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Today we’re talking about life with a newborn. Three things that will help you give yourself grace as you get used to life with a newborn.
Today’s guest is Valerie Trumbower — the creator of New Parents Academy and a postpartum doula. She has a free expecting parents workshop — and a SUPER helpful class on newborns called Expecting 101. She also has a free workshop and a class for adoptive parents (LOVE THAT). You can also get tons of tips if you follow her on Instagram.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — it has a bonus video that can prep you for life with your newborn!
Life with a Newborn:
Newborn care is like customer service.
The three truths of motherhood
Can you hold a newborn too much?
Trusting your instincts on your limits.
Remembering you are BRAND NEW at this, and showing yourself grace.
You’re both doing the best you can!
Other things that might interest you:
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
Check out all my podcasts:
[00:00:00.330] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast! Today on Episode sixty, two we’re talking about. Newborns! They’re great, they poop, they eat, let’s untangle them.
[00:00:26.360] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:51.110] – Hilary Erickson
OK, before we start today’s episode, I would love a review! You know, you want to just jump in Apple podcast and just say all the kind words, right? Just do it while you’re listening. Just do it. I’ll, wait, I’ll still be here. Actually, you can do it while you’re listening. So multitasking. Thank you.
[00:01:06.960] – Hilary Erickson
OK, I just finished recording today’s episode and I’m recording the intro. And I have to say I love this episode. I think you guys are going to get a ton of information out about it. And I loved today’s guest. I totally want to go have lunch with her right now. Today’s guest is a certified lactation counselor, which means that she can help people breastfeed. She is a postpartum doula, which honestly, I think might be better than a labor duola because you have me when you’re in labor.
But when you go home, I’m not there. And so postpartum doula comes into your house and helps you adjust to life with a newborn plus your body that’s making all these kind of crazy changes. So a postpartum doula is pretty snazzy. She is also the creator of New Parents Academy, which has courses and an Instagram, just tons of information about adjusting to life with a newborn.I can’t wait to introduce you to today’s guest, Valerie Trumbower.
[00:01:56.600] – Hilary Erickson
This episode of the Pulling Curls Podcast is sponsored by the online prenatal class. For couples, it simplifies understanding labor so you can have a more relaxed pregnancy and birth taught by a highly experienced labor and delivery nurse and can be done wherever you are, whenever you want. No more arranging busy schedules to fit in a prenatal class. Save 15 percent with the coupon code untangled, you can find out more at Pulling Curls Podcast and the menu under courses or in this episode, show notes.
[00:02:24.170] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Valerie, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:02:26.990] – Valerie Trumbower
Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.
[00:02:28.990] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, it’s so I just think it’s so exciting to talk about newborn life because it’s so exciting. It’s such a fun time of life that I have shadow banned out of my memory because I really don’t remember that much with newborn. So Valerie is a postpartum doula and is going to tell us all the best tips with newborns for sure.
[00:02:44.630] – Valerie Trumbower
Thank you for having me. And I’m excited to be here. And you are not the only one who feels that way so often when I’m talking to people who are expecting, they’re like so excited for their baby to arrive and they’re also like sort of freaked out at the thought of this teeny tiny human and what they’re going to do with them. So I’ve lived in the newborn stage for years. I’m like on constant repeat in the newborn stage. So I’m glad to be here to talk about it.
Yeah, that’s like New Labour, right? Yes. I can shadow around newborns because I don’t do it every day. But labor, I’m like, oh, girl, I got you. Yes. You’ve been in labor for years and I’ve been raising newborns for years. I spend most of my time with newborns. So luckily I have not been in labor myself. No. Yeah, no, me neither. And I actually not that long ago had someone say to me, you know, is it hard when you leave a family that you’ve worked with?
Don’t you feel like it’s your baby now? Because that was a little strange. Like, no, I don’t feel that way, but I’m so, so happy to be there. I mean, it’s a hard time. It’s a really sensitive time for family. So getting people on the right track and it’s a lot of confidence building for sure. Yes. Yeah. And that’s what a course can do. And if you guys has, of course, all about newborns.
