The PPB Parent Plan for the First 3 Weeks:
1. Become a practical parenting dream team.
You won’t be as successful during the first 3 weeks if the two of you aren’t on the same page. Read our How to Become a Practical Parent post together and get psyched to knock-out this parenting thing as a team!
2. Encourage and praise each other!
This will be a time when the two of you either completely bond or totally fall apart. We want to make sure it’s not the latter. The surest way to facilitate a beautiful bonding time (that you’ll look back on fondly for a lifetime!) is to remember to compliment each other on the great job you’re each doing with the baby. Everyone feels a little insecure about how they’re managing during the first 3 weeks, so pump each other up! Look for the good. Lift the other up when they’re down — as you’ll both definitely get down some during this time because it’s naturally overwhelming. Say the positive thought you’re thinking about your partner out loud when you’re thinking it. And don’t ever underestimate the power of a little encouragement during this roller coaster of a time. Your jobs are not just to take care of the baby, you need to take care of each other too.
Print out 2 copies of the schedule; put one on the fridge and one in the nursery so everyone’s aware of the goings-on of your baby’s day. Better yet, print out 4 and keep copies in your day planners too. Or print out as many as you can and give them out to anyone who wants one!
4. Print out the scheduling logs and put them on a clipboard (or in a binder) in your baby’s nursery.
Print out 22 copies of both the day and night logs to start. If you’ll be putting them in a binder, print them back-to-back on the same page (for added convenience) and hole-punch them. Circle the times that you’re using each day/night in advance. So for option A, circle these times: 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 10, 1, 4. For option B, circle: 7, 9:30, 11:30, 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30, 12, 2:30, 4:45. This way you won’t have to think too hard about it once the baby’s here and you both have “baby brains.” Mark those suckers up too! Initial, leave notes to each other, edit times, make smiley faces, and comment on everything! They’ll become a cherished keepsake and looking back you won’t believe how you survived it all so well.
5. Assign tasks to each other in advance.
Usually one parent takes on the lion-share of the care giving. If that’s true for you guys, we strongly suggest you assign these tasks to the spouse that isn’t going to be your baby’s primary care-giver: a couple of feedings every 24 hours (preferably two in a row so the other spouse can get some sleep), sponge-bath time, changing the diaper pail daily, and changing the crib sheet every few days or when your baby has wet it (it’s a big pain!). Of course, you can assign different tasks than the ones we’re suggesting here — the point is to set it up in advance so there’s no confusion as to who’s responsible for what and then no resentment later on.
6. Read up and be ready to use our 15-Minute Rule.
We can not stress enough the importance of helping each other use this sleep-training technique, starting on day one. That means you will need to become experts at it and support each other when administering it because it will no doubt be incredibly hard for both of you at first to hear your baby cry. If you’re both on board, you won’t question each other so much — or worse, undermine each other’s efforts. When you both commit to it and execute it for the full first three weeks, you will be fast on your way to creating the “Rock Star Sleeper” you both really want!
7. Have the Nursery, Crib, and Changing Table ready.
Get these three things all prepared for baby’s homecoming with the help of these posts: Nursery Organization Must-Haves, Crib Essentials, and 20 Changing Table Essentials. You’ll also want to familiarize yourselves with Nursery, Night One! and Why Use PPB Schedules?
8. Have a place for your baby in every room.
9. Have one partner keep watch for signs of Postpartum Depression or “Baby Blues” in the other.
Odds are good that a mother after delivering her baby will experience one or the other, so the other partner needs to know the difference and to vigilantly be checking for the signs of postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is highly treatable and there is NO shame in getting help and NO need to suffer. Read our post on the differences and talk to your OBGYN/pediatrician together about it upfront.
10. Work to maintain some normalcy.
If you like to listen to music together at night or watch recorded television series together — continue to do it! Your life should not end once your baby joins it. Don’t let your baby hold your marriage hostage during these first 3 crazy, beautiful weeks. Start off the way you want to continue on — and that means starting off strong and with intention! And take care of yourselves too — schedule something you’ll look forward to like a postpartum massage, a mani/pedi, or a night out sans baby. Do what it takes to keep your marriage strong and healthy because, really, it’s the BEST thing you can do for your baby. And read our post: How to Retro Parent Today! for good old fashioned parenting tips.
Enjoy! XO, PPB