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21 Tips for the First 21 Days with Your Newborn

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  • Post last modified:March 24, 2023

Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of parenting a newborn. Here are some tips that I’ve gathered as a mother of 3. 

1. The Big Three

There’s no need to stress about every possible thing that could go wrong. Instead, focus on these 3 main things, as they are the most important. Is your baby gaining weight? Is your baby settled in between feeds? Is your baby having adequate wet and dirty diapers in 24 hours? If those are all a yes, you can relax and simply enjoy this time with your newborn. 

2. Skin to Skin

This close connection is beneficial for developing babies and can be a soothing mechanism as well. 

mother and newborn portrait
picture of big sister snuggling with newborn baby

3. Meal Prep 

Making and freezing some meals before your little one’s arrival will save you a lot of hassle during those busy first 20 days. 

4. Wear Your Baby

Especially when you have other little ones running around, it’s a great way to be able to do things around the house or even escape for a walk. I loved Ergobaby, but there are a lot of great options, so do some research and see what works best for you and your baby. 

5. Natural Light

Babies don’t have any concept of day or night after 9 months in the womb, so it’s important to expose your newborn to daylight during the day, and complete darkness during the night. Enforcing this rhythm of light and darkness will encourage healthy sleep habits. 

lifestyle portrait taken near Pittsburgh by Laura Mares Photography

6. White Noise

This is a helpful sleep tool for your newborn. There are countless white, blue, pink, and green noise playlists on Spotify that are helpful to use when you desperately need your baby to fall asleep.

7. Give Yourself Grace 

It’s okay to lose your cool and feel overwhelmed. That’s normal. Just remember that this too shall pass, and you are just one person. 

8. Give Your Partner Grace 

Chances are, your partner is feeling just as stressed and unsure about this whole parenting thing. Give them the benefit of the doubt. When you’re feeling stressed, take a walk to blow off steam or do something you enjoy. Then, decide whether you’re still frustrated, and confront the problem with grace. 

loving parents holding newborn in modern bohemian nursery

9. Safe Sleep Habits

There are lots of variables at play when creating a safe sleep environment, so it’s important to reach out to your health care provider as you work out the best bedtime routine for your baby. 

Check out this resource as well,

10. Make Nap Time Fun

Escape the confines of your nursery and make sure you and your baby are getting fresh air. My husband is from the Czech Republic, and this is a huge cultural emphasis. Carving time for your baby to nap outside, or while you are on walks with other moms will preserve both your sanity and your baby’s! Remember, naps on the go are a safe option. 

11. Stay Away From Dr. Google

That small baby acne is most likely not some obscure disease that is about to destroy your newborn. Stick to the professionals, and reach out to health care providers when you need advice. This is a rabbit hole you want to avoid. 

yawning newborn portrait in modern white studio

12. Practice Saying NO

The best way to avoid burnout and frustration is by setting boundaries quickly and sticking to them. You can say no to lots of visitors, people touching your baby, or the cleaning/laundry/housework that can wait till later. Saying NO allows you to spend your time wisely as you enjoy these precious first 20 days. 

13. Support Group

Parenting is not meant to be done alone! Spend quality time with your significant other and be open about what is working versus what isn’t. Join a local mom’s group such as Pittsburgh Mom Collective, or even something within your local suburb. Lean on your support group and remember – it’s okay to ask for help. 

14. Do Things For You

Don’t lose yourself within the craziness of motherhood and take time to do the things that bring you joy. Do you love watercolor? Set up an easel and paint with your baby in a carrier on your chest. Do you love music? Play music during the day and share those special songs with your baby! Simply taking the time to make your favorite tea can be enough to start the morning strong. 

Pittsburgh family sitting in bedroom holding newborn baby

15. Recovery Takes Time 

You are on your own journey. It’s hard to swim your own race when you’re busy looking at the lanes next to you. Every mom recovers differently, and that’s okay! 

16. It’s Normal to Feel Overwhelmed

Within these first 20 days, A LOT happens and it’s totally normal to feel a little unsure of yourself. Rely on loved ones and let go of perfectionism – it’s all going to be okay. 

17. Accept Help

When people offer help – take them up on it! Even if it’s the 10th casserole, freeze it for later. Future you will be grateful! 

lifestyle portrait of a father's hands holding his newborn baby up

18. Keep a Journal

It’s not possible to remember every little detail–even though you think you will. Take the time to write down your newborn’s first smile and all the other adorable firsts! 

19. To-do Lists Can Wait 

Let yourself live in the moment. These 20 days are fleeting and you won’t remember how productive you were with the laundry. You’ll remember reading books to your baby, resting in the rocking chair together, and taking walks in the park. 

20. You Don’t Need as Much as You Think

You don’t need all the outfits, and you don’t need all the toys. Babies live much simpler lives than you’d expect, and the most important thing is the love you show them during these first 20 days! 

21. Schedule Your Newborn Photo Session

During these first 21 days, make sure to book a session for your newborn photography photo shoot. The days fly by quickly, and your newborn will grow faster than you anticipate! 

I hope this list of 21 tips for the first 21 days help you settle in with your newborn in the best way possible! 

Pittsburgh newborn baby laying on bed


Hi, I'm Laura Mares! I'm thankful to be a wife, mother and Pittsburgh lifestyle photographer. I photograph because I believe that life is simply beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.

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