5 Newborn Baby Things That Get Better With Time

vbac vs planned c section

A little “there’s light at the end of the tunnel” post for those who are in the throes of newborn baby chaos. If you’re muddling through a life of relentless baby-feeding, non-existent evenings and interrupted nights then fear not: this too shall pass. And then you’ll wonder what the hell to do with your quiet evenings. (You won’t, that’s a total lie. And anyway, I have loads of suggestions for you, in case you’re stuck for ideas.)

So here are five newborn baby things that get better with time. The longlist is – well – long, but I’ve picked my favourites for you, if “favourite” is even the right word. To be quite honest, if these things hadn’t got better with time then I very much doubt I’d be typing this up after my second baby – I’d have contraceptioned myself up to the hilt! Femidom, condom and possibly sterilisation. (Has anyone ever tried a Femidom? Remember when they first came out and they were all the rage? I imagine they must feel a bit like a mini bin-liner inside you. All crinkly and a bit off-putting: discuss.)

newborn baby ted

Baby Digestive Issues

OK, so for me, newborn baby digestive “quirks” cause(d) the most amount of disruption to my life. And they weren’t even serious ones, with either newborn: I’m talking trapped wind for both of them and a tiny bit of reflux with Ted. How people cope with babies that have serious digestive problems I do not know; it’s so distressing listening to a baby in pain and it’s also frustrating when you feel as though you can’t help them and it’s actually very depressing and upsetting having to deal with hours of continuous screaming. Now I know that some people have to deal with digestive issues for longer periods but usually, as the baby gets older and the digestive system matures, things like trapped wind become less of a problem. I had to wind Ted after every feed at the start (sometimes mid-feed) and when you’re knackered and it’s the middle of the night, winding a baby is no mean feat. Especially if they are quite long and you need to stand up to get them into a non-scrunched-up position. And the worst is when you think they’re comfy and asleep after a feed, and you don’t want to wind them because it’ll disturb them. so you slip them into the crib, turn off the light and just start to close your eyes, and then they wake up because they have trapped wind. ARGH!

And the reflux thing wasn’t fun, but it stopped completely on the day that I cut milk out of my diet. Nobody advised me to do this (in fact the doctor at the six week check thought it very unlikely that my milk-drinking was causing it) but it is a magnificent coincidence is it not? And, last week, Ted was a bit sick for the first time in weeks – I’d had a bowl of cereal with full-fat milk!

The other thing that helped with Ted’s uncomfortable tummy (he would grunt and sort of growl-cough for ages after a feed if he was lying down) was raising the head of the crib slightly. This was on the health visitor’s advice and it worked almost instantly. Like magic. I rammed two books under the runners of the Snuzpod crib at the head-end, so that the whole thing was on a bit of a slant (not too much, obviously, just a gentle slope, you don’t want them sliding down to the bottom!) and the grunts ceased to be.

Now, at almost twelve weeks in, Ted still gets trapped wind but it’s easier to burp him (chuck him over my shoulder, and I mean right over so that his tummy is on my shoulder not his chest, and then rub his back, then when I sit him upright on my lap he does a massive belch!) and he’s never sick. Those long hours spent trying to make him more comfortable are something of a distant memory.

newborn baby

The Crazy Hours

Does your newborn have a few hours a day when they just won’t be comforted by anything? I’ve had this with both babies and with Angelica I just had to ride it out, listening to the crying and trying to feed her while her face was all red and angry and then feeling helpless and frustrated, because I didn’t know any better. This time around, with Ted, I’ve been a little bit more pragmatic in my approach and each time he’s had his crazy hours I’ve simply worked through a checklist of things to do, which has kept me calm and more detached, which I think has helped Ted to be more easily comforted. I’m going to do a separate post on this, because the “crazy crying evenings” are enough to drive you totally insane, but my self-developed method has basically been to calm him down completely before trying to feed him. Change his nappy, spend some time walking him around on my shoulder and then feed, and feed in a quiet place, not in front of Homeland whilst I try to “still have my evening” and shovel down a plate of pasta at the same time! A few months in and we’re down to about an hour of fussy time each day, which is totally OK in terms of me keeping my sanity.