So I’m going to link those in the show notes. But today we’re going to give you some truths about life with a newborn, which I’m super excited because I think my prenatal class was just kind of like it’s just going to be sunshine and rainbows when that baby comes out and it doesn’t really matter. It’s so true. And that’s exactly what I say with my course is like, OK, no no unicorns, no rainbows on this. Because I think wouldn’t you rather hear now before your baby has arrived and while you’ve actually slept somewhat of a full night’s sleep here, what it’s really going to be like, rather than get this, like, fantasy story and then be in the middle of it and be like, why did no one tell me this was going to happen?
So I think it’s important to get the truth now. So and it is it’s such I don’t mean to be like doom and gloom about the newborn stage. It is awesome. It’s fun to see what this little person looks like and to get to meet your baby and all of those things. But what we’re talking about today with three truths about life with a newborn, I think these are things that are so important. There are things that when I’m working in people’s homes and as a postpartum doula, I generally start the first or second night that people have come home from the hospital.
And so these are things that I’m repeating over and over during that time that I’m in their home, because because you’re sleep deprived. Because you need to hear it again. So I think it’s I think it’s good info. Yeah. All right. Let’s jump in. What’s the first truth? Let’s jump in. OK, it’s going to blow your mind. Are you ready? It’s probably not going to blow my mind. I’m not sure it’s going to.
But your baby will cry. That’s my first. Your baby will cry and everyone’s like, yawn. Who the heck no? This is important because your baby will cry. But it is their only form of communication, remember, it’s their only form of communication. So this is big because your baby is going to cry. And typically we’re used to like being sad when someone’s crying or like, oh, that’s so. And not that you don’t feel bad that your baby’s unhappy, but understand your baby is just trying to get a message across.
So coming at it from more of like a detective standpoint and not taking that crime personally. So your baby isn’t crying because they don’t like you or they don’t trust you or they’re on you. Make them uncomfortable. Your baby’s crying because who knows? And we talk a lot about it inside of my course. But it could be that they’re hot or cold or they have a dirty diaper or or need to be fed. It could be a lot of things, but people are so quick to to take it personally.
So I think it’s it’s tough for. So just reminding yourself, telling your spouse so that they’re reminding you that your baby will cry. This is normal. So I love that. I do say it’s just like they’re talking to you and later on they’re going to tug at your shirt and ask for a goldfish. But right now they’re they’re crying. That’s the only thing they could do for sure. And I have twins, so I feel like I might be a little more immune to crying, because when there’s two babies at once, very often someone’s crying.
And I say that to people who are pregnant with twins. And I’ve gotten this blank stare of like, oh, my gosh, what? It’s like, yeah, somebody is crying because it’s like, wait, you’re changing his diaper. Wait. So I looking at it more of like I’m doing my very best at this moment. I’m so sorry that you’re crying and I’ll be right with you, but I’m doing my best and that’s really all that you can do.
It’s so funny. It’s like customer service, right. Like if somebody calls and complains and you’re like, I’m so sorry that your Internet connection is slow today. We’re doing our best to remedy that. And then just. I’m so sorry. I’m doing. We should you can try that as a soothing technique to I’m sorry, buddy. Yes, sure. But it is like customer service.
[00:07:32.010] – Hilary Erickson
We’ll have technicians in your field soon, right?
[00:07:35.270] – Valerie Trumbower
What, between one and three, someone will be there to help you.
[00:07:39.750] – Hilary Erickson
OK, that was an awesome truth, what’s truth number two?
[00:07:42.870] – Valerie Trumbower
Truth number two is that you can’t spoil a newborn so people come home from the hospital or birth center or wherever they’ve delivered, and they immediately worry that they’re doing something wrong. And so you can’t get this baby to go to sleep and the only way you can is to rock him. But should you not rock him? Because then he’s going to want to be rocked when he’s 15. No, you don’t worry about it. You just rock your baby. You want to hold your baby, hold your baby. So this new let your baby do these things without feeling like you’re forming bad habits and your baby has been with you all of this time for months and months. So helping your baby to just understand how much you love them, you’re there, all these things without worrying that you’re like, oh gosh, is this awful? Am I doing a bad job? So I think it’s important.
