Congratulations mom! Wherever you are I hope that you are healthy and enjoying your life as a new mom. However, it is very easy to get frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, and more. I am far from an experienced mom, as I type this I have a newborn baby girl who just turned a month old. She spent over a week in the NICU so I’ve only had her home for about 3 weeks now. These are the things I have learned over those few weeks and I hope it helps you as you navigate those first few weeks as well!
1. Prepare for the Unexpected.
The first and most important piece of advice that I could give to any new mom is to prepare for the unexpected. The date they give you to expect your child to be born is just an estimation, they will come on their own time. Health issues can arise for you or for your baby at any time (oh the joys of pregnancy!). For me, that meant six weeks early due to sudden severe preeclampsia and the potential complications that posed to me and my daughter. This meant that the six weeks I thought I had left to prepare for her arrival were gone, all plans had to be escalated and quickly! We also had to mentally prepare that she would be in the NICU for some time after her arrival, so I wasn’t able to hold her for long, I wasn’t there to change her first diaper, etc. So try to prepare, at least mentally, for the unexpected. Things can happen in an instant and being able to ebb and flow with the changes is critical.
2. Soak It In.
You have heard people say it over and over, “The days are long but the years are short.” It’s hard to keep that perspective when you are exhausted and dealing with a tiny human day in and day out. However, it is so true. As I am typing this, my daughter is here next to me and already a month old. It feels like just yesterday we had her and were in the NICU feeding her for the first time. You child will only be that tiny once, and while its exhausting, its also magical and fleeting. Try to find a way to enjoy the moment you are in. For me, gaining that perspective was by watching other moms and babies in the NICU. I realized how precious time is, how precious life is, and how blessed we were that our daughter was doing so well. Sometimes you just need a bit of perspective to see things in a new light.
3. Housework is Not Critical
Let me free you from the belief that you need to stay on top of all housework with a newborn. You do NOT need to do it all. I can promise you that the housework will be there when you are ready. Personally, I was never OCD about housework before my daughter arrived anyways, but I do think that being able to set it aside and focus on her is crucial. She will only be this little once, the kitchen needing cleaned will be there for the rest of my life. So, if I put it off for a few hours or until the next day, no big deal. It will get done. I hope that you can find a way to have that perspective, because it will free you!
4. Accept and Ask for Help
I struggle hard with this one; I hate asking for and accepting help. Helping others and being there for them is easy and something I love doing. Admitting I can’t do it all and need help takes a humbleness that I don’t like showing. But you are a new mom! You deserve the help! So don’t feel bad, don’t feel guilty, don’t feel like you are failing. It is quite the opposite. What’s really happening is that people know you were thrust into a whole new world full of exhaustion and new beginnings. Because of that they are trying to walk with you and support you. Be okay with the support, say thank you and let go of the guilt momma.
5. Hold Your Baby.
This one is just my own personal testament. I refuse to believe I can spoil my newborn baby. She went from being in my belly 24/7 to out in this cold world. If she needs some extra love and extra time in my arms, by all means she can stay there. I believe wholeheartedly that holding and comforting my newborn baby is crucial and a magical thing. She needs me and needs someone to love on her and make her feel safe. And lucky for you momma, your baby wants to be held by you! Enjoy those special moments and hold your baby as close as you can!
6. Formula or Breast milk – Whatever Works for You and Baby
Seriously, I have never bought into the belief that you are a bad mom if you don’t breastfeed your baby. It was something I was personally never interested in, but I talked to my husband and agreed I would give it a shot due to the medical benefits and bonding in can bring. And while I am breastfeeding and pumping for my daughter, we use formula as well and have no issues with that. Formula is an amazing invention that allows babies to be fed and grow with all the nutrients they need! Breast milk is amazing, but guess what?! At the end of the day, as long as your baby is fed, the rest really doesn’t matter. Momma, let go of any guilt of doing what society or family want you to do. Do what you think is best and what is best for baby and move on!
7. Give Yourself Grace
Last night, my daughter was screaming bloody murder and we could not figure out why. We had fed her, changed her, held her, all the things we could think of. After about a half an hour we decided to give her another bottle and see if maybe she was hungry again and low and behold that was it! Poor little thing was just hungry and I didn’t realize it. Those moments make your heart sink as a new mom. But I realized after that I am still learning, this is all new and there is no guide on how to take care of my baby girl. So each day is going to full of trial and error, its going to have good and bad moments, but in each moment I will give myself grace. I am learning and that means giving myself patience as we handle each new thing. So momma, don’t be too hard on yourself if you do something wrong or miss something. It’s going to happen and doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you a REAL mom. It makes the moments you do know what they need all the more special.
8. Treat Yourself
This actually happened by accident and wasn’t a planned purchase. But Amazon Prime day fell not long after my daughter was born. We saw an awesome deal for a Nespresso and some pods and I decided to treat myself. It wasn’t anything crazy expensive but it allowed me to get something for me that would help me feel better on those long mornings. You have went through quite a lot momma, if you need something to treat yourself too and feel like yourself then do it! Don’t feel bad doing something just for YOU. You have and will continue to work incredibly hard and you deserve to treat yourself every once in a while.
Most of all, I hope you remember that you are doing great. You were designed and chosen to be this babies momma. You CAN do this! On the hardest of days hold onto these few scriptures that hopefully will bring you comfort.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
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