I went to Jenn and Doug’s house on Thursday for a sweet newborn photography session with their precious baby boy, Blake! My heart filled to the brim to see our sweet friends as parents! I shared some tips for surviving the few weeks with a newborn with them. Then I thought, hey, I should share these with y’all too!
You may remember Jenn and Doug from their gorgeous wedding with Keely Thorne Events or their sweet maternity session at McGovern Centennial Gardens. I’ve had the honor of being their Houston photographer from engagements to now a baby! This is why I love my job. It’s about the legacy, getting to document their greatest legacy, their family, their love.
I consider it a real honor to be baby Blake’s newborn photographer! He is truly blessed to have Jenn and Doug as his amazing parents. But honestly, I know how hard that newborn phase is. Most days you don’t feel like an amazing parent at all.
You are sleep deprived and emotionally and physically exhausted! You hope and pray your spouse knows what to do but in reality, you are both just winging it!
Sleep is a distant memory and you had no idea how incredibly hard breastfeeding is (if that’s the route you go). And most days, you feel like you are just barely holding it together.
While I am no expert, I did just recently survive the first year with #ourkinseygirl. Sidenote: she’s officially one now! I’m not crying, you’re crying!
So, I want to share my tips for surviving the first few weeks with a newborn. Oh, and my favorite photographs from baby Blake’s lifestyle newborn photography session of course.
I know this seems obvious but in a sleep-deprived state, you might need a reminder of this. Accept help! People love you and want to help. They will ask what they can do. Tell them. Be specific! Tell them you need a salad or a juicy burger! Or maybe you just need them to come to hold the baby for an hour so you can nap. Most people need direction but they truly want to help you in any way. Let them!
If they don’t offer, reach out! Ask for help! I know we live in a society where we are “supposed” to have it all together. But that’s just not true! Parenthood is hard. Having a baby is hard! I always tell all my mama friends to call me anytime, any hour and I honestly mean it! Heck, if you don’t have any friends who’ve had kids, call me! ; )
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
It can feel lonely but I promise you are not alone and you CAN do this!
Your body was literally MADE to do this!
I know, I know! You are brand new. You feel like you don’t know what you are doing but deep down you do! Your gut instinct, that mama bear feeling is right! Listen to it!
If you question something your doctor says, get another opinion. If you don’t want to do the “cry it out” method because it doesn’t feel right. Don’t do it! If you don’t want to breastfeed because it’s stressing you out too much, don’t do it!
You know your baby better than any book, any doctor, any friend, or any website. Do it YOUR way!
You need to get out of the house. Even being the biggest homebody on the planet, I went stir crazy.
Take the baby on walks as soon as you can! We started walks a few days after we got home from the hospital. Plus, most babies love the movement in the stroller. And fresh air is good for y’all!
Newborn life is exhausting so give yourself a break. Take just a few hours and get out of the house alone!
Go to a friend’s house and take a nap, go to the grocery store. Do whatever you have to do to make a little separation. It’ll be good for both of you and give you time to miss each other!
When you need a break, you have to take time for yourself. Please, it’s vital. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t be the best mom if all you do is give, give, give. Tell your spouse/friend/mom that you have to go and get your tush out of the house!
Breastfeeding has a steep learning curve, mama! S-T-E-E-P! At least for me, it did. It was two to three months on the legit struggle bus. But, I powered through and made it to a full year!
Now, first, let me just say I believe all mamas should do what they feel is right! You do you! No judgment ever if is this isn’t the right path for you. If it doesn’t work, I promise your baby will be just fine!
For me, breastfeeding is seriously one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It did not come easy. It was beyond painful, it was excruciating. I liken it to an elevator shaft falling on my nipple every single time I fed her, which was 8 – 12 times a day. I know it can come super easy to come mamas and that’s truly amazing but that was not my story.
So, I don’t share this advice lightly. But if this is the path you feel is right for you, hear me when I say YOU CAN DO THIS! If I can do this with my pain tolerance of a peach, you can do it too! Every day will get easier as they get bigger. They are learning each day too.
Oh and if you are struggling with positioning and what not, I highly recommend two things, lactation consultation and the My Breast Friend pillow! I couldn’t feed without that pillow for the first month. It literally saved my life! Best invention ever! And I loved that the lactation consultation helped me see how well Kinsey was eating and how much she was getting with each feeding.
I know this one is tough. But, I promise it’s way easier if you can remember that you are on the same team.
Everyone is doing the best that they can, including YOU!
When you are frustrated, repeat that to yourself. He is doing the best that he can. I am doing the best that I can. She is doing the best that she can.
I know it sounds stupid but truly, it’s the only way to get through it. You will be frustrated by the baby, by your spouse, by an in-law. Take a deep breath and remember we are all doing the best that we can.
Plus, your baby can sense your energy. If you are stressed, the baby picks up on that. Try to relax as much as you can (I know it’s hard) and stay calm when things feel hectic.
They tell you in the hospital, don’t shake your baby. You look at them like they are actually insane crazy! Who would EVER shake their baby!?! You’re in love with your baby and would never even think that!
Fast forward four weeks and you haven’t slept for more than 3 hours at a time. You are on the verge of absolute insanity, both you and your husband. That sweet perfect angel baby you took home from the hospital won’t stop screaming. Google says you can’t “return” your baby to the hospital and you aren’t sure what to do. This is too much!
This is that moment they were referring to. This one right here when you are frustrated to no end and just want the crying to stop.
Set the baby down and walk away! Absolutely nothing bad will happen to your baby if you leave him/her in the crib. I know it sounds silly but both of us had this moment of frustration where we looked at her and were like, “ohhhhh!” This is what they were talking about.
Of course, we didn’t/would never shake our baby. But we found comfort in knowing that this feeling of complete overwhelm is normal. So normal in fact that they tell every parent leaving the hospital about it!
So, if you are frustrated, know that is normal. Set the baby down in the crib or tap out to the spouse and go for a walk. This too shall pass, mama!
At about 8 weeks, things really started to get easier. My body was healing. I started to get the swing of things. Kinsey was sleeping more. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Hang in there, this time will go by so much faster than it’s feeling right now! Take lots of videos and photos on your phone while your baby is itty bitty! Trust me, those newborn noises just disappear one day. You won’t regret it.
I truly hope these tips will help you go from surviving newborn life to thriving newborn life! You got this, mama!! And as promised, here are the rest of my favorites from baby Blake’s in-home newborn photography session!
Brady might be starved for attention right now as all new pup siblings are! But he really did such a good job posing for family photos!
I can’t even handle this little cutie!! I can’t wait to see him grow!
Jenn and Doug, I know these first few weeks with a newborn can be tough. But you got this! You are both incredible people and are even better together!
We are here for you if you need anything at all!
Michelle & Kellan