How To Thrive With A Newborn
Did you know life with a newborn could be easy? Did you know it could be the most fun you’ve ever had? We’re here to help you start off right and make life with your little bundle of joy EASY!
Babies like routines, not schedules. They won’t follow a clock, but they will follow your lead, so take the stress out of guessing what and when your baby needs something and make it easy on yourself by learning this simple routine. EASY is actually an acronym created by the dearly missed Tracy Hogg, a British nurse and bestselling author, who was better known as “the baby whisperer.” She understood what babies needed and provided new parents with many effective and simple methods that proved making the transition into motherhood can not only be a successful one, but a fun and easy one.
E.A.S.Y. is a solid routine that is sure to make your newborn baby not only happy to know what comes next in their new existence, but also creates trust between your baby and you, since they know their needs will be met each time by responsive, loving, and present parents.
Tracy believed strongly in connecting with your baby and communicating with them, even when they haven’t learned how to use words yet to communicate. A great way to start building trust and communication is by following a routine that addresses their needs in a timely manner.
What is E.A.S.Y.?
E.A.S.Y. stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep, and You. Now, these might seem like simple and obvious concepts for anyone, but you’d be surprised how often new parents fall into something Tracy termed “accidental parenting,” which can sometimes result in undesirable behaviors and patterns you teach your baby without even knowing you’ve trained your baby to respond that way.
Babies need to eat, and they need to eat often. As a new mommy, you might feel like it’s a non-stop feeding frenzy, but when you put your baby on a routine and keep the routine going, you will create positive reinforcement that their needs are being met and that you are listening to them communicate.
Crying is the best way a baby knows how to communicate and the moment they wake up, they will tell you that they're hungry, though that’s not always the reason. Sometimes they can be up sooner from a nap because of gas; thus they need to be burped, or have their legs moved in a bicycle motion to help them alleviate the gas. In other cases, a baby could wake up sooner because they are in a growth spurt and need more food more often. On average, the moment a baby wakes up from a sound nap, they are most likely going to be hungry, and that is when you being the routine and start with Eat.
Usually, the key to a good feeding is to let the baby eat on one side until that breast is drained and then switch to the other. Some babies can eat very quickly and might be done feeding on one side in 10 to 15 minutes. Others might take a little longer like 20 to 30 minutes per side. Again every baby is different, so the more you get to know your little one, the better attuned you’ll be to how fast or slow they eat.
If you’re worried they aren’t getting enough food, like I was in the very beginning, just keep track of how many poops and pees they are doing. If they are pooping and peeing on a regular basis within 24 hours, then they are getting enough food.
One huge tip is always to burp your baby after each feeding. Remember a baby can't burp themselves. I like to burp our little one after she’s finished on one side before going to the other side. Then I burp her again after she does the second side. It might take a while to get a burp out, but trust me it's worth being persistent because then she’s happier and can go down for a peaceful nap afterward without waking up early because of gas.
Depending on how old your baby is, this time will vary, but let’s focus on the idea that this is a newborn baby. A newborn’s activity time comes right after the feeding is done and should last for about 15 minutes. After that, they might become fussy because they are getting tired and need to sleep. Activity time is an excellent time to talk to them a bunch before getting them down to nap. This is a great time to let your newborn hear you sing and laugh, to watch you smile and stick your tongue out, and to show them your silly side. Our baby loved it so much she started copying us, and now she’s smiling all the time and sticks her tongue out when we do.
This is also a great time to change a dirty diaper, because at this point in the routine after a full feed, your baby most likely has had a poop and a pee and is waiting for you to clean it up. In my case, my baby loves to poop during the feeding part of the routine. I just make sure that when I put a diaper on, it's secure and the part around the legs has been properly adjusted so if they do decide to “do some work,” as my husband and I call it, it’ll stay in the diaper, and you can finish the feed.
As activity time beings to wind down, which in the very beginning might only be 15 minutes of a diaper change and a little communication, start becoming calmer and more relaxed with your actions and conversations. The baby should be getting tired, and your calmness will help them understand that it’s time to be calm now and get ready to go down for a good nap.
Sleep is an enigma to a newborn because they were used to being asleep during the daytime in utero and wakeful when you’d lay down at night. The reason for this is because while you’re awake and moving around, the baby is experiencing all your movements while in the womb and it rocks them to sleep. Whereas once you’re in bed and sleeping, your body is still and the baby then wakes up. Thus, once they are on the outside of the womb, it’s important to get them into a routine where they understand daytime naps are necessary, but nighttime is for going to sleep.
A great way to get the baby into the idea that night time means longer sleep is to reduce their need to wake up and feed during the night. This is achieved by something Tracy termed “tanking up,” which means feeding your baby more often as it gets closer to bedtime and doing a “dream feed” right before you go to bed. This ensures your baby is full and shouldn’t be waking up out of hunger anytime soon.
Usually, this means the routine of E.A.S.Y. becomes a little more condensed than usual and instead of letting the baby go down for a long nap during the S time, which you would do during the day, you wake them up sooner to feed them again. Then, when it gets close to your bedtime, let’s say around 10pm, you'll do another feed with the baby, but this time don’t wake them up. Instead, let them feed while in a dream-like state. Your baby might wake up, but if you stay calm and keep things from being too stimulating around them, they should understand it's sleepy time and remain in a relaxed mood.
You're important too during this time. You just gave birth and need time to take care of yourself too. After the baby goes down for a nap in the S part of the routine, it’s You time. I recommend taking a warm bath or doing things that are enjoyable and relaxing for you.
Honestly, this is a great time for you to nap too once the baby is asleep. Getting enough rest is important because you might only be getting 4 consecutive hours of sleep a night, even on this routine. Therefore taking a few of your “You” times during the day to get in some extra rest will be beneficial and a smart decision in the long run.
Does This Actually Work?
In my experience as a new mommy, this is the routine we started with when our baby was a few hours old in the hospital, and it has helped us greatly to understand our newborn’s needs. My husband and I felt well equipped with the knowledge of what our baby needed and when to give it to her. Sure some days are different than others, especially when our baby is in a growth spurt, but no matter how long or short each part of the routine is, we always keep our routine EASY.
Our baby is now two months old and has started sleeping in longer periods throughout the night. She is an extremely happy baby and not fussy. We have really enjoyed these first two months, and despite the lack of sleep, this routine has been so easy to follow and fun to do. It helped us feel competent when taking care of our newborn. Remember every baby is different, some fussier than others, but they're just trying to communicate with you, so listen and do your best to address their needs. Know that you were born with the right instincts to do this job. Trust yourself and use these tips to help along your own natural instincts into motherhood.
The best part about this routine is that if you get off it (don’t worry it happens sometimes) you can restart it, just remember to begin with Eat first and follow with the rest. A baby can always learn to do something different, it’s up to you to show them what they should be doing and stick to it. Perseverance is a way of life when parenting, and you and your baby will be thankful for your effort in time, no matter how long it takes. Good luck to you and your little one, and know you are going to be a wonderful mommy!