I’m prepping for my quarterly Newborn Essentials “How to Thrive Not Just Survive with Your Newborn” class.
It’s my favorite class and here’s why.
In this class, we play. It’s less heady, and more hands on. We laugh (a lot). Dads and moms practice tying Bobas and Moby wraps. We discuss the ins and outs of poopy diapers, spit up, and those weird dried up cords. (What do we do with that??!) We snack (healthfully) while discussing car seats and product choices. We discuss mindfulness, health and wellness while parenting a newborn—it happens.
My class is not all-encompassing. Seriously, how could it be until you meet your babe? We try to come close. After this class, you should have a good idea that all you need, for the essentials of becoming a healthy family and thriving with your newborn is love, rest and a place to build a nest. That rhymes and I wasn’t even trying. But it’s true and it works.
We discuss the ins and outs of breast vs. bottle. Cloth vs. disposable. Zippers vs snaps. To bathe or not to bathe. How to get meconium off of newborn butts. But let’s face it. Anyone who has moved through the newborn period of their child’s life knows that those little things aren’t the big thing.
Love is the big thing. You and your partner have made it this far. It’s all in the final countdown. You’ve had your blessing ways, showers, and near-40 weeks of doctors/midwife visits. You’ve done your birthing classes, breastfeeding 101’s and now, you’re waiting for THE DAY. Once that miracle occurs, and it’s still miraculous—each and every birth that I attend— you are now a family of three(or more). What happens next is all trial and error. The thing that makes the biggest difference to thriving not just surviving?
Remember? You are each other’s biggest fans. You have decided to manifest your love by bringing forth a tiny new human. And mamas, this one is even less predictable than you felt in your 3rd trimester! This one not only cries, it poops, pees, eats, and cries some more.
New parents, I beg you: see each other through with love turned to grace through laughter, intuition, and trusting each other’s parenting. When you’re awake all night, learning to read cues and feeding your baby, remind each other with a kiss and a smile, that this too shall pass. I promise it does. Sleep will once again come. Your bed will be your own (eventually). Moms, you get your boobs–and bodies–back over time. Newborns will begin to regulate. And when your baby stops crying and first smiles at you, sleeplessness falls away. All you have left is overwhelming love. Pampers, boppys, baby Merlins, pack ’n plays, that BOB stroller you’ve got at the top of your list…none of it matters. Just love.
Love comes in many forms. In this vulnerable time of your lives together, seek out support! Hire a postpartum doula. Take your best friend up on offers to shop, clean your house or do a load of laundry. Ask your community for help with meals (photocopy recipes from the First 40 Days and hand them out.) Tell grandparents, friends and other family members the things you need most to thrive: Time for rest. Self-care. Warmth in all it’s forms-food, body work and physically and time as a new family without interruption.
Be in love with your nest. Prep it with candles, essential oils, yummy snacks, beautiful pictures and art, your favorite pillows and blankets. Love your space. If you do this, you’ll want to stay. Love the minutia. Love hours gazing at fingers and toes. Laying in is what you need to get your rest and learn cues about feeding, crying, and every little newborn need. Moms, you and your baby are a dyad. This means each of you relies on the other for maximum function. Mamas, trust your intuition and listen to your body and your baby. Give yourselves 40 days of rest.
And if after this, you still need that Newborn Essentials list, well, here it is: (And it’s all on Amazon Prime!)
- The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother by Heng Ou. The first 40 days after the birth of a child offer an essential and fleeting period of rest and recovery for the new mother. Based on author Heng Ou’s own postpartum experience with zuo yuezi, a set period of “confinement,” in which a woman remains at home focusing on healing and bonding with her baby, The First Forty Days revives the lost art of caring for the mother after birth.
- Boba Wrap. This doesn’t mean your other baby carrying devices are no good. It’s just my favorite for holding newborns closely, safely, AND giving mama some extra fabric at the end to hold her abdominal pieces/parts in.
- A co-sleeping device. My favorite is “Snuggle Me” organic. It’s expensive, but man does it work. Baby can fall asleep on you and you gently place her between you for a better ‘few minutes’ of rest 😉
- Diapers. Boulder county has a great cloth diaper service called Bundle. If disposable is your preference, give The Honest Company a try. Cute patterned, properly sized diapers come by the case to your doorstep.
- Breastfeeding stuff. Well, your boobs are the most important piece of this, but theres still ‘stuff’ (because it wouldn’t be a newborn list without stuff). Some Nipple balm (Sage Birth & Wellness has our own Nipple cream that is all organic, safe to use, soothing and baby can breastfeed through it). Less important: a pillow—my favorite is the lesser known “Nursie”. You can sit anywhere with it, it’s portable and it works. Finally, if you plan to return to work. Or life. Grab a hospital grade breast pump. This last bit you have plenty of time to figure out…pumping usually starts much later in the journey AFTER you’ve established a good nursing pattern.
Disclaimer: Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone. We are a judgement-free zone and we also know countless well-attached, wonderful mom/baby dyads who bottle feed! If you’re a bottle feeding momma, my favorite is Dr. Browns bottles–they help reduce gas, regulate flow with appropriate sized nipples, and are easy to hold.
To all of you who want to fill that nursery—and every corner of living space—with everything under the sun? Well, there’s lots of cute, fun (and practical) items to add to this list, but these 5 are the real deal. Maybe there’s another blogpost just for the ‘stuff’. Well, probably not.
The stuff is love. Lots of it. Spread that stuff thick and you’ll not only survive life with your newborn, you’ll thrive.