Required Reading (Must-Read Tips for Your First Week with Baby) Round-the-clock feedings. Nursing troubles. No sleep. No problem. We'll help you through the first crazy days.

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Before giving birth to my daughter, Lena, I thought I was equipped for our first week home together. After all, I’d assembled the crib, washed the tiny clothes, stocked up on diapers, and hung the pink butterfly curtains in the nursery. Looking back now, I think: How could I have been so naive?Sure, I’d done the necessary prep work for my baby’s arrival. But all that stuff is fluff when it comes to making it through the maiden days of motherhood. That’s when you need to master new skills that you can’t prepare for or practice until your baby arrives, like breastfeeding, soothing a crying child, surviving on no sleep, and tackling other areas of uncharted territory. To help you ease into your first week, we’ve asked experts and moms who’ve been there how to handle the most common challenges.
Sleep Deprivation
Yes, your newborn will snooze as much as 20 hours a day, but it won’t be in long stretches — think one- to four-hour spurts.
Survival Technique: If you’re like me, and you can sleep just about anytime and anywhere, then by all means, sleep when the baby sleeps. What if you’re not wired for naps? Then enlist help, stat.
Mom Tip: “My mom stayed with us after we brought my son home,” says Kim Brown, of New York City, mom of Tessa, 2, and James, 6 months. “Having her there at night to take shifts with the baby allowed me to get stretches of uninterrupted sleep.” If a relative isn’t available to do a night shift, trade off with your husband. Have your hubby keep the baby in the living room while you get some much needed zzzs and tell him to bring the baby to you only when it’s time to nurse.


Soothing the Baby
Infants, fresh out of the cozy confines of the womb, crave constant holding and soothing, says Harvey Karp, MD, creator of the Happiest Baby on the Block book and DVD.
Survival Technique: Don’t worry about spoiling your newborn — it’s not possible. Instead, re-create the sensations of the womb, which can trigger a calming reflex in your newborn, Dr. Karp says. To do this, he recommends swaddling, swaying, shushing, holding your baby on her side, and letting her suck on your finger. “These steps performed individually or together can often be a virtual ‘off’ switch for the crying,” he says.
Mom Tip: Experiment to see what works for your baby. “My first one loved walks outside in the Bjorn, even in the dead of winter in Indianapolis,” says Donna Belville, who now lives in Olympia, Washington, and is mom to Julianna, 5, and Samantha, 2. “I bundled her up and got outside.”

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