Surviving the First Week with a Newborn

by ParentCo. February 07, 2023

new mom holding a new born

It's a blur, but there's so much we want to remember. Here are dispatches and fever dreams from the first days at home with a newborn.

Day 1/Night 1

This parenting thing is all coming back to me. Baby eats, falls into milk coma, fusses, and eats some more. Only one poop at 2:20 a.m. (Make a mental note to ask doctor if it's supposed to be this green.) I’ve lost track of actual sleep minutes but I feel empowered. I don't like to throw around the word "supermom" but this all seems manageable. I text friends with multiple kids how right they were that childrearing is so much less stressful the second time around.

Come morning, I bake banana bread for the first child and move light furniture while my Percocet-Motrin cocktail is fully engaged. Being conscious of the importance of self-care, I take a restorative nap to power up for another late-night party with me and the little lady.

Day 2/Night 2

My baby is a vampire. I desperately Google "out of milk, baby still rooting/crying/sucking on hands" and post the same on every Facebook mom group I can find. All sources suggest baby is "establishing milk supply" but obviously not fast enough for her liking. As I offer empty breasts, her skeptical side-eye quickly morphs into a red-hot rage. Come daylight, my husband finds me slumped over in bed, a shriveled husk clasping a snoozy newborn on my chest. I gasp for water.

Days and Nights 3-5

Concerned about the lack of poop on my part. Massive intakes of water and stool softener have been stymied by narcotics from C-section. Baby is still here. No concerns about her poop output. In fact, I'm pretty sure the load she just blasted sans diaper was a giant "eff you" for ignoring her earlier hunger grunts in favor of an extra 90 seconds of sleep. Do all babies turn this red when they’re mad?

Day 6? 7?

Days have fallen into comforting patterns of TV, laundry, napping, and cookie consumption. Nightly routines are optimized with multiple sources of water, three electronic devices, swaddle and backup swaddle, and breastfeeding pillow all within reach.

It would be nice not to be chained to the couch all day. Discover unused Moby wrap and watch how-to videos while shoving baby precariously into various folds and flaps. Baby is not amused.

Day 7, definitely

Spend quality time recording baby's facial expressions and editing into a video that will surely go viral once I add music and subtitles. Husband is stuck on endless assembly mode as house fills up with "go the eff to sleep" paraphernalia. Swing chair not as effective as with first baby. Discover dog napping in Moby wrap.

Same day? Night?

Google "sleep train newborn." Internet informs me she calls the shots on the schedule at this age. Google "best new Netflix shows" because one more episode of "Chopped" might drive me to find and stab Ted Allen with a cleaver.

Day/night 8ish

Desperate to be near other humans but what if other humans pass measles/mumps/Zika onto my tiny human? Compromise with 5 p.m. dinner at empty restaurant where finishing a single glass of wine takes precedence over food. Once home, scrub baby and Google "meningitis transmission before vaccination." She feels warm but temporal thermometer puts her at 79.7 degrees, which can't be right.

Next day

Baby definitely not feverish. Discover it’s the weekend and invite child-free friends over to look at baby. Channel my inner Mother Earth by breastfeeding with ease, soothe with shushing and, talk with authority about how much less stress the second child is. Hope they don't notice odor of dog pee.

Google "nipples stripped by baby gums."

3:40 a.m.

Baby woke me up with horking sound. Google "whooping cough."

Curse these breasts and their magical powers. Imagine the napping opportunities if I could breastfeed while doing everything else simultaneously! Determined to conquer Moby wrap.

Moby wrap 2, mom 0. Baby red and angry.

Breastfeed baby on couch and watch “Chopped.” Ted Allen looks cute in his grill master cowboy outfit. Baby even cuter conked out in milk coma.


Look at calendar and learn the month has changed. Freak out over how quickly childhood slips away. Back to work in T-minus nine weeks. How I’ll miss these sweet days.



Also in Conversations

4 Upsides of Having a Partner Who Travels for Work

by ParentCo.

Work puts food on the table and travel is often inevitable, so, in that spirit, I give you some of the upsides, if, like me, you need a little help spinning it.

Continue Reading

father mother and child
How to Share the Mental Responsibilities of Parenthood 

by Claire McMurray

The cognitive burdens my husband had been shouldering had been largely invisible to me, and the same had been true for him. Here's how to make a change.

Continue Reading

Brown-eyed child watching from her mothers shoulder
To the Heartbroken Mom at Her First Daycare Drop-Off

by ParentCo.

It may feel like the most difficult morning of your life. But trust me, mama, your baby is in good hands and daycare drop-off won't always break your heart.

Continue Reading