It is possible to survive the baby years! These five tips on how to survive the baby years will get you started. You can do this, Mama!
It’s been 8 years, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
My firstborn was three weeks old, and my mom had flown out to Memphis from North Carolina to help me with those first few weeks of motherhood, but she had just returned home.
My sleepy newborn turned into a raging terror within hours of grandma’s departure.
Will at work and my mom hundreds of miles away, I had no idea what to do to quiet my baby. She cried, and I cried back.
In a moment of despair, I lay her on a blanket in the living room and stole away to my bedroom, where I closed the door. But her screams followed me.
Once inside my room, I called the preschool director at my church and lamented my extreme lack of know-how when it came to raising a baby.
I can look back and laugh at that time now because I’ve learned to loosen up quite a bit over the years. My next two babies were much easier than my first. I don’t think it had as much to do with their temperaments as it had to do with my ability, as the mother, to relax.
The good news is that there are ways to tackle the impossible moments of motherhood like the one I just described.
You can survive the baby years!
Yes, those first few days, weeks, and even years may feel overwhelming, but you can make it through them, Mama!
Below, I’ve gathered some of my top tips for how to survive the baby years.
As I’m expecting baby number four over four years after baby number three, these tips are just as much reminders to myself as they might be to those of you in the trenches.
5 Tips to Survive the Baby Years
1. Follow your heart.
When you’re a new mom, advice on the baby years can be incredibly confusing.
Should you breastfeed or bottle feed? Will you allow your baby to cry it out or co-sleep? Should you give him homemade baby food or practice baby-led weaning?
Let me say it loudly and clearly: There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, Mama.
Only you know what will work the best for you, your child, and your family–and not someone else.
When I was a new mom, I devoured every book possible on baby’s first year, but I later changed my mind on many motherhood practices from my first child to my next. I realized that what might have worked for one mom or even a parenting “expert” was not working for me or my child.
Looking back, I wish I had followed my mama instincts from the get-go.
It took my breastmilk five days to come in after birthing my first child. I was incredibly stressed out, thinking my milk would never arrive.
Honestly? I now believe if I had just relaxed (as I did with babies 2 and 3), the milk might have come in sooner!
As well, I believe my first baby, who cried more than my others, might have picked up on my emotional stress. Sensing my tension probably made her tense.
Once I learned how to relax around my babies, life was better for all of us, and I learned that we could survive the baby years.
3. Do what you can to make life easier.
There are many baby gadgets and gear you can make it without, but I have no qualms about purchasing things that will make my life (and the life of my entire family!) a little easier during baby’s first year.
If they help us survive the baby years and we can afford them, then why not?
Pacifiers? They are nice for quieting baby during long car rides, sleepless nights, and church services!
Disposable diapers? I prefer using cloth diapers, but sposies are a godsend during road trips or an illness. (And it’s OK to take a break from using cloth diapers even if you are a cloth diapering mom!)
Swaddler blankets? They helped my babies sleep through the night early, and they will always be my go-to for a peaceful newborn nighttime routine.
Baby Orajel™ Tooth and Gum Cleanser? It’s never too early to start caring for those sweet little smiles. And babies love the way the brush feels on their sensitive gums.
Zip-up sleepers? For this current baby, I’m not even taking a second glance unless the sleepers zip instead of button. Sleep-deprived mamas don’t have time for snaps in the middle of the night!
4. Give yourself grace.
You will make some mistakes. (There might even be times when you feel not cut out for motherhood.) That’s inevitable.
There are many things I wish I had done differently with that first baby, but she is now a thriving second grader.
Give yourself grace when you mess up. Dust yourself off and resolve to do better–even when you can’t be the best.
Your baby will survive, and you, dear Mama, will survive the baby years.
5. Remember that this too shall pass.
I’m savoring my fourth pregnancy more than any of the others because–with my girls now being 8, 6, and 4–I know the old cliche is true:
Babies really don’t keep.
Yes, motherhood is hard.
Yes, there are days you feel stuck in survival mode and wonder how in the world you will survive the baby years.
But this too shall pass, Mama. And I guarantee we will all look back at these baby years as some of the sweetest ones in our lives.
What are some of your best tips for how to survive the baby years?
This post has been sponsored by Baby Orajel™, however all opinions are my own.
I am expecting baby number three, and these are all great tips. I think those first babies are SO HARD because everything is so new and we are clueless. It really is valuable to for first time moms to hear from someone like you. When a new baby is born we all need to take a deep breath and try to relax. 🙂
I totally agree, Rebekah! I think we both will have similar experiences this time around with the big gaps between our 2nd (for you) and 3rd (for me) and the new babies. I’m am over-the-moon excited for you!! <3
This is an excellent post! I think another reason we change our minds or ideas from child to child is the baby’s individuality. After eight littles, I’ve seen such differences in their personalities and needs. Each one is different, so i don’t stress when i see they need something different from the other children.?
That is such a good point, Kathy!! I am looking forward to finding out little man’s personality (our first boy after 3 girls!!) in a few months!
Thanks for this post. We are expecting our second kiddo in the next couple of weeks, with a nine year age gap between them. It has been so long since we have been in “the baby years” and we have such a great routine with our older child that I am honestly more anxious about this baby than I was the first time! These are great tips/reminders, and I definitely needed to read a couple of them 🙂
A HUGE congrats, Ashley! I am thrilled for you! That is a big gap, but I bet things will come back for you (and for me after a smaller but still largish gap) more than we think! The baby years are so precious!
The baby years are so hard! I’m glad those times are over, but I know many people miss their babies.
I missed them and kept feeling like the Lord might have one more little one for us! I’m excited!
I would encourage new moms to realize they are learning and growing too- making mistakes isn’t a big deal. I tried so hard to do everything right with my first baby and he was, by far, the fussiest of the 3 kids. Good thoughts!
Thanks, Aimee! That is such good advice! I had the same experience with my 3!