[00:08:32.610] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. I mean, the beauty of babies is they don’t have a whole lot of memory, right. They don’t remember they just ate. They just know they’re hungry.
[00:08:38.430] – Valerie Trumbower
exactly well. And that’s one people will say. Should I not? She’s looks like she’s hungry. She’s giving the cues that she’s hungry. But I just set her an hour ago. If I feed her again, if she’s going to want to be fed our for the next ten years. No, go ahead and feed her.
She’s going to be sixteen. Well, actually, yes, she is going to want to eat every hour for the rest of her life.
[00:08:56.580] – Hilary Erickson
But that’s so true because actually I do feel like my family eats every hour. So, yeah, you’re right.
[00:09:02.570] – Hilary Erickson
I actually have a post, though, on Can You Hold a newborn too much? And my answer is physiologically no. But if you are to the point where you’re just like, I cannot stand all this touching, put them down, take a shower, everything’s going to be fine. I think people are like, I should hold them all the time. You need to balance your needs with the babies, too, right? Like, I am not a big, touchy, cuddler. And so there were times when I was just like, I cannot hold you ten seconds longer. So I put them in there slowly. Wind it up. Wind it up, guys. That’s how old I am. Then walk away for a little bit and that’s fine too. You got to balance everything
[00:09:35.790] – Valerie Trumbower
for sure. And I think that that’s an important thing to touch on to where it’s OK. It’s OK to hold your baby and rock your baby and it’s OK to not want to hold your baby and not want to rock your baby. And it’s a time of adjustment for everyone. So and I say the same thing to people all the time. It’s like put your baby in a safe space and go get in the shower. If you’re, like, starting to lose your marbles, step away for a minute.
[00:09:59.070] – Hilary Erickson
It’s OK. It doesn’t make you a horrible person. Yeah, I had a friend who just had a baby like a year ago, and I would just be like, just go take a shower. She’s like, third shower tonight, Hilary. I was like, OK, put on the Enya and just sit in your bed for five minutes. You’ll be everything will be fine. That’s why you create a safe crib for your baby. Yeah. And everybody, they do the double take your baby in the hospital. You have to watch a movie about it. It’s like there’s no way I would ever shake this precious piece of material that God has sent me. And I’m like, you love them and you would do anything for them. But there may come a point in time where the cry will not stop and your best plan of attack is to put them in their crib. Their very safe crib and walk away.
[00:10:38.070] – Valerie Trumbower
Oh, for sure. And I think trusting your instincts on that, I say to people all the time about breastfeeding. I say it about everything, about new parenthood is you’re constantly weighing the straw that broke the camel’s back. As soon as you go down, the whole team’s going down. So you’re starting to lose it. You step away, you do… Go outside, sit on your porch, pretend you don’t have a baby for a minute, and then you’re going to come back in as a fresh new set of eyes for sure. I think that’s the case.
[00:11:04.520] – Hilary Erickson
I was just thinking about it in customer service, right? Because I’m sure when a customer service rep gets that Karen on the phone, then they’re just like, I can’t tolerate this. They’re like, let me put you on hold for a minute. Right? And they go listen to some Enya or they take a shower.
[00:11:19.890] – Valerie Trumbower
Yeah, exactly. You seem like you’re in a safe space. You’re on hold. I’m going to go hop in the shower. Exactly. I didn’t realize how much a newborn was was similar to somebody calling to complain.
[00:11:31.320] – Hilary Erickson
They just complain all day long. That’s what they do.
[00:11:33.540] – Valerie Trumbower
Right, exactly. Look, we’re totally like. Yeah, and aren’t you excited to meet your new baby? Now we’re really painting a rosy picture. I swear it’s going to be awesome. But I just. It’s important info.
[00:11:45.860] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. OK, truth number three.
