Top newborn survival tips for parents
Top newborn survival tips for parents from a professional newborn photographer and Paediatric RN.
Hello to my new parents, parents to be and parents adding to their families. Today I’m going to go through my top newborn survival tips for parents.
I must say its hard to listen to another person giving out parenting advice, oh here we go again you might be thinking, what’s their magic wand miracle, what are they selling etc etc. The truth is there is no magic wand when it comes to newborns, if I had one, I’d be a billionaire. What am I selling? Actually nothing, however I’m finding a vast majority of my clients have similar questions about the newborn phase and who to listen to, what advice works and what is a savior?
That said these are just tips and advice from my experience as an children’s nurse of 13 years and a Mother of 2 children and in no particular order. (see disclaimer at bottom of post)
Top newborn survival tip for parents #1
Be kind to yourself, this is honestly the hardest one to learn. Maybe the birth didn’t go the way you expected, your milk didn’t come in quick enough, now you’re struggling with sleep deprivation, feeding issues, the new house routine and balancing it all. In my experience we Mother’s are brilliant, if not expert at Mum guilt and its crushing. I wish I was kinder to myself about my body after giving birth, the pressure I continued to put on myself to dress, still be presentable and especially about the breast feeding difficulties I had with my first daughter.
Just remember it took time to grow a human life, it takes time for everything to find it’s place. So ultimately tell yourself something you love about yourself and about been a Mother daily, mindset is powerful.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #2
Sleep noise machines, seriously these are amazing. Your newborn listens to the sound of your heartbeat and a loud whooshing sound for 9 months. A sound machine helps to recreate this sound, to help them settle and soothe. I had one in the bedroom, a portable one for the car and pram, plus an app on my phone.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #3
Hip/SIDS safe swaddle and sleep bags, no longer do you need a thousand muslins and blankets. These are fabulous, especially the ones that cuddle the top half of the body and allow the newborns hips and legs to kick and be free. They provide so much comfort to the newborn and you, as you don’t need to worry about blankets covering faces, or if you wrapped them to tightly. My personal favourites were the ergo pouch brand, they lasted both kids and have been passed onto friends.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #4
Zip up onsies, you can thank me in the middle of the night. Learn from my mistakes, the cute must have button up outfits become totally annoying come night feeds and changes. Trying to do up a thousand buttons and match them, on a onsie suit at 3am when your sleep deprived is near impossible.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #5
Baby wearing, I’ve spoken about this before as my love for baby wearing was big. I had 2 colically babies, yes 2! My second was no where near as bad as my first, but still 4 hours every evening perfectly on cue. Baby wearing both times, helped me to have 2 free hands, eat, breastfed on the go and for my first severe reflux child, kept her upright as much as possible post feeds. It helped me to carry and settle my babies and form a beautiful bond. There are many types of baby wearing and for more information go here to carry Australia for an abundance of information.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #6
A little carry around nappy station caddy case, these are fabulous because you can stock it up and take it anywhere in the house. I suggest taking it into your room at night time and then keeping it with you in your living area during the day. There will always be a big wee or poo when your changing a nappy, I do also suggest putting a fresh nappy under the old one, ready to go. The number ONE place that newborns and infants fall from is the change table, so a matt on the floor and a portable caddy case is a great way to prevent falls in our young ones.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #7
A light nappy bag to begin with! Seriously I had my first child nearly 5 years ago and got the trendy nappy bag. Unfortunately, it was also heavy and weighty before you even had anything in it. I suggest looking for an ergonomic light weight nappy bag, it really makes a difference once its fully stocked. I also suggest a spare set of clothes and a wet bag, seriously so many poo-plosions happen when you’re out and especially post car rides.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #8
You don’t need a routine, feel free to cuddle your baby as much as you like and be flexible. There are so many parenting books out there, do this and your baby will fall into routine and do that etc etc. It’s honestly so overwhelming that I actually became afraid of my baby having bad habits or they might never sleep alone. They first 12 weeks really are the 4th trimester for Mum and bub, its extremely hard, exhausting, amazing and a big learning curve. Newborns grow rapidly and go through so many physical and neurological changes in this first 12 weeks and as such needs change constantly. They have peak crying periods at certain weeks of growth, cluster feeding at other weeks of growth and they are adapting to a constantly changing environment, unlike the womb which is completely secure and very predictable.
Research has shown it’s okay to pick up and cuddle your baby as much as you like in that first 12 weeks, it won’t create bad habits. Remember they spend 9 months with you, they don’t want to be apart from you.
First time around I tried to put my baby down, start routines around 6 weeks and it just set me up for failure. My baby wasn’t ready, yours may be so just see how it goes. So instead I started a consistent night routine, bath, baby massage, feed, wrap and cuddles and then after weeks of this my baby went to sleep by 5.30pm every evening until the age of 1. My second baby I just went with the flow, still did the same night routine, although she never went to sleep before midnight everyday due to colic. I cuddled my second baby more, baby wore more, breastfed whenever she demanded and after 6 months of age when we did sleep training, it was brilliant and easy.
Find what works for you and your family, what works for someone else might not work for yours.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #9
If you plan to do sleep training, start when your baby is 6 months old or after. This is advice from our sleeping coach, who is also an experienced children’s nurse and Mother. Her advice was as hard as it may be in that first 6 months, if you plan to sleep train wait until the 6 month mark, when they are past the 4 month sleep regression and a lot of significant changes. Trying it before then she suggested may be ‘wasted, stressful time’ and you have to start all over again.
Top newborn survival tip for parents #10
Do a infant and child focused CPR and first aid course, ask anyone who is regularly going to look after your child to do it with you. You never expect to be that 1% where things will happen and go wrong, so be prepared. The number 1 reason I find parents attend the courses I teach on, are they are starting solids and very anxious about chocking. Knowing how to quickly identify chocking and acting, can save your child’s life. It really is an amazing survival tip, literally.
For more information you can search for infant and child focused CPR courses near you or go to child revive.
The Royal Hospital Children’s, Melbourne is a wealth of information and they have a great section on their website dedicated to parents. Their facts sheets section on their website is brilliant, informative and helpful (click here) and is also available as an app on your phone. RCH, Melbourne even have a unsettled babies clinic to help and support parents of newborns up until the child is 6 months of age. They also have a great little fact sheet on colic and unsettled babies that you can find here.
Their is a lot of support out there, so chat to your health care professional about support that you might need. Remember like their disclaimer on their website, the fact sheets are information and never to replace seeking medical attention when necessary.
I think the list could go on and hence there are so many parenting books and advice out there. In the end as much as we question ourselves and is this right, listen to your gut or seek advice from a qualified health care professional. I’ve never heard anyone say parenting is easy, so remember to be kind to yourself and if help is offered accept it.
If you’re a first time parent or 4th time parent, every stage poses it challenges and that first 12 weeks definitely is a big adjustment. I do hope that my list helps in some way or gives you an idea you never even thought of before.
If your interested in seeing my latest work go to my Instagram page here. Feel free to look through my website for lots of information on my services starting here and get in contact with me here. I do book several months in advance as I take limited newborn bookings per month due to all my commitments.
If your curious about any brands I used or any more tips feel free to just email me and we can have no obligation chats anytime.
Have a brilliant day
(DISCLAIMER: This information are based on my own personal experience, you should not use this to replace seeking medical attention when needed. No responsibility and liability is taken by Felicity Styles Photography.)