Baby’s first week – prepare to not sleep

Baby's first encounter

Baby’s first week – you will fail

Expect your plans to fail. Expect to not have the brainpower to think around the enemy. No battle plan survives past first contact with the enemy. In this case, your opponent is your newborn and the love of your life.

So, make contingency plans and make some more for when those fail. You don’t have to rack your sleep deprived brain.

Understand the playbook

A quick rundown of your first ten or so days

  • Baby born
  • 1-2 days not sleeping in the hospital due to being checked on, having a crying infant
  • You find that you can sleep through an explosion but a baby sneeze wakes you
  • baby loses up to 10% body weight first week as stomach gears up and colostrum/milk production begins
  • baby makes you feel like it’s starving and you’re a horrible person
  • baby sleeps 20 hours a day
  • baby wakes up to feed, when pissed, when diaper full, for gas, not much else

You will win the war, but prepare to lose some battles

Planning to have baby sleep in a bassinet? Prepare for a co-sleeper as your fallback. Planning to breastfeed? Have a choice of formula ready for supplement when the baby blows through the milk supply or it doesn’t come in quickly enough. Planning to shun the pacifier? Make sure you have one on hand or plan to improvise. Babies want to suck whether hungry or not.

Whatever you do in baby’s first week, you’ll feel like a terrible person

There’s some hormone, or perhaps it’s lack of sleep, that a baby inflicts on you that will make anything you do feel like it’s the worst possible choice there is and that you’re a horrible person.

Please remember the following:

  • You’re not a horrible person most likely
  • If you don’t get some rest, you can’t help your baby
  • Baby’s first week will be forgotten by baby
  • You are not a horrible person

Lack of sleep and stress will do amazing things to a marriage, or even a single person when confronted with a baby. The first week you’ll be tested, and you’ll feel like you’ve failed.

End game for baby’s first week

You’ve won the war for the first week if the following conditions are met

  1. baby is alive
  2. baby has not lost more than 10% of body weight
  3. baby is not broken
  4. you are still sane

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.