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Veteran moms share their best advice on making life with a newborn as stress-free as possible.
"At some point, you need to forget all the advice and go with your intuition. Your baby's unique, so don't count on him sleeping, eating, or acting like anyone else's. And don't even think about trying to get your baby on a schedule for the first six weeks."
"Nobody told me that in the blur of new motherhood I might not remember even the basics of what I was doing — like when my baby last nursed. I started writing these things down on a notepad by the changing table."
"I wish I'd known how fast the infant stage goes by. Spend all the quality time you can with your baby, and take lots of videos and pictures."
"Allow any older children to help with bathing, changing, and dressing the baby so they don't feel pushed out. Ask visitors to watch an older kid for several hours so you can bond with the baby. Then, ask the next visitor to watch the baby so you can play with the older child."
"Make sure guests who just want to 'hang out' come over when the timing is good for you, and don't be afraid to (politely) kick them out if need be."
"Don't worry about having the house perfectly clean — people understand. Better yet, they'll often help you clean it up!"
"I wish someone had told me to read a book on infant sleep right away. It would have saved us a lot of frustration, and we could have worked on getting her to sleep better right from the start."
"Get slipcovers for your couch. The amount of spit-up and urine is astounding."
"If your baby acts like she's hungry but won't feed, try saline drops. Often it's because their little nose is stuffed up."
"A nasal aspirator and gripe water are two essentials you'll want on hand."
"Time without the kids — either by yourself or with your spouse or friends — is very important. It helps you feel human again."
"A new-moms group or breastfeeding support group is very helpful. You can get a lot of tips and ideas, and you'll discover that you're not the only one who relies on the swing for the baby's nap (even though you swore you'd never do that) or whose 6-month-old still wakes up every three hours during the night."