There are no shortcuts in the newborn stage

If you think there are tricks to getting your precious little newborn onto a routine, strategies to get them sleeping more at night, or tips to feeding on a schedule, then we are about to let you in on something: there are no shortcuts in the newborn stage.

The newborn stage is purely survival

Newborns are completely instinctual and unpredictable. They feed regularly because their tummies are tiny, and they sleep when they’re tired – day and night. Forget looking at the clock. Your baby has been in the womb for nine months, and day and night means nothing to them. That’s something you can work on later, but for now, your baby will typically sleep and feed around the clock. You need to adapt to them, rather than the other way around.

You can’t form bad habits

If you think that doing the ‘right’ things will help your baby sleep through the night, ditch that thought. Do whatever it takes to get your baby to sleep, and feed them when they need feeding. Follow your own instincts, and parent from the heart.

Remove the pressure and expectations

Once you realise that there’s very little you can do to change the nature of a newborn, this knowledge will hopefully be a sweet relief to you. Any frustration or pressure you put on yourself to have a ‘good’ sleeper will also be unrealistic (and unfair) pressure you’re putting on your baby.

Get to know one another

Every baby and mother is so different, so don’t compare yourself and your baby to others. Spend the time instead figuring it all out together, trying to stay in tune with your baby and providing what they need. Some days that just means holding them.

Focus on these things instead:


Feed your baby on demand. You can space your baby’s feeds at consistent intervals and offer full feeds, but always be sensitive to growth spurts, developmental leaps (or wonder weeks), and cluster feeding periods. Don’t let your baby scream for food just because it’s ‘not time yet’, but rather find a consistent interval that’s attainable for your baby, ensuring that they’re full feeds as much as you can to avoid ‘snacking’.

The fourth trimester

Newborns change on a daily basis, and it’s important to be sensitive to your baby’s changing emotional and physical needs. The fourth trimester is the idea that babies are born too soon, and that there’s a critical period of adjustment to life outside the womb. Read here about this stage from your baby’s perspective, and how you can help them through it.

How to embrace the newborn stage

  • Eliminate all ‘rules’, expectations, and pressures about what a baby should be like. Forget about comparing your baby or your parenting style to anyone else.
  • Don’t worry about creating ‘bad habits’, it’s just not possible at this stage. Holding your baby, feeding them to sleep, rocking them to sleep…none of these are bad things. How could they be, when they’re so beautiful for both you and your baby?
  • Don’t expect too much of yourself. Honestly, most things can wait, or you can ask for help. It’s such a fleeting stage (believe it or not!), and your baby won’t be like this forever. Here’s a reminder of how fast time goes – savour your baby.
  • Acknowledging that you can’t force your baby to behave a certain way gives you the opportunity to embrace that fact, and to let go of control.
  • This is life with a newborn, so you may as well accept this journey you’re on with them, and do what you can to make the most of it. Have confidence in your own parenting ability, and be kind to yourself.
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