newborn baby ted

Sleeplessness

Three weeks in and your eyes feel like hot coals, your brain won’t function properly and you’re averaging around one and a half hours’ sleep per stretch, barely sinking into the pillow before you need to wake up again. This (with any luck, hohoho) is a temporary situation and you really need to hold onto that thought in order to not lose your mind. You won’t always be this tired. People will say to you “oh, just wait until you have two under two/five under six/a new puppy and a baby!” but, just to gift you with a little parcel of optimism, this is probably the most tired you’ll ever be. Nothing compares to the zombified, semi-waking state of life with a newborn. So as you flick through iPlayer in an attempt to stop yourself from falling asleep over your feeding baby (what if I crush him with my gargantuan breasts?!), congratulate yourself on the fact that nobody, ever, has been more tired than you and you’re not even crying about it. (Maybe you are, that’s OK too.)

ruth crilly and baby ted

Lack of Routine

Does your day lack anything remotely resembling a structure? Are you eating cereal at 4pm before having a three hour nap and putting your washing on at 2am? Finding it difficult to plan anything in advance, because who even knows when the baby might next want a feed?

I’d be lying if I said that this situation gets better, because I’ve never managed to really plan anything in advance since having Angelica, but what does get better is your ability to “go with the flow” and have a more flexible attitude. Last week I took Ted on a photoshoot (had to, as I’m breastfeeding and haven’t started expressing yet) and we just had to muddle through the day. He slept for the whole time it would have been convenient to feed him and then woke up each time I was on set!

With Angelica, things improved dramatically once she was in a little routine, but it still didn’t mean that had a good routine going – I just found myself planning things around hers. Just living for the moment. Which is totally against my nature, but I’ve had to accept that this is life once you’re looking after people other than yourself!

Baggy Stomach

My weird, empty sack of a stomach really bothered me when I had Angelica. Not just because it made me look hugely unattractive, both clothed and naked, but because it looked as though it was never going to go down. I mean, there was nothing else inside it to come out (hopefully!) but it was massive and doughy and had an excess of skin and I just couldn’t imagine how it would ever right itself. But – hurrah! – it did. I mean, it was never flat, not by any stretch of the imagination (it was almost there and then I got pregnant again), but at least it didn’t look like a giant flesh omelette. This time around, it doesn’t particularly bother me at all, except when people ask “when it’s due?”. I definitely want it to flatten down a bit, but not enough to sacrifice my nightly mini-magnum. Or sandwiches. Or spicy pasta topped with buffalo mozzarella. Or cake. Because I need those extra calories for the baby, don’t I? Let’s not rush this tummy business – it also makes quite a good shelf when you’re breastfeeding sitting up in bed. No need for a special pillow when you’ve got a semi-solid gut to rest things on…

So there you are then – a few things about having a newborn baby that will make you want to spoon out your own eyeballs with a soup ladle, but that will get better with time. Even if it does sometimes take a while – you have to retain a sense of optimism in this life! And before you know it, you don’t have a baby anymore, you have a toddler wearing dungarees shouting “NO” and throwing their plate on the floor. So, y’know, try to embrace each stage of the journey!

*© 2017 The Uphill®: *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. All opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. "The Uphill" and "Ruth Crilly" are registered trademarks.

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34 Comments

  1. Sarah
    April 25, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    My baby is four weeks. Happiest Baby on the Block saved me. I had a couple days of meltdown crying for cumulatively over 6 hours and said Never Again. Several girlfriends and my pediatrician recommended it. The “5 S’s” really do work.

    Also, wearing sweatpants and my husband’s tee shirts was fun for a couple weeks, until I realized I felt more human if I at least made some effort (read: brush teeth before noon, change bra/underwear every day).

