Put Your Relationship with Your Spouse First
One of my colleagues shared her amazing wisdom (if you read this, thank you Alicia!). When I was about 5 months along we were sharing an Uber to our hotels from the city and she talked to me about putting the importance of your marriage first, because the health of your family is dependent on the health of your relationship. This really resonated with me.
Once Bricklet came along, our attention and efforts all really went to him. But we still paid attention to each other. And now we have a regular babysitter so we can have time as a couple. Having a baby is hard. And exhausting. Getting out of the house let's us enjoy things we always have and connect without distraction (computer, chores, etc).
Take Time To Yourself
I think this is especially important for those with longer maternity leaves, or who choose to be stay at home moms. You have to have time to yourself where you're exploring your interests. For me at 7 weeks, this was a long overdue visit to the salon. At 12 weeks it was going back to work. And now, it's my time at the gym or the odd time I wander off on my own at the weekend to do something I want to do (usually shopping). Keeping your own identity (and focusing on health) is important!
Two Yeses / One No
J and I ended up doing this naturally - we've always been good collaborators. But I read about this principle and I think it's great. Parenting is hard, and you're two individuals with different upbringings, ideas, philosophies and expectations. And some things will really not be okay for the other person. The power of veto is important, and both should use it for those important things.
A good examples of this was a few weeks ago, and we were in Vancouver. My mom wanted to give Bricklet some whipped cream (or something like that) with blueberries. Bricket does not getting whipped cream / sweets basically ever. While I was okay with it as a one off, my husband didn't want him to have it. So the answer was no. He didn't need to explain his logic (which he actually did later and I 100% agreed with it).
Post-Delivery Visitors and Guests
This is a tough one when you live away from family. And it's a tough one when you're fiercely independent and don't WANT help, but really NEED help. But the most important thing is you bonding with that bundle (and if you're doing it, establishing breastfeeding), and that probably doesn't mean lengthy visits and giving your baby to other people at every waking moment (or god forbid, they wake up the baby).
Make Sleep Happen
Our pediatrician recommended the 90 Minute Sleep Solution. Bricklet was always a good sleeper, but did have one sleep disruption. This book has science that makes sense behind it - ultimately follow the baby's queues. Bricklet started doing his nights the same week I went back to work, is an excellent napper, and puts himself to sleep. Mostly this is luck, but I think we played a role in supporting good sleep habits.
The first three months are hard - you're trying to learn how to care for another human being who is completely dependent on you and has terrible communication skills. Get the cuddles in. Enjoy the silence during middle of the night feedings Enjoy their sweet breath. Enjoy their fuzzy head. Enjoy how they snuggle right into you. Enjoy every second, even the hard ones - because it's over in a flash and you'll miss those moments (even the crying, I get super nostalgic anytime I hear a newborn cry).
For the been there done that readers, what advise to you sweat to new parents is this best thing you were told or learned?