How to Survive Newborn-hood

Written by Meg Haley
Published February 8, 2019
tips for surviving a newborn tips for surviving a newborn

Welcome to parenthood: no sleep, learning to do everything one-handed, not fitting into any of your clothes, and questioning every decision you make. (Aren’t you glad we didn’t tell you any of that was going to happen before you joined the club?) Even though your mind is full of things to do, doctor appointments to remember, and feeding schedules to track, give us just a few moments of your precious time. You’ll be glad you did—we’ve got some tips on surviving, and maybe even thriving—during these early days.

Lower your expectations

Give yourself and everyone else a break. Even (especially) your baby. Everyone handles this time differently and everyone does the best they can. If you’re struggling to bond with the baby or are finding yourself more anxious than you can handle, call your doctor right now.

Write yourself a note

On the mirror, the back of your hand, or above the baby’s crib. Let it be a positive mantra-esque message that will remind you that you’re a damn hero. You’re keeping yourself and another person alive, and you’re doing a great job. Every decision you’re making is the right one for this moment.

Say no

If someone invites you out and you immediately have a pit in your stomach about making it work, say no, even if your baby is “old enough” per the pediatrician. If it doesn’t feel right for you or the baby, say no regardless of who is asking.

However, also say yes, to help

Even if you feel like you’ve mostly got it together, if someone offers to help, find a way to take them up on it, within your own limitations. If their initial offer doesn’t meet a need, let them know something that would be helpful. Odds are they’re throwing a shot in the dark hoping you’ll point them in the right direction. If the most helpful thing is leaving a pot of soup on your front porch: be honest. If they’ve ever had a baby, they’ll understand.

Protect your own

Is the baby screaming in the backseat? Pull over to breastfeed, even though it’s going to make you late. Baby sleeping? Put a huge sign over your doorbell so the grocery and diaper delivery people can text you instead of waking her up. Baby up all night? Cancel all the plans and put everyone down for a nap. Let yourself go insular and don’t let social pressures or even internal pressures stress you out.