Two weeks ago my wife and I welcomed our third child into the world! We have two other children – a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old – so we’ve been thrown back into the newborn infant phase of parenting. And we’re finding that there’s quite a lot about this stage that you forget – or that you simply block out of your memory!
So I put together this list of 10 things you relearn about newborns after you have another child. It’s meant to be lighthearted, and hopefully rings true for anyone who has held a newborn in their hands!
They’re so little!
Definitely the first thing you relearn is just how tiny newborns are! Our other two children weigh 30-40 lbs, and holding them quickly becomes a strenuous arm and lower back workout. A 6-7 lb newborn, in comparison, feels as light as a feather!
Newborns also barely fit in their onesies, which is shocking because their onesies seem so small! And their tiny clothes barely take up any space in a laundry hamper (too bad they pee, poop, and spit up all over everything else!).
Lastly, newborns look so petite in their car seats. It’s almost hard to buckle them in because there is so little baby to wrap the buckle around!
Swaddles are an absolute lifesaver! Newborns are so fidgety – they’re always kicking their legs or flailing their arms. It’d be impossible to get any sleep without swaddles!
While we were still in the hospital after the birth, my wife and I had to use blankets as swaddles. But once we got home we dug up the swaddle wraps we used for our other two children. They make swaddling a newborn so easy! We highly recommend these:
Cluster feeding is exhausting
Newborns usually eat every 2-3 hours. But sometimes a newborn will cluster feed – meaning the newborn will eat more or less nonstop for a couple of hours. And it’s downright exhausting!
I swear our newborn has done this a few evenings now, and it always seems to fall around the hours of 3AM – 6AM. It’s rough timing because right when we’re finally able to fall back asleep, our other two children wake up. And they wake up fully charged and ready to start the day!
White noise comes back
Much like swaddling, we’re big proponents of white noise for babies. Especially in a household with two other young children, there’s plenty of (very loud) noises in the house! So to minimize these distractions and help our littlest one have good sleep habits, we lean on white noise.
This is our go-to white noise machine:
And if we don’t have a white noise machine handy, this is our go-to white noise YouTube video:
Newborns poop a lot
Newborns poop 4-12 times per day, and I swear our newborn is on the higher end of this range. That’s a lot of diaper changes! And of course they always seem to poop a second time right after you’ve changed their diaper, swaddled them up, and started feeding them again!
And their poop squirts are loud!
The gastrocolic reflex occurs as the stomach stretches with food, and the colon is automatically signaled to empty and make room for more food. This reflex is very active in newborns, and each time they feed they usually squirt out a poop.
What you relearn is just how loud their poop squirts are! There’s never a mystery or guess as to whether or not a newborn has pooped. You will hear it! Even in our perpetual sleep-deprived state, my wife and I have been woken up at night by our newborn’s poop squirts!
Tiny hats reappear!
Although it’s the middle of the summer, we still have a pile of tiny hats on hand to keep our newborn extra warm and cozy! It’s a piece of clothing that you don’t really think a lot about until you have a newborn, and then all of a sudden you’re finding yourself constantly wondering where did their hat go? Because their hats will never stay on! So you better stock up on some extra hats:
Gotta burp them
Babies tend to swallow air when they drink milk, especially bottle-fed babies. Our older two children are so far beyond bottles that we all but forgot about burping! The need to burp a baby is so particular to this early phase of life!
Their crying isn’t that loud…
Before you say anything, hear me out! I personally think newborns get a really bad rap for their crying. It’s not that loud, at least not in comparison to our older children. Have you ever heard the wails of a 3-year-old that’s in the midst of an epic temper tantrum? That’s loud, ear-piercing crying! A newborn’s cries are nothing but little whimpers reminding you to feed them or change their diaper!
They’ve got a secret smile!
Babies won’t socially smile until they’re about two months old. However, newborns do have a reflex smile that appears when they’re sleeping. They kind of randomly do it, so it doesn’t happen too often. But when they do, it’s the cutest little smile you’ll ever see!
I’m a big fan of the ’90s alternative rock band Semisonic, and took the phrase “secret smile” from their hit song Secret Smile (off the album Feeling Strangely Fine). The lyrics in the song start off:
Nobody knows it but you've got a secret smile And you use it only for me
If you’re looking for a catchy song to get you through the day, then give it a listen:
Do you have multiple children? What did you relearn about the newborn infant phase after having another baby? Let me know in the comments below!
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