What's It REALLY Like Having a Newborn Baby at Home?
The arrival of your little bundle of joy means you've entered the brave, new world of parenthood. Pregnancy is in the past. No more doctor visits, no more blood draws, and no more labor pains. The unsolicited advice is sure to continue, though, so grin and bear it. Now, it's all about your baby. And while they are adorable and cute, they don't come with instruction manuals. Buckle up and find out what the day in the life of newborns is really like.
A mother hold her baby
Photo Source: Flickr/Jessica Pankratz
What Time Is It?
First off, you won't need an alarm clock anymore. The sound of a crying baby is one that can't be blocked out and absolutely will get you out of bed, and you're going to hear that quite frequently throughout the night. In fact, the concept of time becomes a bit irrelevant. Whether it is 2:00 PM or 2:00 AM, you're probably bound to be feeding, changing, or holding your baby.
Diapers, Diapers Everywhere!
Changing diapers becomes second nature after, oh, about a day and half of bringing your baby home. At first, you and your spouse will hover over your baby while one changes and one assists; swapping out the dirty diaper for a dry one, handing a tube of ointment for a red tush, or handling the soiled onesie as that is guaranteed to happen. Death, taxes, and diaper explosions.
Photo Source: Flickr/Olaf Gradin
The only one in your home who will now be getting any solid sack time is your baby. You won't, that's for sure. A sound night's sleep for you has moved from the category of "regular basis" to "rare commodity."
One of the best pieces of unsolicited advice you'll get is to sleep when your baby sleeps. Uh huh. That works well in theory but isn't very practical (or it was thought up by someone who doesn't have kids!). The truth is that there are so many other things to do that can only be done when your baby is napping. Cleaning the house, taking a shower, and doing laundry are three of the biggest. None of these tasks is easily performed with your baby awake and needing your constant attention. That's not to say you won't be able to catch some zzzzz now and then when your baby is asleep, but for those who think it's as easy as crashing on the couch for the entire duration of your baby's nap? Ppffffttt!!!
The Big Four
If you have any hang-ups or get grossed out quite easily by bodily functions, your baby will cure you of that pretty quickly. Pee, poop, puke and snots. The Big Four. At some point, you WILL be wearing all four of them. Your hands, your arms, your shirt, or your lap -- fear not, your baby doesn't discriminate. And it won't just happen in the convenience of your home where a change of clothes is in the next room. Prepare for membership to this exclusive the club!
A baby has some tummy time
Photo Source: Flickr/Honza Soukup
Much like your former sleep schedule, kiss sitting down to a relaxing meal goodbye. Newborns are eating and pooping machines with all the other stuff thrown in between feedings and diaper changes. You might as well adopt the ability to eat a) on the run and b) in stages. And if you weren't a coffee drinker pre-baby, you will be.
The beauty of having a newborn is a lot of your visitors, having gone through all of this before, will arrive with a batch of some type of food. Their generosity allows you and your spouse the ability to have a ready-made meal as you get used to the hurricane of change brought about by a baby.
Once you're a parent, down time comes around as often as Haley's Comet. One way to actually get a little you-time is to take advantage of the fact that your parents are dying to spend some time with their grandchild. Grandparents to the rescue! Take them up on their offer to watch your baby early and often. This will allow you to catch your breath with a nap, a long, hot shower, or even find a bit of time for a quick workout.
That's more or less a day in the life of newborns. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. And it starts all over again tomorrow. Now please pass a fresh diaper.