Thursday, July 12, 2018

First week with baby Beck + Tips for Adding a new baby

Week 1 has completely flown by! I always tell friends and family, the week before you have a baby is the longest of your life and the week after you have a baby is the fastest. It's so bittersweet! I have felt fantastic after this birth and have even been out of the house multiple times for a little run to Target or the park with the kids. Dylan went back to work after the 4th of July on Thursday and so I have officially had 2 days on my own with all 3 kiddos and I'm actually so relieved to say it went well. I am for sure one of those moms who always worries if things will go right and if I'm doing all I can and it can be overwhelming to myself. I'm grateful I have a mom who keeps me in check and reminds me that I'm not unique and every other woman on the planet that has had more than 1 kid has survived it and made it work haha. Now I am not trying to sugar coat it and say it's been butterflies and rainbows, the bigger kids have absolutely pushed my buttons, started fighting over random toys, and Dash has even picked up the baby and put him on the floor and tried to feed him popsicles everyday but you know I've learned it's really okay and to just roll with it! I've made a point of giving all my kids individual attention throughout the day whether it's a bed time story, making a train track, or even just a conversation with eye contact and a hug and kiss, it doesn't take much to make sure everyone feels love, and honestly since having Beckham my heart has only tripled in size. Cheesy but so true! I am completely exhausted but at the end of the night when kids are in bed and I've gotten Beck to sleep I can take a deep breath and realize how incredibly blessed I am. (And watch Netflix alone and have my own snacks!!)
Everyday we have gotten more adjusted to his routine, breast feeding, sleeping, and getting out a little bit but I will say by day 5 I hit a wall with exhaustion and the bigger kids had reached a peak of obnoxiousness and fighting. It's only been a week and half but I have realized and applied so much into this new life with 3 and I think it's worked well for us. Some days have been hard and others a breeze because grandparents have taken the kids for a few hours to give me a break which is so awesome.

I love that other moms and I can talk online about motherhood and what works and how we can ask eachother for advice so I wanted to share some here. It might not be what you think though. I tried not to be too specific because the thing I know more than anything, is that every family and child is different so not everything will work the same for every family. You really have to find what works and know what's best for your family BUT there is a few things that I feel are very important for every mama to know. Here's a few things that have made the transition of a 3rd child relatively easy for us..

1. Let bigger kid(s) be as involved as they'd like to be.
Don't force them to be excited or involved, let them come to you. I think it's also important that you don't keep baby from them. Letting your bigger kids know you trust them and want their help will make them feel so important. It's easy to be scared and not let toddlers hold the new baby but if they can sit on the couch or a safe place and you let them hold baby by themselves they will feel so proud. I try not to say "be quiet the baby is sleeping!" and let them be themselves. If I really want baby to sleep I'll go put him in my room with the door shut and keep the bigger kids distracted but often they like to sneak in and kiss him, which sometimes gives me anxiety because they wake him up but I know these days are numbered and so special and I feel so blessed that they love their little brother and don't resent him.

2. Keep A ROUTINE for your toddler or older kids
Even with summer here it's been so important for my kids to maintain some sort of routine. We have maintained their regular bath time, story, drinks and sleeping in their own beds every night since Beck was born. Dylan and I have sometimes taken turns doing bed time and I think it's really important that I put the baby down to go have some one on one time with my bigger boys before they go to bed. They see me with the baby all day!

3. Lower your expectations and learn to just roll with it
I think we as moms worry about so much and have this idea in our heads of what life is "supposed to be" and "look like". The reality is that's just not true, for ANYONE. Every family is different and no story is the same and each child of yours WILL be different and their own individual. I worried how Dash would respond and honestly prepared for the worst. I was ready for hitting/smacking/regression in the progress we've made and was prepared to endure it and work with him through it. Luckily it's been the total opposite which has made my mama heart so happy but I've also not pushed my toddler either. Potty training is going slow (I'm lazy) and there is times where it literally takes me hours to get out of the house, but it's just a short phase of life and everyone adjusts no matter if it's your first baby or 5th. Don't set the bar high and yourself up for failure. Have low expectations and just go with it and you'll be 10x less stressed and more happy.

4. Know what works for YOUR kids and family
One of the most important things I could stress is being in tune with your family and already existing children. The baby will adapt to your family, what's important is knowing YOUR own boundaries and your kids' too. If you know your toddler still needs a nap every day, stick to that. If you know you're going to get stressed at the grocery store with 3 kids, wait till you can go alone or have someone help with the kids. It's okay to not be able to do it all and it's okay for certain things to be harder for your kids. So many people gave me advice to make my husband help at night but truthfully I like to let him sleep! It's so much easier for me to nurse and rock the baby back to sleep on my own than wake my husband and try to make things "fair" when he's the one getting up for work at 430am. I also know that I need to get out of the house earlier in the day or I start to feel stuck and bored. Some people are slower going and would like to be out during the afternoon. Just do what works for you and don't worry about accomodating anyone other than your own kiddos during this time with a new one.

5. Don't put stress on older kids to perform or "be good."
This one may be more of an opinion but I think it makes perfect sense. It's easy to get overwhelmed and mad because you just want them to "be good".... don't let their tantrums upset you and get you to react negatively. Toddlers will see you busy with the baby and act out or try to get away with things to either get your attention or see what they can get away with. PUT THE BABY DOWN and give them that attention they need, if possible. If they regress with their potty training, don't be disappointed. Just get back on the routine and keep encouraging and being supportive and consistent with them. So often we want kids to always be nice and happy and obedient when we ourselves as adults don't always have our best manners or are in the best mood! Especially when a new baby comes home I think it's perfectly normal for kids to have more energy and excitement which comes across as obnoxious and wild. Although they don't need to be out of control I think it's so important to be lenient on them and to not get to upset. Instead of saying "be good" I like to tell my boys can you be "extra helpful and use our listening ears today?" It seems to be received a lot better and they usually like to try and accept the challenge.

There's probably a million things that moms could say for advice on adding a baby to the family but truthfully you just have to find what works for YOU and stick to that. The most important thing I could tell you is that you WILL adjust and you will never regret having another little one. The only thing we can control is ourselves as the adult so keep yourself in check and remember to take a deep breath or put yourself in a little time out when things get rough at home. I have 3 kiddos in a 2 bedroom duplex with no fenced back yard so I know what it's like to feel trapped and like kids are bouncing off the walls! I've had to put everyone in the stroller for a walk or put everyone in the car to go get myself a drink just to have a few minutes of them strapped in car seats haha. As a mom you just learn what works and take everyday one step at a time. You got this mama!!!