Newborn Babies: The First Few Weeks Are Harder Than You Can Possibly Imagine
Today I was remembering – if you can you remember being in a sleep-deprived fog? – my son’s first few weeks.
I was talking with the father of a one-month-old baby yesterday. Experienced moms will recognize when I describe the facial expression of the new parent: the mix of being in shock, exhaustion, and disbelief that it’s really this hard to be a mom (or dad).
It’s impossible to communicate to first-time parents just how hard the first few weeks are. You know it’s going to be hard, but it’s always a shock that it’s this hard.
All newborn babies do is eat, sleep, refuse to sleep, pee, poop, and cry. They do all these things on a fairly random and unpredictable schedule. It’s frightening, frustrating and exhausting for parents trying to understand what’s going on.
The most important thing to remember is when your newborn cries, or will not fall asleep, it’s not a reflection on you. When your baby cries for an hour and nothing you do helps, it’s not your fault. Try not take it personally – much easier said than done – and know that it will get easier.
Yes, things will get better and life will get easier. Around 6-8 weeks, babies start to fall into a routine of sorts. And, about this time they start to genuinely respond and react to their parents. They’ll turn their heads to look at you, open their eyes wide when you sing to them, and start smiling. You will forgive them every sleepless night and three-hour crying marathon for the first smile.
Moms: what advice would you share with a brand new parent, or parent to be, for coping with the first few weeks?