Newbie with a newborn—now what?

Expert mom of almost-5 Bethany Mandel gives soon-to-be first-time mom Lyndsey Fifield all the newborn hacks she needs… most of them are how to avoid unwanted/rude comments from strangers tbh.

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  1. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby

    Grandpa here. So direct baby parenthood experience is 35 years in the rearview mirror, and more recent experience is vicarious through my daughter having babies in 2017 and 2019.

    I think your best resource for understanding baby development appropriateness is an in-person network of other parents of similarly-aged children, plus some with slightly older children (such as the other LadyBrains). Published resources are either statistical “averages” or the far extremes. Other parents will give you a more realistic range of “normal.” I had read (in those days it was books only) that a baby should crawl at age 6 months, and became concerned when our first child did not crawl on her 6 month birthday. But our friends showed us their babies who crawled at 5 months, at 7 months, at 9 months, and never (went straight to walking). Much better to see it in person than just reading about it. 

    You will quickly get to know your baby. You will recognize when the baby needs something. And you will probably find just watching your baby entertaining. Even when the baby is sleeping. You don’t need to worry about being bored.

    Your hubby should hold the baby a lot. Especially since I understand the baby is a girl. When we are at our daughter’s, I find it great that when the back door opens in the late afternoon, our toddler granddaughter perks up and excitedly says, “Daddy!” and runs to the door to greet Daddy when he gets home from work. She has been disappointed to find sometimes it’s us grandparents at the back door, not Daddy. Oh well. Glad she prefers Daddy. Dad is the first man to love her and sets the pattern for what she will expect in a man. 

    Finally, important as it is for both you and your hubby to shower love onto the new baby, the most important gift you can give her is to keep your marriage strong. Take advantage of people offering to stay with the baby while you and hubby go out for fun on your own – coffee, lunch, hike, whatever. 

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  2. JennaStocker Member

    I’m due at the end of August with my first. If I think too much about what I don’t know or even what I don’t know what I don’t know (!) it makes me next-level anxious. But @bethanymandel is the voice of reason here and her advice to @lyndsey is reassuring. I just try to remember that women have been having babies for ever, and the things available today are luxuries, even including the sonogram technology we have today. It doesn’t stop me from freaking out about what to do in my (heavy) manual labor job, with no parental leave, but just as you said, I’ll figure it out. Congratulations to both Lyndsey and Bethany and thanks for sharing your insights!!

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