10 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Stage + Nursery Reveal

Surviving the Newborn Stage | Salty Blondes

Paige here! Holy cow, it’s been a while! Regan has basically taken over the blog because I have been doing pretty much what I titled this blog post until very recently…surviving! I actually felt so guilty for a while because I saw all the cute insta moms swooning over their new babies and telling them to “stay little” and “stop growing” while I was over here counting the days until West was old enough to sleep train.

Surviving the Newborn Stage | Salty Blondes

Now looking back at these newborn photos it makes me a little sad that I couldn’t enjoy it more because he just looks so precious! BUT, not going to lie I do MUCH better once my babies get a little sturdier/less fragile and can start to get on a schedule. West is two and a half months now and starting to get super sweet and smiley, doing pretty good with his schedule, and I’m overall in a much better headspace! (I’m sure my hormones evening out is a big part of it too).

Surviving the Newborn Stage | Salty Blondes

Besides the natural hormone fluctuations after pregnancy, there were a few other things that made the newborn stage particularly hard for me this time around. West had his days/nights confused and had colic pretty bad for a few weeks. I do NOT do well with a screaming baby. It literally puts me in fight or flight mode and I feel like I need to fix it immediately even when there’s nothing I can do. Obviously I also have a toddler this time around which totally changes the game. MJ loves West and can be so sweet to him, but he also gets SO aggressive with him it’s terrifying. I have to to have my eyes on him 24/7. One time I left them both on the bed just for a second to grab something from the bathroom, and came back in to MJ jumping OVER West and barely making it! The picture below basically sums up MJ’s constant mood towards poor Westie haha. Lastly, as most of you know from instagram we found out my mom’s cancer came back at stage four shortly after West was born. As you can imagine, finding out that news combined with crazy hormones, no sleep, and a brand new baby is not the best combination!

Surviving the Newborn Stage | Salty Blondes

ANYWAYS, enough of the hard stuff. If you’re a new mom reading this with similar struggles, I promise it does get better! I basically got to the point where I was like OK, I’ve got to take action and do SOMETHING to help me feel more sane here. A few weeks in I started feverishly researching, bought a new book that helped tremendously (more on that below), and got West on a ALL the colic supplements safe for newborns. I wish I could tell you one magic thing that worked to fix all the sleep and colic problems, but I think it was a combination of many! Below are my top ten tips that have saved me!

Surviving the Newborn Stage | Salty Blondes
  1. Moms On Call: I heard about their book from friends and decided to buy it when I got desperate. I didn’t think I’d need one this time around since I read a few with MJ and thought I had things figured out, but I’m so happy I got this one! They have the best tips and I love being able to have a schedule to *try to follow. They are also VERY straight to the point (the book is basically all bullet points) which I loved. Who has time for reading?!

  2. Supplements: I wish I could tell you one magic supplement that worked wonders for colic, but I am not patient and basically tried all of them at once and one or all of them worked. Not sure which one, haha, so I just kept using them all! I use Gerber soothe probiotic drops every night, simethicone drops after almost every feeding, and gripe water whenever West starts to get really fussy. I’ll link them all at the end of this post!

  3. Have Husband do Last Feeding: If at all possible, have your significant other do the last feeding so you can go bed early and get at least one longer stretch of sleep in!

  4. Pump then Feed: I actually wish this wasn't the case, but it’s easier for me to just pump and give West a bottle right now. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but for me it’s either he’s CONSTANTLY attached to the boob, or takes a bottle in a fraction of the time. I’ll try breastfeeding again when he’s a little older, but for now he can’t stay awake at the boob!

  5. Don’t Change at Night: Sorry little guy, but momma’s got to sleep! I started doing the absolute bare minimum when West would wake up at night, and that includes no longer changing him until the morning! (Unless he has a VERY bad and obvious dirty diaper). I just load him up with diaper rash cream AND natural baby powder before bedtime.

  6. Accept Help: People are going to offer to help you with a new baby. Take it! Obviously it’s easier to accept from people you’re related and close to, but take it where you can get it and don’t feel bad about it!

