I’m excited to share this post as part of a new partnership with Disney Baby, where I’m going to have a chance to write a lot more posts geared toward expectant and new mothers. Check out the end of the post for more details!
Of all the parenting misinformation out there, the idea that babies regularly “sleep through the night” at a very young age – if you’re doing your job right, of course – is perhaps the cruelest. As if it wasn’t hard enough to make sure you’re getting enough sleep yourself, now you’re supposed to stress out over your baby’s sleep habits?
Here’s the truth: newborns are biologically programmed to have irregular sleep patterns. And “sleeping through the night”, according to medical experts, simply refers to a 6-hour period of uninterrupted sleep (some say 5 hours; I’ve been unable to find a consensus). That means if you put your baby down at 8 PM and he sleeps until 2 AM, guess what? He “slept through the night!” (Didn’t feel like it, though, hmm?)
Parents like – and need – to sleep, so by all means, read up on different methods and techniques for helping your baby sleep longer if you like, and use the ones that feel right for you. Just don’t freak out about it, or get down on yourself if your baby doesn’t seem to fit the sleep-training mold. As any mom with more than one kid can tell you? There is no mold! (And it’s totally OK not to follow any sleep program in particular, too. Lots of babies never get “trained” and still end up sleeping just fine when they get older.)
Losing the baby weight:
By now I’m sure you’ve heard the tired old advice: “It took you 9 months to gain the weight; it should take 9 months to take it off.”
Well, maybe, maybe not. Some women seem to shed their pregnancy weight within a matter of weeks. For some, it likes to hang around a bit longer – or a lot longer.
I always found that the increase in breastfeeding around the time my babies started crawling led to a sudden and rapid loss of those last stubborn pounds. Other women find that their bodies like to hang on to a little extra cushion while they’re nursing. A lot of how your body responds will depend on your genetics, activity level and hormones.
But no matter where you fall on the spectrum, you definitely do not need to be freaking out about losing weight when you have a new baby!
Eat sensibly, incorporate some movement into your life…and then try to relax, be patient, and make room for more exercise or fitness efforts as the time and energy becomes available.
There’s no rush: you have the rest of your life to try to fit back into your old jeans!
Yes, there are a lot of classes, workshops and activities out there that promise to help socialize, enrich and teach your baby. But a newborn gets all the socializing and learning she needs just by watching and interacting with Mom and Dad.
“Mommy and Me” type classes can be fun for you and offer a good way to get out of the house and meet other parents in the same boat, but trust me: you don’t need to sign up for outside activities to have a smart, happy, social baby. And if you don’t have the budget or the desire to sign up? It’s definitely not freak-out-worthy.
Note: “don’t freak out” doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t consider any of these issues. I know that would be impossible! But don’t let yourself get too anxious or stressed over any one thing. Your baby will continue to change over the coming months and years, and you’ll start to develop a rhythm and understand how to make all the parts of your life fit together again.
In the meanwhile, stop, take a deep breath, consult a mom friend you trust…and don’t. freak. out.
This post was sponsored by Disney Baby. I’ll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing more stories to help women make the journey to motherhood a happy one! Stay tuned for more details!