Lessons learned from the first 24 hours with an infant

clock spiral

I finally have Harley home. In fact, as of the time of writing (or at least starting to write) this post, it’s been about 24 hours with her out of the NICU. It will still take a while to establish a new routine with her seeing as her NICU routine hasn’t really stuck since she’s been home. We have tried to maintain it to a degree, but there is no way that I’m waking her just to give her food at midnight or something. In fact, there’s no way that I’m going to wake her for much of anything unless she starts fussing or seems uncomfortable.

There is still so much to learn, and it will take a while to figure out what works best to keep her comfortable. I’m hoping Dean and I will also be more comfortable once the heatwave breaks – it will be way easier to cuddle with her and her baby blanket when it doesn’t feel like the fires of Mordor outside. Still, I have learned some things so far, that will probably be completely undone before I finish writing this.

  • Babies have the worst comic timing. After being quiet and chilled for hours, they will wake up as soon as you try to eat/relax/do something unrelated to baby time
  • Stay ahead of the hunger! Once the hunger sets in, the little baby can become inconsolable. Once she starts sucking at nothing, pursing lips and fussing, offer some food.
  • In related lesson, don’t get offended if she doesn’t want boob. I’m desperate to breast feed after expressing for a month while she was in the NICU. However, she isn’t always keen on boob. As long as she’s getting the good stuff, it doesn’t really matter if she’s on the boob or drinking from a bottle. We have plenty of time to keep coaxing her onto the breast, or to accept that she will always get food from a bottle and love in other ways.
  • Single mothers are truly superwomen. Having a husband around means that food gets cooked, dishes get cleaned and there’s a spare set of hands to grab blankets or burp cloths or baby wipes as necessary. I am already dreading the day he goes back to work – just hoping we have a set rhythm before then.
  • Use the time baby is sleeping wisely. She might wake up at any moment, but the best thing you can do is try to watch that video, read that book, or do whatever it is that you wanted to do while she’s asleep. You might get lucky and the sleep lasts a few hours. Except when the first lesson applies.
  • Babies are hard work. Nothing could truly prepare me for the fear of her scream and helpless feeling as we go down the list of things that could be bothering her. I’d rather change her dirty diaper/nappy every hour if that would work to never make her scream and cry like that. It wouldn’t work, of course, because the nappy is rarely the cause of her distress.
  • This will get easier. Already day two is less daunting than day one. I know there are difficult days to come, but there will be easier ones, too. Right?

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  • Zubayr Bhyat

    There will be good times too. The first days are…troublesome. Maybe just sleep with her when she’s sleeping. It’s good bonding time.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      yeah, we’ve had some awesome naps together on the couch. those are amazing.

  • There will be. Yay for having her home where she belongs! Also not waking her is a solid plan. We had to with K initially, and it ruined his sleep.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      good to keep in mind. for now just encouraging her to sleep as much as possible – hopefully she learns to sleep now and we don’t struggle later…

  • Sharon Van Wyk

    It gets easier! Promise! Just keep doing what you’re doing you’ll grow in confidence and it will become easier and easier. The sweet spot for me was around 6 weeks but it differs from parent to parent and baby to baby.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      yeah, i’m looking forward to the time when she can smile and focus. just wondering if it will be her real age or her adjusted age, but either way it’s when I suspect this whole experience will start to even out more.

  • Hey Zoe. Hang in there. The first 3 months are the hardest. The 3 after that become easier but bring their own set of challenges. Once they hit a year it’s all sorts of other things. Like walking and being run flat trying to prevent that thing from falling over as they try pulling on it just to see what it does….. I had a screaming kid because she thought it funny to track down the cat and use her new found teeth powers on its tail… Needless to say that scream was heart breaking.

    BUT, you start to see the challenges in a different light as you grow more confident with your child. Crying becomes a time of not fear, but a time to play super mom / dad and be this awesome comforter for your child.

    The shock of having a newborn in the home is one I still remember all too well but I promise you that it gets easier and better.

    My biggest advise? Just do whatever feels natural. It’s built in to you. There’s something about a mom’s connection to a child that still baffles me to this day. So just go with the flow and do what you feel is right. You’ll find your instincts are usually far more accurate than anyone’s advise.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      thanks so much! i was feeling like i was doing everything wrong, but the husband told me how impressed he is that i seem to do everything right. i suppose it’s also a perception thing. but she’s still alive and thriving, so can’t be going too awry. 🙂

      • That’s what my parents kept telling me too hehehe. If the little one is still alive then you are doing it right 🙂 Just wait. That first smile is heart melting. Just takes a while. But the moment it happens… You feel that you did it right and that they love you 🙂

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