[00:11:47.680] – Valerie Trumbower
OK, truth number three is that you are all doing something that you’ve never done before. You are. Your partner is and your baby definitely is. So you wouldn’t, you know, go out, you wouldn’t take up Olympic swimming and think that you’re going to be great at it fresh out of the gate. You have never parented before. You’ve never had a brand new little person. And guess what? This baby has never even breathe the air before. OK, so your baby is adjusting or learning to breathe air. They’re learning to breastfeed if that’s what you’re doing or bottle feeding and they’re learning to just live outside of the belly. This little person has lived in fluid all this time. They’re getting used to all of those things while you are surviving on less sleep than you’re used to while your relationship with your partner. Changes considerably as soon as this little person gets here, so it’s a new dance you’re all doing and you’re just learning what your role as a parent looks like. And so I say this because you need to show yourself, grace, you will learn all of the things because you think of, oh, look at that woman. “She knew as soon as the baby did this, he wanted to do that.” OK, you’ll know that to someday. But this baby’s only been here for a few days. So really, it’s a learning curve.
[00:13:06.360] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Babies come out with a cone head. You guys didn’t know. And everyone’s always like, well, I’ve never seen a baby with that cone head. And I’m like, that’s because we’ve got a hat on them. And that’s the same thing with, like, newborn life. Right? You don’t see those first few weeks because nobody’s like, let me show you my picture of me airing out my boobs online. That’s not the Instagram photo most people put up in those first few weeks. They put up Happy Baby photo. And so you just you just haven’t seen this before. It’s a it’s a hidden secret that we are letting you guys in on right now
[00:13:33.560] – Valerie Trumbower
for sure. And let’s add that you’re that baby sometimes have hairy backs. I was just with a family not that long ago and they were like the soft spoken family who so excited. This was like an adoption. And I we’re getting the baby into the bathtub and they kind of look at me and I was like, are you wondering if she’s going to have a hairy back forever? They’re like, yeah, no, she’s not. I think there’s just things about newborns that people don’t know, but no one talks about all that stuff.
[00:14:03.750] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, honestly, because you forget a lot, because it really is a very short period of time. You’re not living through this for a long period of time. Like people can talk about teenagers and their angst because it lasts for years. Right?
[00:14:16.610] – Valerie Trumbower
[00:14:18.590] – Hilary Erickson
Versus that newborns say, really, I feel like two weeks is the hard… is real trenches and then you slowly start to make it out. What do you think?
[00:14:27.720] – Valerie Trumbower
For me myself, I think three weeks, like if I’m talking to a family they’re expecting and they want to hire a postpartum doula. We talk about their budget and I say I am not going to let you run out of money before this baby is three weeks old. I’m going to get you through week three because very often there’s the baby’s going through a growth spurt and lots happening. You’re kind of coming off of like, oh, my gosh, you have a baby. This is so great. It’s still so great. But you’re coming down from that high while the rest of the world feels like you’ve had your baby for a pretty long time. Nobody’s bringing you food anymore. No one’s coming over to do those things. So I think three weeks is like just at the end of three weeks where that’s like a big that’s a big hump to get over, I think.
[00:15:13.000] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And in the eternal structure of having a child, that is a very short period. But to you it seems like every day and also every day there’s no like start an end to the day when you have a newborn because you’re you’re livin’ twenty four hours a day.
[00:15:26.870] – Valerie Trumbower
for sure. I know. Yeah. And it’s it’s challenging. You’re starting to realize I’m going to be up a lot while the rest of the world is sleeping. And my advice, find a good Netflix show like it sounds like. But shouldn’t I be cuddling my baby and…?Sure, if you want to, but there’s going to be times where you’re falling asleep and you wake up with your nipple in your baby’s eye and you’re like, oh, boy. So whatever it takes to help you get through the nights or get through kind of I talk to people a lot about what’s what’s the time that’s the hardest for them. And for a lot of people, it is like 2:00 to 4:00 a.m. So…
[00:16:01.620] – Hilary Erickson
yeah, it’s a very lonely time because you feel like no one else is doing this with you. Right?
