|Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby|
|You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.|
|Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn|
|When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!|
Just the fact that you know they will grow out of it in six months to a year will motivate you to find quality used or bargain basement items. Smart moms will clip coupons, combine discount possibilities and be close to the door when the sale racks are 50% off or more. A good winter coat can and should be purchased at a discount, as well as shoes, boots, and at least one good dress up item per season. The kids can get by in jeans and sweaters at school, but once in a while they need to look spit polished. Since there is a good chance it will only last a season (or maybe two), best to find a great department store with regular clearance sales.
Shoes are one thing that cannot be compromised. Since everyone stomps their feet upon the pavement a little differently, a pre-owned shoe can only cause your growing child's foot difficulties. Best to invest a little and buy a quality shoe even if you end up cutting corners in other areas like T-shirts, pants, sweaters, hats, and so on.
Underwear, socks, tights and long underwear need to be purchased. There are sometimes great buy two, get one free sales to stock up with. If you know your kid loves blue and will be a size ten next year, go ahead and buy it now. The worst case scenario is that you will have a birthday item on hand for one of their friends' birthdays. Most sales are off-seasonal in nature so if you can estimate that your kid will be basically a little taller and wider next season, it pays to shop ahead.
|Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch|
|If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.|
|Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped|
|At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.|
Consider organizing a hand me down system with neighborhood moms. The older child passes his clothes to the younger child, and you return the favor. Many times this is an ideal solution. Nothing gets thrown away, and money is saved. The chances are, they have so many clothes that they haven't come close to wearing them out yet.
Basic baby equipment includes a stroller, toys and didactic toys geared to increased concentration and learning. These are all great to pick up used at Goodwill or a garage sale. You may need to oil the wheels and adjust the seat, washing the cloth backing in the washing machine. At least when they spill on it you won't feel nervous about the money you invested.
If you get used teddy bears and other stuffed animals, wash them in the dishwasher. They will be sterilized and ready to be nuzzled against with no risk of bacteria or infection passed along from the first child.
Kids' things are transitionary to the maximum. Like a revolving door, clothes and shoes come in, go out, and the cycle only starts slowing down when they hit puberty. Even then, the same rules apply. Invest in shoes, get coats and jeans on discount, and use hand me down's whenever possible. In most cases they have hardly been used and can carry you through a season of everyday wardrobe needs.
|Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings|
|When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!|
|Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad|
|Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.|