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How to survive your child's first year

Updated on June 5, 2011
My beautiful daughther, week 1.
My beautiful daughther, week 1.

 Babies are sometimes very difficult. I know, trust me, I know. I am one of those women who had their children one right after the other. They are 11 months apart, the oldest being 15 months as of now. My son, premature by six weeks, never slept through the night until the week I brought my daughter home. There were days that I thought I was going to go crazy from lack of sleep. However, I managed by a few tips that I will tell you later. I got lucky with my daughter. I delivered her at 39 1/2 weeks along, and after the first week, she slept through the night. Having two babies is difficult. You never stop. Here are the tips that have saved me.

1. Trust your instincts. The first day that Bella (my daughter) came out, I kept feeding her because she acted as if she were hungry. The doctors told me I was over feeding her. So I did what they told me to. The first week was the worst week I have ever had. I had my active son, and Bella that would cry from 10:30 p.m to 7 a.m. when my son would wake up. I maybe got an hour of sleep thanks to my mom being there to watch Bella. Finally, I listened to my instincts and fed her more and has slept through the night since then. Doctors are trained and most of the time, know what they are talking about. However, not all babies are the same. Bella just so happens to be a big eater.

2. Take any offer for help. It's natural to feel like you aren't doing your best if you accept help. However, for your sanity, accept it. Ask if needed. Mother's are still recovering and their bodies are going through a lot more than on a normal basis. Babies are hard work, no matter how good they are.

3. Take care of yourself. It's easy to forget about yourself when taking care of babies. Keep little snacks around when you are unable to get something to eat. You need your strength to take care of those little ones.

4. Cry-it-out method does not work for every baby. I personally do not believe in it. I believe that a child when do anything when they are ready to. At night, I wait until they cry, if they don't, they sometimes will go back to sleep. I would cuddle with my son in our bed and then put him in his crib once he was asleep. One day, I put him in his crib and he fell asleep on his own. Since then, I can just put him in his crib and close the door and he will fall asleep. I want my children to know that I am there when they need it. Babies cry for a reason, hungry, dirty diaper, gas, or just need attention. If you find what it is and take care of it, you are more likely to have a peaceful time rather than screaming for hours at a time.

5. Give time to your spouse. Babies are hard for both mom's and dad's. I know it's hard to let your child go to a baby sitter but sometimes it necessary. I hear a lot of women say that babies either strengthen or weaken a marriage. Some even divorce over the baby. Take some time to spend with your spouse. Even 30 minutes will make a difference. It's a good way for you to calm down too.

6. Soft music. Enya, classical music and baby nursury rhymes work fantastic. I started playing music at night and my son as well as my husband started sleeping better. Enya normally will put both of my children to sleep which gives me some much needed peace and quiet.

7. Find a support group. I use babycenter.com to talk to other moms and dads. It's great when I need advice or just to vent. I also feel accomplished when I can help another parent who went through something similar to what I did.

8. Keep neccesary items in stock. Wipes and pedialite are must haves for me. Wipes because either a baby is spitting up or the other one threw his sippy cup. Pedialite doesn't expire for a while so it's great to have for those times that your child gets sick, and trust me, they will get sick.

9. Ask a doctor before giving any medications. The amount of any medication that you give changes as they get bigger and older so always call a doctor before giving them any medication. If you think your child is sick, call or visit a doctor. I took my son in because he seemed extra fussy and it turned out that he had 102 temp. They say that a temperature that high or higher can actually cause your baby to have seizures.

10. Breathe in and Breathe out. There are times that I just have to sit down and take deep breathes. Just remember that this stage is temporary.

11. Last but certainly not least, enjoy every moment. I read a recent post from a mother who had a child only 2 weeks before my daughter was born. They lost their child to SIDS. I couldn't help but cry. Children are a beautiful thing. Spend time with them every chance you get. Remember, you can't spoil a baby.

I hope these tips will help you survive your child's first year.

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