    Mother’s Day is in May here in the states. I told my husband I wanted a hotel room for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

    • April 25, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      Haha! Yeah good call! I’m stealing that idea! x

  2. Wendy
    April 25, 2017 / 2:05 pm

    I have a 5 week old, (my first), she spent her first week in hospital with a collapsed lung and pneumonia. She now has colic and reflux, I have no routine, she sleeps on me virtually the whole night, I can’t remember anything unless I write it down and I can’t remember the last time my apartment saw a hoover! But I love her so much I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • April 25, 2017 / 3:40 pm

      I know, they are just so gorgeous. I’d do it all again, and I’m saying that WHILST STILL KNACKERED WITH A NEWBORN!

  3. April 25, 2017 / 4:38 pm

    What helped me through the crazy hours with the second one was my laptop, Netflix and wireless earphones. I would put them on, put on a series and just walk around either feeding or comforting him while Netflix kept me distracted. Otherwise I would have gone nuts.

    • April 25, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      Yeah I need to get me some wireless headphones! x

  4. Lisa
    April 25, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Another lovely post Ruth!! My boy is literally 2 weeks younger than Ted and is also my second so I feel like we’re doing this together Or that you’re scoping out each stage and then reporting back for me to experience 2 weeks later Xx

    • April 25, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      Hahaha! I’m your baby lookout scout.

    • Laura M
      April 26, 2017 / 3:41 pm

      I’m the same! My daughter is my second child and is 9 weeks old. I just love reading your posts and the optimism it gives me!

    • Nina
      April 26, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Me too, I have an almost 9 week old c section baby (my first was a normal delivery) and have been following and finding every post so helpful! Xx

  5. Bookgirl_12
    April 25, 2017 / 5:17 pm

    My ‘baby’ is now a teenager but I would have LOVED to have had these honest but humorous posts to read and keep me sane when she was a newborn! An excellent public service for those times when people can feel very isolated and so far from the ‘me’ they used to be before children xx

  6. Selina
    April 25, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    Thanks so much for this post Ruth, it is really optimistic and just what you want to hear when it is such a fuzzy time! Mother Nature is so clever that you forget all this and only remember the cuddles, smiles and basically all the cute stuff.

  7. Sk
    April 25, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    So you recommend giving up milk then?!?!?

    • April 25, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      In what situation? I mean, it’s worked for me in terms of the reflux but I’ve had problems with lactose in the past. Couldn’t say for anyone else! x

      • Annika Grizzell
        April 26, 2017 / 6:01 am

        I’ve just cut out milk too and literally the crying and crankiness stopped immediately with my 4wk old who really suffered from trapped wind in the evenings. I read it should be ALL dairy if you’re breastfeeding but I couldn’t quite go that far (I still need buttered bread and chocolate!! ) But I tried with the large amounts I consumed – milk on cereal and bowls of natural yogurt. It’s had an effect on my daughter so sticking with it for now and will reintroduce when she’s a couple more months older. x

        • Sk
          April 26, 2017 / 2:50 pm

          I just feel really guilty when she’s sick (she’s a month) but been told by doctor that I can’t give up milk so I’m a bit stuffed. I had lactose free milk as I am lactose intolerant. I blooming loved this article by the way as I’m finding it so so tough so thank goodness for your wonderful writing and reassurance. I feel like you’re a friend in a strange way xx

      • Sk
        April 26, 2017 / 2:54 pm

        Honestly I wasn’t being horrible in my comment, I genuinely have a little girl who is rather sick a lot and just wondered what I could do?!

