Newborn Notes from a Third Time Mama

I remember the day I came home from the hospital with my first baby snuggled in my arms. I looked down at his tiny little face, breathed in that delicious newborn smell, held him close and wondered… 

What on earth were the professionals at the hospital doing letting a complete novice like me walk out of there with this fragile human being? Like, isn’t anyone going to make sure I know how to keep this tiny creature alive before they send me home with it? Anyone? 

Fortunately for my sweet firstborn, my husband and I managed to keep him alive and well with a little luck and a lot of Googling. It’s been nearly six years since that perilous first day, and we’ve added two more tiny humans to our chaotic home. We even managed to survive having a newborn during the pandemic with my older children quarantined in the house and homeschooling {and for all you other mamas out there who have shared the experience, I think you’d agree we deserve some kind of special crown for that one}.

Newborn Notes from a Third Time MamaAnd as our little pandemic baby nears his first birthday, I can look back and say with absolute certainty that no matter how many children you have, parenthood never gets any less terrifying; however, time and experience {and of course a little trial and error with the first few kids} makes for a slightly smoother ride. It’s sort of the difference between going off roading in a Ferrari versus a Jeep — the bumps are the same, but the vehicle is a little more sturdy on the turns. 

For those of you still wondering how you’re going to get back on the paved road in one piece, here’s a few tips this third time mama picked up along the way:

Glow in the Dark Pacifiers

If your baby likes to sleep with a pacifier in their mouth, trust me when I say, buy one that glows in the dark. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve snuck into a dark room to dig around in the crib for a paci one of our babies spit out after they fell asleep, only for them to stir awake before I managed to find it. Glow in the dark pacifiers can save you valuable time when getting that baby bomb diffused.

Pacifier Medicine Dispensers 

I polled every mom I’ve ever met, and the results were unanimous — babies hate taking medicine. I’ve gone through three children who needed every kind of medicine you can imagine, so I’ve seen it all. Screaming, choking, clamping their tiny mouths shut, spitting it back out…you name it. Until finally with baby number three I discovered the pacifier syringe. Fridababy and Dr. Brown both make one, and it’s been a game changer. No more trying to squeeze a dose full of baby Tylenol past a clamped {and surprisingly strong} baby jaw. Simply insert pacifier into their unsuspecting little mouth and squeeze the syringe. You’re welcome. But as for the tiny look of betrayal your little precious will shoot you once the job is done, you’re on your own. 

Don’t Let Yourself Be Bullied in the Hospital

I wasn’t able to breastfeed with any of my children. I tried everything — lactation consultants, googling tips and tricks, pumping like a maniac. Nothing helped. When we were in the hospital with my oldest son, the nurses did everything they could to discourage me from supplementing despite my {and my son’s} obvious distress. It wasn’t until thirty-six hours of a hungry, screaming newborn that they finally brought us formula, and only after I signed a waver releasing the hospital from responsibility. They say fed is best, but the hospital staff certainly didn’t make me feel that way. It wasn’t until a discussion with a social worker assigned to me for postpartum depression with my second son that realized it’s okay to advocate your needs in the hospital.

Bring a Change of Clothes 

Pack a change of clothes in your bag or your vehicle whenever you leave the house. And not just for your newborn. Pack one for yourself as well. You’ll thank me one day.

Outsource

If you’re struggling and no amount of Googling has helped you find a solution to your problem, don’t be afraid to get help. My oldest son absolutely would not nap. He did not sleep through the night. He took hours and hours of rocking or driving around in the car to get to sleep, only to wake mere hours later alert and cranky. And by the time he was ten months old we were absolutely losing our minds. Hiring a sleep consultant was the best money I’ve ever spent. The consultant used her expertise to help us figure out what we were doing wrong and how to make adjustments to get our son sleep better. In fact, she made such a difference in our lives we hired her after our second and third children were born as well. 

So whether it’s paying for a maid services, a night nanny during the newborn months, or just someone to wash and fold your laundry for you, if you can find the resources to hire some help, banish the mom guilt and just do it! 

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule 

No judgement if you’re a go with the flow kind of family or don’t have the time or patience to stick to a schedule. But if, like me, you deal with a lot of anxiety or have a baby that WILL NOT NAP, schedules are lifesaving. Babies, much like anxiety riddled adults, thrive on routine. They like to know what’s expected, and their little bodies respond so well to having a structured sleep and wake schedule. If you can create and stick to a routine, especially in that first rocky year, your life will definitely get easier. 

Put Wipes in Every Room of the House 

I’m not kidding when I say put wipes in every room in the house. The kitchen. Bathroom. Upstairs playroom. Living room. Everywhere. Trust me on this. The number of times I haven’t been able to make it to the changing table in the baby’s room after a diaper blowout or spit-up situation has to be somewhere in the millions. 

Pajamas with Zippers NOT Buttons 

Any veteran mom will tell you this, but those cute little Insta perfect baby pajamas little buttons marching from neck to foot…put them down. Delete from cart. Return immediately. It. Is. Not. Worth. It. After the 78,295th midnight bottle and diaper change, you’ll come to hate those tiny buttons with a newfound passion only a parent can possess. Get zipper pajamas. Period. 

For the Love of God, Swaddle that Newborn

With our oldest son we stopped swaddling only two weeks in, convinced he didn’t like it because he cried and fussed every time we wrapped him up. And again with our second, we nearly gave up until the Mother’s Helper I hired during a very dark period of postpartum depression insisted we try it again with our newborn. And what do you know, it worked like a charm. With our third baby we were wiser but still nearly gave in after several sleepless nights where he fought the swaddle and fidgeted himself awake. But this time we were wiser; we gave it a little more time and lo and behold, it worked. Yes, babies fight the swaddle. But more often than not it’ll work if you stick with it. 

Backpack Not Diaper Bag 

I remember when we created a baby registry before our first son was born, I looked at all the gorgeous diaper bags, carefully comparing them until I finally chose a fabulous messenger style bag I thought would look great with all my cute mom outfits when my son and I jetted off to brunch or Mommy and Me classes. Fast forward two or three kids and my “cute” mom outfits mostly consist of yoga pants and the messenger bag is history, replaced with a functional backpack that holds all the things and doesn’t bang against my hip as I carry the baby, sometimes the preschooler, and try to hang on to the hand of my kindergartener as we race from one school drop off to the other. 

Parenting is never easy no matter how many children you have. I won’t tell you to relax or leave you with platitudes like “the days are long but the years are short” during the newborn phase {we KNOW, and it doesn’t help get through those long days}. But I will say that it does get a little easier with time and experience. Take it from a third time Mama.


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Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .

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