Coming Home and Settling in: The First 6-8 Weeks

Bringing home a new baby is an incredible experience; I’ve been there twice and it still seems surreal. The spoiler is that bringing home a new baby can also be overwhelming and exhausting. So, let’s talk a little about those first few months; perhaps it will help relieve some unnecessary expectations.

Biological Age
First things first: just because your baby is 3 months old doesn’t mean he’s actually 3 months old. Wait. What? When it comes to sleep, instead of the birth date, we use the Estimated Due Date to determine age. Picture a preemie born one month early. When he is two months old (two months on the earth, if you will), developmentally, he will only be one month old. Babies change and develop so quickly in a short amount of time, so we’d be doing them (and ourselves) a huge disservice if we assume that they're ready for something when biologically they’re just not yet there.

No Schedules or Patterns!
The first weeks are usually a blur, but they go by incredibly fast (I know it doesn’t always feel that
way when you’re getting up for the 10th feeding in the middle of the night while everyone else is sleeping!). The first weeks are primarily about doing what you need to do to recover, get as much rest as possible and enjoy your baby. After my experience with my first (my daughter), I was 100% set on having my second (my son), in his crib and in his room the second I came home from the hospital. I was terrified to have another ‘non-sleeper’ so I put a lot of pressure on myself to get into a routine as soon as possible. But guess what? In the first 6 to 8 weeks there’s no such thing as a schedule or pattern. Biological sleep rhythms haven’t developed, and days and nights are all mixed up. So…there’s no sense in feeling guilty or stressed. Where your baby’s sleep is concerned, your only job upon coming home is to create a safe sleep environment and get as much rest as you can.

SIDS & the Safe Sleep Environment
You have likely heard some reference to SIDS or ‘Sudden Infant Death Syndrome’. SIDS is defined as an unexplained infant death in a baby younger than one year (more commonly between 1-4 months). While the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, a lot of research has been done and science has given us a good indication of what kind of a sleep environment we can create to reduce to risk of SIDS for our babies. It is simple: other than your sweet baby on his back looking up at you, there should be nothing in his crib. You can visit the Government of Canada Safe Sleep page for more information.

Period of Purple Crying
The Period of PURPLE Crying refers to inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy, happy baby that comes out of nowhere, lasts a significant amount of time (hours sometimes) and is usually very hard to calm. Nothing will relax your little one even once you’ve checked feeding, changing, sleeping followed by rocking, snuggling, singing, off the list. This can occur any time of day but most often happens late in the day or in the early evening; so generally right when you’re trying to wind down for the day, are having dinner with the family or have just gotten other children to bed. (Sigh). The good news is: This. Is. Normal. (Eek. I know). This is most common in the first few weeks after birth and will peak around 8 weeks, although it can last a little longer than that. Do what you need to do to stay sane and know that this will pass. Obviously, if you are worried, follow your instincts and speak with your physician.

Please get in touch if you have additional questions or require additional resources regarding the first few months of life 😊