[00:16:06.000] – Valerie Trumbower
For sure. And you’ve woken up three times while the rest of the world’s going to sleep, you know, so we really I feel like I need to like end on more of a high note. I feel like I’ve been like doom and gloom about newborns, but it’s such an awesome stage. But there’s just I think the confidence building, like, I can’t say it enough to know that you are doing the very best you can. You’re doing something you’ve never done before. This little person’s doing something they’ve never done before. And you just wait. You’ll all be in your rhythm doing it, get into your groove. But it takes some time for sure,
[00:16:40.740] – Hilary Erickson
Especially remember that like humans are created to need everything when they’re born. It’s funny you see these deer plop out of their mom’s belly. They’re standing up within a minute and then they go over and eat grass. And you’re like, if we’ve left a baby on the bed, they would just die. They have literally zero instinct to do anything. Some say they can crawl up and breastfeed, but I’ve never seen it.
[00:17:02.550] – Valerie Trumbower
Right, exactly. We have a we had a bird’s nest in our backyard and we were like, oh, look, I think the babies are in there. My gosh. Like a couple of weeks later we’re like, wait, they just said their goodbyes. You just taught that bird to fly. And off they went. And nope, it’s certainly not like that at all.
[00:17:18.380] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And that’s this. There’s something so awesome about that because there is a great deal of love that’s built up because they need you for absolutely everything.
[00:17:27.000] – Valerie Trumbower
For sure. And I think that’s where skin to skin comes in of what is your baby want right now. They just want to like smell you and hear your heartbeat and all of those things that are so familiar to them because that’s what they’ve been listening to for all the past nine months. So when it’s like I don’t even know what to do with this baby, back to Netflix, sit down watching Netflix show, take your shirt off and put your baby on your chest.
[00:17:50.480] – Hilary Erickson
Right. Such simple needs. And again, the baby store is filled with very expensive needs. And that’s really especially for a newborn. It’s not what they just want your chest. They want food. They want a clean diaper and a swaddle.
[00:18:04.820] – Valerie Trumbower
I, I practically need it like a straight jacket and like to walk through bye bye baby. Where I’m like, oh gosh, look what she’s about to buy. “Don’t buy that. You’ll hate that. Let me tell you what’s better.” My daughter will be like “mom, she… She didn’t ask.” Like I can’t, I can’t watch somebody buy that. They don’t need it.
[00:18:23.890] – Hilary Erickson
So true. Especially with newborns. Guys don’t feel like you need to buy the store. Getting some good advice that will carry you through is such a better investment than all that baby crap that’s in there.
[00:18:35.030] – Valerie Trumbower
And realizing what we’re talking about is the behind the scenes, every new parent has felt this way. So being open with your girlfriends or your sister or whoever about it’s OK to be like this sort of sucks today. Like this baby. I don’t know. Am I allowed to say this? You know, this is hard, OK? This is hard. Like, this isn’t like you were saying the social media picture of whatever this being having those people that you can just be real with during this time. That is it’s so, so important.
[00:19:05.660] – Hilary Erickson
And by saying that you’re not saying I hate this baby, you’re saying this is hard for me. Learning to be an Olympic swimmer is hard for me.
[00:19:13.840] – Valerie Trumbower
Yeah. Oh, no. For sure there is. It’s OK to hate what you’re in at that moment and love this person more than you ever imagined. With that being said, you might… There’s a plenty of families I work with who in the middle of the night, people very much open up, open their hearts. Some people are like, I’m supposed to love this person beyond belief and I’m just getting used to this whole dance I’m doing. And that’s OK, too. Whatever you are feeling is OK. Having people you can talk to and be real about those feelings is even better.
[00:19:46.430] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And and open up to other people because there may be something you’re feeling that either you can get help for or maybe isn’t OK. Like if you’re thinking I want to shake this baby, they can give you tips on “put the baby down.” And because you’re feeling it, the chances of someone else having felt it once before, like shaking your baby. I have one hundred percent thought I need to put this down like we are at our wits end right here. And that doesn’t make me a bad mom. Other things make me a bad mom. But I’ve had years to perfect those.
[00:20:15.760] – Valerie Trumbower
We won’t talk about those today. But yes, having three children, I feel you. But yeah. No, and it doesn’t mean if you say to someone, “hey, this sucks, I feel like this way or whatever,” it doesn’t mean you now should be prescribed an antidepressant. And I know that it just needs to be open and it might get to the point where that does happen, but it could very well just be talking through things with people is helpful.
