Our little Sammy has just passed his 3-week birthday this week and we’re over the moon in love with him! He’s a great baby, super cute, and just has a way of grabbing your heart and drawing you in. We find ourselves staring at him, laughing at his funny little mannerisms and admiring his every move because we just know he’s brilliant!
How Can Newborns Have So Many Bodily Functions???
All that foofy crap aside, this little dude is a burping, pooping, peeing, spitting-up, booger machine! Seriously, things fly out of every orifice with absolutely no warning! It’s a steady stream of feeding, changing, cleaning and burping around here. Just when you think you’ve got him all settled in for a nap, half of the bottle that you just got done feeding him shoots out his mouth and nose all over the clean little outfit you just wrangled him into. Back to square one.
While we think that Sammy is a good baby, he cries. This is where you say, “of course he cries, he’s a baby!” right? Well, he cries for no particular reason sometimes and Matt and I being relatively logical adults have a hard time understanding this behavior. There must be a reason, right? Diaper changed, bottle empty, burps up and out, nothing pinching or poking him, and he cries. Such a sweet little face goes instantaneously from sheer contentment and calm to scrunched up red pre-scream and that’s when we start searching for answers. Is he bored? Is he STILL hungry? Did he have a bad daydream? Is he pissed because he doesn’t like the giggling monkeys on the front of his onesie?
Even though we’re only a few weeks in to this journey, we’ve already learned some good tricks for dealing with these little aliens…in order to hopefully save you from a few sleepless nights or a little bit of stress, here’s some things that have worked for us:
– Feed, feed, feed. At this young age, you can go all out and feed them whenever they show the signs of being hungry. Even though we may think that they just couldn’t fit any more in, they probably can! Leaning in with an open mouth, sticking the tongue out and rooting around are all signs of hunger, but you know your baby and his/her signs.
– Change it up. Just when you think you’ve tried everything, take them to a different room, go outside, try a new holding position or throw some music on. They get bored just like we do, something new will stimulate them.
– “The burp lock”. We’ve already found that when Sammy wakes up with a cry (or a scream more like it) then it often works to pick him up and burp him. Sometimes there’s a stubborn burp in there that’s leftover from sucking down the last bottle.
– Take a break. If you have somebody to relieve you, take advantage of it for a while. Go do something “normal” for a while and let the baby hang out with some willing soul while you recharge. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby!
– Move! When you were pregnant, you likely moved around a lot…babies like movement. Cradle them and swing them in your arms, do some squats, pace, dance, or whatever it is that you feel comfortable doing, but move! It’s good for you, too!
– Talk, sing, or hum to them. They’re learning their own voices and sounds and hearing your voice is comforting and calming. Sometimes even wailing back at them when they’re crying will change their perspective on the whole experience.
– Last, but probably most important, go be YOU! Be a couple, be a family! Get out and do the things that you and your spouse used to do before you got all pregnant and then started dealing with a little one. Go grab a drink, visit with friends, go to a park, etc. For example, Matt and I spend a lot of time visiting wineries and partaking in tasting…we’ve already packed Sammy up several times to visit tasting rooms. The key is packing a good diaper bag with plenty of clean clothes and diapers and a couple of bottles, and being flexible. If you have to cut and run because of a screamy baby, be prepared with an escape plan. One of us is always ready to grab him and step outside if needed.
It’s easy to get into a rut when you’re caring for a little on 24/7 and we tend to forget to try new things. Get your mind outside of the standard feed/change/burp/sleep cycle and remember that this is your journey; babies will adapt to your life if you give them the opportunity to do so. You can read all of the books and instruction manuals out there, but nothing will tell you how to love and care for your baby the way that your own parental instincts will, so trust yourself and enjoy every moment. The biggest lesson we’ve already learned is that time flies faster than we can ever imagine. Each stage is temporary and babies are growing and learning at break-neck speed so when things get difficult, take comfort in knowing that this too shall pass! Before we all know it we’ll be sending Sammy off to college!