baby and are wondering how you are going to make it through the newborn baby exhaustion stage? I would love you hear your thoughts!
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❤️ Patient & RN Advocate
🖥 Blogger/Freelance Writer
🏥 Urban Zen Integrative Therapist