[00:20:40.450] – Hilary Erickson
So great to know that other people feel the same way as you do. That’s almost as good as the Prozac. I think
[00:20:45.450] – Valerie Trumbower
It definitely is, especially when you have all this time, your nursing or feeding or whatever, and you’re just going through social media. And everywhere you see this happy picture of everything and it’s hard and you’re sleep deprived and your body is recovering from this huge accomplishment, you just grew a person and brought them into the world. The fact that you’re like feeling a little down, that’s all right.
[00:21:08.510] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So many hormones, guys. If you guys could see the graphs, like the hormones are just like waves of the sea are up and down and up and down
[00:21:15.350] – Valerie Trumbower
for sure. And I will very often like I’ll be working in someone’s home. So I’ll work like 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. or nine to 7:00. And all of a sudden I’ll hear, upstairs, the shower going and it’s like you could be sleeping right now. Why are you showering?
[00:21:29.390] – Valerie Trumbower
Mom is showering because she woke up in this pool of sweat and she’s like, what is wrong with me? And it’s it’s refreshing to be able to say this is the physical proof of what we’ve been talking about. These hormones are going through your body and it’s still people are like, really? OK, am I just going crazy? No, you’re not. Your body is just adjusting to this. So it shows in different forms for different people and but it’s happening to everyone.
[00:21:56.110] – Hilary Erickson
The gradual changes of your body while you’re pregnant, you don’t notice as much like your ribcage expands and your blood volume just massively increases. And then after you have your baby, your body has to go back to normal. And so it shuts down normal processes in order to do that. And that’s hard on our bodies.
[00:22:13.630] – Valerie Trumbower
and amazing. It’s really hard. And yeah, I look at pictures. We took this picture when we were on our way to have our twins and God bless my neighbors because I’m standing in my front yard. I lift my shirt, you can see it on my Instagram, actually, from my boy’s birthday. I don’t know. I put this picture up, but I lift my shirt, my massive belly that at that point I was like, “it’s not that big.” It was huge.
[00:22:37.130] – Valerie Trumbower
So. But then I look at them like, pow, OK, but now somehow I’m back to like somewhat the size of a normal person, but it’s amazing. So it happens over time, but over time, nine months to grow that person. So you’re not going to immediately feel better and immediately look like you looked and you know, it’s hard.
[00:22:56.150] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, my gosh. You guys, I love this talk today. We’re one hundred percent going to have to have Valerie back on for more truths about newborns and all the good things that happen after you have a baby.
[00:23:04.210] – Valerie Trumbower
And I’m up for it any time. I’ll hang with you any time.
[00:23:07.780] – Hilary Erickson
OK, guys, did you not love that episode? OK, so Valerie’s courses, which are awesome and because she’s so I love how much truth she’s saying because first off, you know, even if I tried to tell you the truth, maybe I couldn’t because it’s not something I do every day. And like I said, I kind of shadow banned it from my brain. And also, it’s such a short period, you know, you don’t experience newborn truth long periods, like I said in the episode.
[00:23:29.540] – Hilary Erickson
So definitely check out her course. She has an infant CPR course. She even has one for adjusting to life with a newborn if you’re adopting. Which I think is extra awesome because you haven’t had nine months to grow that human inside your belly and you might not have a whole lot of preparation. So a newborn class for adoption, I can’t even believe how helpful that is to parents out there. So check it out. Or if you have a friend that’s adopting, tell them about this episode, because I think they could learn a lot from Valerie and all the things that she has to teach.
[00:23:56.260] – Hilary Erickson
Definitely check out the show notes. This is episode sixty-two. You can go to Pullingcurls.com/podcast. It’s on the menu. It’s on all the menus. Look for episode 62 and check out the show notes, the all the stuff that we can give you all the information because you are not going to want to miss it.
[00:24:10.600] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we help smooth out a few of the snarls in your life. We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review until next time. We hope you have a tangle free day.
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