Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of weeks. I’ve been a little busy as we welcomed our second daughter into the world! For the past few weeks I have been able to stay at home to help out my wife with our toddler and newborn. I have more than loved these last couple weeks off but man is it hard work to be at home with two kids!
We were in the hospital longer than expected because our newborn was in the NICU due to fluid in her lungs after the c-section. She recovered quickly and my wife was doing an amazing job at providing pumped breastmilk and we were discharged within a few days. The last few weeks have flown by though and we are at home now chasing around a toddler and enjoying the time with our newborn. Since I’ve been at home the last couple weeks I’ve noted some things that I wanted to share on how I was able to make the most of my time off and how you can too if you find yourself at home with a newborn.
Help your wife
Breastfeeding is tough work and some of the most important work. Our daughter being in the NICU for a few days kinda threw off our breastfeeding plans. The NICU demanded a lot of milk, and my wife was able to pump and we had frozen breastmilk at home that we were able to bring in. This led to a tough time at home for my wife to figure out breastfeeding all over again even though she nursed our toddler until 15 months. We’ve seen a lactation nurse a few times already and my wife is working as hard as she can. All that is to say – breastfeeding and caring for a newborn is tough work and helping your wife in whatever way possible should be your top priority.
I know it sounds a little stupid to say to get sleep when you come home with a newborn because everyone says it and it’s near impossible to get sleep with a newborn, but this should almost be your second top priority. Sleep is important for the nursing mom and important for the dad too. Hopefully you can work together with your loved one to fit in as much sleep as possible even if it’s in the form of naps throughout the day or biphasic sleep. Sleep is necessary for breastmilk production and a multitude of other things. Treat sleep as a top priority for yourself when you get home.
Resist the blue light
Sometimes all you may want to do when your newborn goes to sleep is to grab your phone and do something mindless. Now I’m not saying to not do that at all just try to resist it when you’re nearing the end of the day because the blue light from your phone or computer can effect how you sleep because it tricks your body to think that it’s daytime. Apple is tackling this with their new feature to add more yellow light to your screen, but as of this writing this update isn’t out yet. For your computer you can install f.lux to adjust the color temperature of your monitor. Still though, try to get sleep – don’t scroll endlessly on Instagram.
Make some bone broth
You’re at home with a newborn, what a better time to throw a bunch of bones and veggies in a crockpot to make bone broth. I like Nom Nom’s recipe for this or The Domestic Man has a nice recipe in his book. The prep time is super simple and all you have to do is throw this stuff in a crock pot and let it simmer as long as possible. Nom nom also has a great guide for storing bone broth in the freezer.
Make easy meals
I’m chasing around a toddler and my wife is slaving away nursing our newborn so meals need to be easy and simple and preferably provide left overs. So far my favorite go to meals the past couple weeks have been as follows:
- Taco bowls – These are super quick to make and provide lots of leftovers. Just buy a bunch of ground beef and cook it once so you can assemble these bowls for a couple of days.
- Slow cooker kalua pig – Grab and big pork shoulder and let it slow cook overnight and you’ll have meals for a few days. We eat this with salad, cal rose rice or baked potatoes. Don’t fear the carbs here, they’re necessary for the breastfeeding mom and if the rice and potatoes are eaten leftover as cold they provide resistant starch for your gut bacteria.
- Burgers and fries – No not McDonald’s, make your own. Buy a bunch of ground beef and sweet potatoes and you can make a pretty tasty meal super quick. Burgers cook quick on the BBQ and fries can be cut and tossed in the oven in no time. Make extra patties for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner and just eat these lettuce wrapped or on a pile of mixed greens.
- Eggs and bacon – Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy. Just eat some eggs and bacon. The eggs are great for the nursing mom because of the choline and cholesterol in the yolks. Luckily we have an amazing egg farm near us where we can buy eggs in bulk at a great price.
Enjoy your family
We have been blessed with the opportunity for my wife to stay at home with the kids, so being at home with the whole family is something I was able to enjoy the last couple of weeks. I told myself to get off the phone, skip trying to get good pictures of the kids and just soak it all in. The kids will grow up quick so just stop and really soak in the time that you get to spend uninterrupted with your family.
I work inside a building all day normally. So being at home with my toddler and newborn was a perfect time to break the norm and actually let my skin get some sunlight during midday. We busted out our bouncer in the backyard and just hung out outside. We need vitamin D and nothing’s better than midday sun to get that vitamin D synthesizing for mom, dad and the kids.
Eat some pizza and ice cream
What?!?! Now unless your Celiac or truly have a dairy allergy disregard this one. But sometimes we just needed a pizza and some ice cream. During your time off with a newborn your diet isn’t gonna be perfect. Don’t worry about it. One pizza and some ice cream here and there in an otherwise healthy person isn’t going to make you unhealthy just as one or two healthy meals in an unhealthy person won’t make them healthy. Don’t let perfect be the enemy good. Is that how that phrase goes? Not sure, just know we abide by the 80/20 principle and a pizza here or there isn’t going to kill you.
Go on walks
Along with getting sunlight we need to move more. Getting outside on walks is good for your health and for your sanity too so that you don’t get cabin fever while you’re at home with a newborn. If you’re at home with your first kid or you have a whole tribe, try to make time to get out of the house to break up the day and go on a walk.
These are just a few ideas that stuck out for me as I’ve been home the last few weeks. Feel free to share any thoughts you had on how to stay healthy and sane while at home with a newborn in the comments below. Thanks for reading!