        • April 26, 2017 / 5:10 pm

          I didn’t think it was horrible! Hmm, not sure to be honest – can they refer you to someone who’s more specialist? xx

  8. Rhonda
    April 25, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    I swear this post should be mandatory reading for all mothers to be! My babe is now 6 months but I still think of those early days and wonder how I survived! It’s always reassuring to hear from other Mums about how babies can be tricky little creatures and that it does get better. Now I just need to crack getting little one to sleep in his cot…x

  9. Anja
    April 25, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    It’s great to read all of this! Our son is 15 months now and we decided we would start trying again in 2 1/2 months. And it’s starting to make me a little nervous! Little E is still not sleeping through the night, but we have a routine and we are happy. Do I really want to interrupt all of this? But I really want another baby! Oh my…

  10. Ruby F
    April 26, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    Such an accurate post Ruth! I’ve followed you for a longtime and, like you, it took me many years to have a child then had one after another (oldest 6 weeks younger than Angelica and my youngest is 7 months). They really aren’t babies for long are they? I’m already missing the newborn stage

  11. Lucy
    April 26, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    I feel like I’m the only non mum who reads this blog! I’m a student midwife and started reading your blog when I was applying to uni… now midway through my degree I still enjoy reading this and it has really helped me understand what these women are going through and to sympathise with their needs! I do hope to be a mum (when I finish my degree) but in the time being I’m still learning from everyone’s experiences. Wishing you the best of luck with Angelica and Ted!!

  12. Louise
    April 26, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    Mae is 13 weeks so very close to Ted. It has been fantastic to read your updates as they are so relevant to where I am at, as well as reading your earlier posts. They certainly have got me through many a nighttime feeding session.
    I would add to your list reduced feeding tines, gone are the 1 hour marathon sessions in the middle of the night.
    I will be interested to see how you get on with expressing, Mae absolutely refuses a bottle….and I have tried 5 types of bottles aargh!

  13. Abby
    April 27, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    I have a 5 week old. It sounds so selfish but the tummy/ deflated balloon thing in my mid section really bothered me. Until reading this…. it will go back to normal. Took nine months to cook my little man…. let’s hope not nine months to fix the tummy 🙂

  14. Lucy
    April 27, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    I absolutely love reading your posts Ruth. I’m pregnant with my second (trust me….big surprise!), have a 9 month old, and I’m really apprehensive about the whole “two under two” situation. Your posts portray the truth in the best light, and this has been invaluable in providing me with optimism 🙂 Xxxxx

  15. Hannah Kirkpatrick
    April 28, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    Oh my god yes to the gut stuff, no reflux here but just wind. Also laughed out loud at ‘giant flesh omlette’, this needs to be discussed more! I think my tum went down in about 2 weeks but it was sooo weird.

  16. Bryony
    April 28, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    I don’t think anyone has used a Femidom. Ever. What is the point of them? Like a worse version of a condom. And more expensive too. I mean honestly?

  17. Ruxi
    April 28, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    Oh my God, laughed so hard I almost woke up my 5 month old baby sleeping on me, because ever since he was born I have become a matress.

  18. leah
    April 28, 2017 / 7:44 pm

    Love your sense of humor! x

  19. Anna Bell
    April 30, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    My first born would cry bloody murder from 6pm till about 11pm. Nothing would settle her, not breast not rocking not cuddles. Being pregnant with my second I am really not looking forward to those long evening so if you could do a little guid on what you did differently this time round that would be amazing xxxx

  20. Sharon
    April 30, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    For my first, I felt prompted to turn on the hairdryer and it stopped my then 2 mth old in his tracks and was an instant soother..something about sounding like it was in the womb. The hairdryer was on a lot 😉 Worth a try with very young babies I think.

  21. Jo
    May 3, 2017 / 6:14 am

    Love your blog Ruth. Have been silently reading your blog for a while and not commenting but felt compelled to share my newfound miracle cure for wind for the benefit of others! My little one is a week younger than Ted I think and I came to the end of my tether last week when it was taking me so long to burp my bub that by the time she was done it was pretty much time to feed again! Someone suggested Colief which is expensive but you can get it on prescription for free. Instant remedy! Life is totally different now.

  22. May 9, 2017 / 6:37 am

    Thanks for sharing…

  23. Sanab Hersi
    May 17, 2017 / 12:41 am

    Hi Ruth. I love your blog and your videos. I think your so relatable even though your a model, you just seem so dont to earth. Im inspired by you and thinking you must be a super mummy having 2 under 2. I am.struggling with one baby lol. You go girl!

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