Taking home Xariya was extremely nerve wrecking. For the 48 days we’ve been in the hospital, I’ve grown reliant on monitors and the help from the nurses. Once she turned 6 weeks old I drove her home feeling both excited and nervous about how I will do taking care of such a small baby who’s had some medical problems due to her age. I was fearful of her having to go back thinking maybe she isn’t physically ready to be home with us. But there she was in my arms looking up at me and her surroundings. All I knew from then on was that I had to be the greatest for her.
How to survive the first week with your baby:
Download a baby log app – this was one of the first things I did when I realized that I wasn’t able to track her feeds and the number of diapers. One of my responsibilities is to keep track of her progress to make sure she continues on the right path. While in the NICU she had trouble digesting her food so they logged her input and output. The app I currently use is called Glow Baby. I love it because you can record your baby’s feeds, diaper changes, and sleep duration. They have other features such as a growth chart, adding milestones and even a community forum where you can talk to other proud mommies. Oh, and it’s free!
Sleep when she’s sleeping – This could be a tricky thing because every new mom is anxious when it comes to our little one’s safety. In the beginning, I was constantly checking on her every time I heard her make noise. Until I go back to work, I sleep more through the day. She’s a night baby, unfortunately.
Take time for yourself at least once a day – I try my best not to lose myself through Xariya. I’m mindful that I need to eat or wash my hair. At the end of the day do your best to let your baby go for a little bit. Once my husband comes home from work I give him an opportunity to care for her while I get some sleep or cook dinner.
Establish a night time routine – taking care of your baby at night is really hard in the beginning but there’s things you can do to make it a little easier.
- I give her a warm bath then feed her before she goes to sleep, she knocks out right after.
- I prep four bottles and store them in the fridge.
- I set 4 alarms or just stay up to listen for when she starts to wake up to eat.
My goal at night is to keep her from fussing too much because it’s easier to keep her calm so once she’s changed and fed she’ll go back to sleep sooner. Once she’s worked up I have to do more to soothe her back to sleep.
(Speaking of soothing) swaddling – swaddling is the best thing that you can try for your little one. If you’re not able to hold your him, swaddling is the next best thing to keep him calm. Babies love the feeling of security and the wrap reminds them of the womb. Every time I swaddle Xariya, she goes straight to sleep with a little smile on her face.
Invest in gadgets – My husband doesn’t believe in the new and cutting edge for babies. He didn’t even buy her a tub, he believes that she can bathe in the sink. I on the other hand value inventions that make my life a little easier, since I’m the sole caretaker of the house. Machines like a bottle warmer or even a wipe warmer can do wonders for caring for your baby a little less stressful and time-consuming. In the beginning, I would sterilize the bottle parts in the microwave. Then I got the Dr. Brown’s Electric Steam Sterilizer and I love it. For 15 mins, it steam cleans her pacifiers and bottle parts and leaves it almost brand new.
These are some tips that made it a little easier for me but there is no full proof easy route to take care of a child. Honestly, it’s love that will keep you going. Good thing is that it’s temporary and in no time, she’ll be sleeping more and crying less. Hang in there mama!