1. Things Won’t Go As Planned
While you’re pregnant it’s easy to spend a lot of time imagining what like with your baby will be like. But ask any mom and they will tell you that despite how well you’ve planned and prepared things probably won’t go as you’ve expected.
You might end up with a c-section instead of a natural drug-free birth. You might not be able to or even want to breastfeed. Your baby might have colic and spend all day crying.
Try not to be to suck in your idea of what life with your newborn “should be like”. Be ready to go with whatever life throws at you. If things don’t work out the way you’ve planned remember that it’s OK. It’s not your fault, its not your baby fault, it’s no one’s fault.
2. breast or bottle all that matters is that your baby is getting fed
There’s a lot of debate over breastfeeding vs bottle feeding. At the end of the day what really matters is that your baby is eating and growing. If that means you exclusively breastfeed for 15 months, then that’s awesome. If you decided on day one that you want to feed your baby formula, then that’s awesome too.
A lot of new moms feel that their ability to breastfeed is a reflection on their ability to be a good mom and that’s simply not true. Some women can breastfeed with little issue and for other women, despite their best efforts and intentions it just doesn’t work.
All three of my kids have had milk protein and other food allergies/intolerance so they were on hypoallergenic formula from the beginning. They’ve had zero negative effects from being fed formula, it never affected our mother-child bond, and they are just as healthy as their breastfed peers.
At the end of the day do what’s best for your baby and for you. And don’t feel like you need to apologize or justify that decision to anyone.
3. you’re going to make mistakes
Between the lack of sleep and the learning curve that comes with being a new parent mistakes happen. Heck I’m still making mistakes with my third baby.
One day a few weeks ago, after a particularly sleepless night I rushed all the kids out of the house to get my oldest to school on time. Only to realize once I got home that I forgot to put a diaper on the baby when I last changed him. Of course, he peed all over himself and the car seat. Once I realized it, all I wanted to do was cry and beat my self up for being such a bad mom.
But you know what. I’m not a bad mom. I was tired and stressed out. My husband was deployed, I was barely sleeping and I had 3 kids under 4 to take care of. It was a mistake, one that I can laugh about now.
You’ll make plenty of mistakes along the way. IT’S OKAY. Learn from them and laugh about them.
4 ask for help!!!
As moms, we feel like we need to be able to do everything all the time and if we can’t then something is wrong with us. That’s completely not true. If you need help then ask for it. It doesn’t mean that you can’t handle motherhood. It doesn’t make you weak.
Have you ever heard the saying, it takes a village to raise a child? Well, it’s true. Raising kids is hard work and you’ll only burn yourself out if you try and do it all on your own.
5. take time for yourself
This one goes along with asking for help. Taking care of your newborn is physical and emotionally taxing. You need some downtime. Ask your spouse to take over watching the baby so you can do something for yourself every once and a while.
This one doesn’t have to be complicated and actually the simpler the better right now. It’s amazing how something like a nice long hot shower or a walk around the block by yourself can help you feel recharged and refreshed.
6. Make sure you’re in the pictures!
As a first-time mom you’re going to be taking a TON of pictures of your baby. But make sure that you’re getting in those pictures. Looking back I am barely in any of the pictures that were taken during the early months of my kid’s life and I seriously regret it.
You might feel insecure about how you look postpartum, you’re going to look tired and frazzled. Don’t let that get in the way of making sure you’re getting captured in those early memories. Not only is it important for you to be able to look back and see you in pictures with your kids. But it’s almost more important for your kids when they are older to have those pictures of them being held by their mother.
7. the baby blues and some anxiety are normal, but be on the look out for Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety
After the birth of your baby, your body is going to go through a TON of hormonal changes. It’s completely normal to experience that baby blues, anxiety, and mood swing during this time. But what’s not normal is when they begin to become extreme and interfere with your relationships with those around you. Or your ability to take care of your child and/or yourself.
If that begins to happen then you may be experiencing Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postpartum Anxiety (PPA.) Some of the warning signs of PPD and PPA are;
- A loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Not experiencing interest or losing interest in your baby
- Feeling extremely sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed
- Thoughts of hurting your baby or yourself
- Overly occupied with keeping your baby safe
- Racing thoughts that you have difficulty controlling
- Constant worry
- Impending fear that something bad is going to happen
Besides PPD and PPA doctors are now beginning to understand and recognize that If you experienced a traumatic birth then it is also possible to experience the symptoms of PTSD.
If you feel that you have symptoms of Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, or PTSD please contact your doctor right away.
8. don’t be afraid to say no to visitors
Chances are you’ll have friends and family who want to come and spend time with you and your new baby. But despite the good intentions of those around you, these visits might be causing you more harm than good.
A lot of new moms feel like they need to be hosting and entertaining visitors. Instead of relaxing and spending time with their baby. Which just adds more physical and emotional stress on your already overloaded plate.
It’s okay to limit visitors and tell people that you need some time to recover, relax, and bond with your newborn. Just let them know that when you’re ready from them to visit you’ll let them know. Trust me, if they really care about you then they’ll understand.
9. you need a new routine
The first few weeks with your newborn is going to be a blur. Most babies will have their days and nights confused, they need to eat about every hour and a half , and they aren’t sleeping for long stretches. Which means that during those early weeks you’re just going to be in reactionary mode.
But by the time your baby is around 4-8 weeks old you need establish a daily routine. Not only is this going to help save your sanity but it will help your baby establish good sleep habits.
Routines don’t have to be elaborate. Start small by setting a wake-up time, nap times, and bedtime. For my youngest morning “wake up time” is around 6:30 am, he takes e a bottle right away then is awake for about two hours. Then it’s time for another bottle followed by a two-hour nap. Having this schedule allows me to make sure he isn’t staying up for too long becoming overly stimulated or overtired.
Once your baby has a routine then it time to get yourself on one. Establish a daily routine of your own, a cleaning routine, meal plan, and plan your errands for the week. Although this may seem like a lot, life is WAY easier and less stressful when things are planned out. It keeps you from constantly living in reactionary mode and helps your life regain a sense of calm and normalcy.
10. get into the gym
When your baby is old enough get a gym membership at a gym that provides childcare. Why is this important?
- Physical activity is proven to help reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression.
- It give you some much needed time to yourself during the day.
- It gives you a reason to get out of the house.
- You have the chance to connect with other moms.
Even if you do nothing but walk on the treadmill while catching up on Netflix … or sit just sit in the sauna (we’ve all been there). The membership is totally worth the expense. If a gym membership isn’t in the budget check out your local YMCA, they provide reduced or free membership for those who qualify.
Another alternative to the gym is a local stroller stride or mom’s work out-group. A quick google or Facebook search is a great way to find what is offered in your area. Or just put your baby in a stroller or carrier and talk a walk around a local park.
11. its gets easier
As time goes by you’ll settle into your new life as a mom. You’ll become more confident in yourself and your abilities. You’ll figure out new routines and learn tips and tricks to help make life a little easier. And eventually, you’ll even get a full night’s sleep!
Being a new mom is hard. No matter how well prepared you think you are you’ll face challenges you never expected. You’ll be tired, you’ll make mistakes, and you might even experience a period of Postpartum depression.
But despite all of this being a new mom is also one of the most amazing times in motherhood. You meet you’re newborn for the first time. You get to spend hours snuggling and loving on your sweet little baby. And you’ll grow in ways you never thought possible.
So remember to enjoy it all while you can. Because before you know it your sweet little baby will be growing up right before your eyes and you’ll miss these days of early motherhood.