  7. Move to Their OWN Room: After the first couple of weeks, move them to their own room with the door closed and a sound machine on. This is one of the tips from Moms On Call, but it was huge for me so I gave it it’s own spot :) It may sound sad, but you just don’t hear them as much! It was absolutely necessary for me with West waking up almost every 15 minutes sometimes. When they’re right next to you, you wake up to every grunt and whine, even when sometimes they can put themselves back to sleep! This way, you only wake up when they’re really awake and crying. THB though, I don’t think I could have done this as early without the owlet camera and sock! (Shown below). I love being able to check in on him from my phone and make sure he has safe oxygen levels and heart rate!

Surviving the Newborn Stage | Salty Blondes

8. Hands Free Pumping Bra: I didn’t have one of these with MJ, and it’s a game changer! It turns pumping into more of a break, where you can be on your phone or watch part of a show, than a chore. I’ll link this one I use at the bottom of this post. It’s cute and super cheap!

9. Take the time for skin to skin: For me, this just bonded me with both of my babies. There’s no better feeling than a newborn baby laying on your chest! With West it was harder because after nursing/feeding I’d feel like I’d have to get up because there was so much to do, but taking at least a little bit of time each day for skin to skin helped me bond and feel so much love for him!

10. Don’t Let Guilt Get To You: This is still so hard for me. But I’m working on it! You’re just not going to be able to get as much done as you used to for a while, and that’s ok! I would (and still do sometimes) feel so guilty about not spending as much time with MJ, getting chores done, doing nothing on our blog etc. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing the best I can, and that my number one priority is keeping my kids and myself alive and healthy!

Surviving the Newborn Stage | Salty Blondes

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Surviving the New born Stage | Salty Blondes
baby boy nursery | Salty Blondes

Jello Playdough

I’ll be honest, play dough is one of the (many) things that can really spark my OCD 😬 It’s a problem I’m willing to admit I have. Daniel and I used to be nursery leaders in our church, and we would bring store bought playdough every week. I was SO OCD about the one and two-year-old kids mixing the colors, I would only let them pick one color to play with at a time. Those poor kids, LOL.

Salty Blondes | Jello Playdough

Luckily, I’ve come a long way (not really), and I now allow Cal to play with multiple colors of playdough at a time, so long as it stays on our Gathre mat. Haha. Actually, the real reason I’ve come a long way is because Cal isn’t actually THAT in to playdough (yet) and probably wouldn’t ever try to mix the colors even if I asked him to.

Salty Blondes | Jello Playdough

Love that sweet boy. Lately we’ve been working on introducing Cal to more textures, and also strengthening his hands, which is why I started MAKING homemade play dough recently. I love that I know exactly what ingredients are in it, and that it’s totally safe, even if he were to put some in his mouth. The recipe I’ve been using is made with JELLO, which is what gives it it’s color, and makes it smell so yummy!

Salty Blondes | Jello Playdough

And I really do LOVE our Gathre mat for things like this! Once we’re done playing, I just quickly wipe it down and hang it back up. It’s also perfect to put under the high chair, and I want to get one to go under the easel Cal got for his birthday for painting and coloring, too! Be sure to check out the recipe for the play dough I’ve been using below.

Salty Blondes | Playdough Jello
Salty Blondes | Jello Playdough

Homemade Jello Playdough

ingredients

You will need:
  • white flour – 1 cup
  • warm water – 1 cup
  • salt – 2 tbsp
  • cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
  • cooking oil – 2 tbsp
  • Jello – 3oz box

instructions

How to make:
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until it thickens into a ball of dough. This step does take a little while. Just keep stirring, you’ll know it’s ready when won’t be able to stir anymore.
  3. Once it has finished cooking, place the dough onto a silpat mat or floured cutting board and wait for it to cool.
  4. Once it is cool (at least 20-30 minutes) knead it, adding in flour until it is no longer sticky (about 1/2 cup).
  5. This recipe makes a lot of playdough. You could easily half the recipe, and there would still be plenty to play with.
  6. When you are finished playing, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep for at least a few weeks in the refrigerator, with daily use. If at any time it starts to be a little sticky, just add more flour.

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Salty Blondes | Jello Playdough