Weeks 3-12ish you start to figure things out. Most men are back to work in the 2-4 week window (which is terrible!). So while you get back to a “normal” routine (Ha ha) your wife is left with pure chaos 24/7.
We had a couple thing to work through with Siena. She was having issues getting enough food due to a lip and tongue tie. We chose to address that as early as possible with a minor laser surgery. It was a quick in and out procedure but required 6-8 weeks of therapy afterwards. Essentially she had to relearn how to suck, break bad habits, and we had to make sure everything healed correctly. This, for both of us, was a pretty emotional time. We had to stretch her wounds in her mouth 2-3 times a day, which is by far the most heartbreaking thing you could do to a newborn. It may not be painful for them each time, but man do they hate having your fingers in their mouth!
At this stage Courtney wasn’t sleeping at night due to constant breastfeeding, she was lousy at trying to take naps, and preferred to manage on her own rather then be swarmed by parents asking a million questions. So needless to say when I got home from work that was my opportunity to shine. Remember the first few week routine? Yea, imagine that on steroids because now you only have 2 hours to do things instead of the full day!
Here is a snapshot of my life after I went back to work. This routine pretty much stays in effect until your kid(s) go to college. I’m sure everyone has a different twist but here is an overly simplified version.
6-7am: You wake up if you’re lucky. By this time you’ve likely been woken up 3-5 times in the night due to a fussy, hungry baby. Mommy pretends to sleep but is too worried baby stopped breathing so she never really sleeps the first year.
You’ve got a little time to shower and eat but hopefully more than anything, if your wife is up, it’s an opportunity for her to take a shower and get some food. She trumps anything you thought you were going to do. If you can, watch the baby for a bit in the mornings before you leave for work.
8-5pm: Working, and sending your wife a million messages checking in and making sure she doesn’t need anything last minute from the store on your way home (Graeters).
5-6pm : Once you’re back home you’ve got to take the baby to give your wife a break and possibly a nap.
You really begin to live for quiet moments like this:
If your wife is breastfeeding when you get home you have a small chance to make dinner for the both of you.
6-7pm: Your last chance to play and interact with the minion before you need to get her ready for bed.
7pm-8pm: Time to begin winding down the nugget. If its bath night (every other night) that is the top priority. Then perhaps some nuggles, a swaddle and into momma’s arms for one last feeding before she hopefully sleeps for a couple hours.
8pm-9pm: You clean every baby product in the house. It may be bottles, it may be toys, it may be counter tops. Then once everything is clean, you SANITIZE everything (luckily there are devices you can throw it into and just mircrowave microwave). But the point is you find something to clean, something to help your wife. Only after that do you have a moment of free time. Maybe you can go to the gym!
One highlight to look forward to is after the first few months (3) and baby gets all her shots you can be out in public! Fortunately we had a very calm and happy baby.
Products that really help during this stage:
- Baby Swing : Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing
- Baby Sleep Sack : HALO SleepSack
- Boppy: Boppy Newborn Lounger