Let me preface all of this with this potentially offensive point- I have a general belief that all the baby rules are mostly for people who are idiot parents. Maybe they like to be drunk all day or leave their children in hot cars for hours at a time. If you are an idiot parent- follow the rules. And don't leave your baby in that car. But, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume you are not an idiot parent.
So, let's stick it to the man/APA and break some rules.
1. Let them stomach sleep.
Guess what? None of my babies would sleep on their backs. They flailed and stirred and it never worked. And I feel like 99% of the time that I encounter moms complaining (justifiably!) about their wont-sleep baby, it's because they'll sleep when you hold them but as soon as you put them down (on their back), they pop right up. If that's you, try this- make sure you're not laying your baby down in a mountain of feathers or 27 duvets, and lay them on their belly. I bet they will tuck up their little baby legs and pull in their chubby baby arms and they will sigh a coo and they will sleep. Or at least they will sleep better, and longer. And don't forget, within a week or two a baby can wiggle his or her head from side to side. I've never once found my baby stuck face down on a bed. I don't think you will either. But, common sense, right? Right.
2. Let them sleep with you, on their stomach.
Or whichever way, really. I have to say, I fully embrace that some mothers/fathers do NOT sleep soundly with a baby in their bed. I do not think you all should be sleeping with your babies. But, if you find yourself exhausted with the trudging from your bed to baby's bed all the live-long night. Bring that baby into bed with you, practice the whole "hear baby make a sound, whip out boob, nurse, fall back asleep" method of parenting. I don't subscribe to this as "the best way" (aka attachment parenting), I subscribe to this as "the easiest way" (aka lazy parenting). I'm a big fan of newborn parenting the easiest way as often as humanly possible. Your body just grew another human(s?), then it did all that work to get the baby out, now you're bleeding and sore and engorged. Plus, there are plenty of other parenting moments that will require, and deserve, our hard, hard work (aka teaching your children not to lie and cheat and steal and so on). Do yourself a favor and make things as easy as possible while things are still easy.
3. Stop waking them up.
Is your baby gaining weight? Is his skin pink and supple and his eyes twinkly? Has he not nursed in 4 hours? DON'T WAKE HIM UP. He is fine. I swear it. I remember sitting up with Hero after the clock struck 3 hrs and undressing her and tickling her feet and doing all that craziness. She was 8 lbs 10 oz at birth, and she gained it alllll back within a week. What was I doing? I was being a stressed out, crazy new mom. And I think we pretty much all start out that way, so that's fine. It's like a rite of passage. But we don't have to stay that way... we can change. We can stop waking them up. Don't forget that after a baby is first born they usually go into recovery mode and sleep for hours and hours. I believe this time is God's precious, postpartum gift to you and you should really enjoy it. I'm usually too amped up to sleep during that just-born snooze fest, but I always enjoy myself. After Peter was born, Kirby and I ate a whole box of Totino's Pizza Rolls and drank a bottle of merlot.
4. Drink all the drinks, eat all the eats
My basic rule of thumb is keep doing what you're doing until baby says stop. I drink alcohol and caffeine drenched in dairy, I eat chocolate and brussel sprouts. And I keep doing all of that until my baby appears to be disagreeing with it. And then, to be honest, I just do it less and see if that does the trick before I cut something out completely. It's too easy to decide that your baby will be the most intolerant baby on the planet before they are even born. I think our culture is a weeeee bit clinical and parenting-obsessed, which can contribute to parents feeling like nervous wrecks, bunkering down for World War 3 in the wake of a new babe. The modern baby comes with huge, blinking warning signs that assure us that we will most certainly kill them anysecond. But then we learn that they are usually, always, ok, and that tuning in to the common mom-sense we all innately have is basically all we need to navigate the tricky waters of new-parenthood. There is a mighty good chance your baby will do just fine with some wine and espresso in your veins. And if she isn't, she will let you know. Scouts honor.
5. Let other people do all the other work/parenting.