Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Advice for New Moms

I guest posted for Jen last week and wrote some "advice" for new moms. I thought I would share that here today even though, as I said, I hardly feel qualified to be doling out any advice! Though I have learned some things in the last year, I feel pretty confident in the fact that everyone experiences motherhood in different ways, so you can take it with a grain of salt if you'd like! This is just  my two cents ;)
  • Don't read too much into the experts. I read several books and many blogs while I was pregnant in an attempt to figure out what "type" of parent I wanted to be. I thought I had it all figured out, and of course, my baby would go right along with our plans. HA. Trust me when I say that no ONE book will nail down your baby. Each baby is unique, and unlikely, in my humble opinion, to be "text-book." I think it's so important to be prepared, and I certainly don't regret making plans, BUT you have to be willing to go with the flow of your child as well. It's okay if they're not on a schedule by the time they're "supposed" to be, or if they prefer to be rocked to sleep even if everyone advises you to put them to bed awake. The thing about babies? Everything is a phase!
  • Be the mom your baby needs. This goes along with the above. The most important thing you can do for your little one is to just be the mom they need. Don't worry about what anyone else is telling you you should be doing. Do what feels right to you, and the rest will sort itself out! Jaqs needed to be rocked to sleep for about the first 2-3 months, and then like magic, she started putting herself to sleep one night and has never looked back! I don't regret rocking her to sleep when she needed to be for a second even though I was worried about it at the time. She also napped on me for the longest time, and I'd pretty much pay money for her to do that now! Soak up those cuddles while you can.
  • Get OUT of the house. I's hard to imagine when you have a newborn. There's the timing of the feedings, the showering, the packing of the diaper bag. It's difficult, but it's SO necessary for your sanity! Looking back, minus the exhaustion, being out and about was a little easier back then because I didn't have to wrangle a toddler into a shopping cart and shove snacks her way to keep her occupied! ;) She usually happily rode in her stroller or slept back then. It's the actual prep that makes it's so difficult in those early days, but you will feel better doing so!
  • Let people help you. If your friends want to bring dinners or come hold your baby so you can shower? LET THEM. Soon enough you will be responsible for all of it, so enjoy a helping hand while you can. I kind of had this sense that I had to have it all together from the minute I got home, but that's just plain silly. Trust me, you will have enough on your plate with your recovery, figuring out your milk, and getting to know your baby! We had dinners supplied to us for nearly 3 weeks, and it was a life-saver for me. The thought of going to the grocery store was overwhelming enough much less having to figure out a meal AND cooking it. If you don't have a food-train, maybe stock your freezer with meals you can just throw in the oven!
  • Don't be too hard on your {new} self. The best way I can describe a post-pregnancy body? Doughy. Do yourself a favor and continue to wear your maternity pants or stretchy pants for awhile! It will take some time for your body to go back to its normal, but it will. Just don't put too much pressure or strain on yourself to make it happen too soon!
  • Take time for yourself. Everyone will tell you this, and with good reason: it's vital. Seriously. It's easy to start feeling more like a machine than a human when you're caring for/feeding/nursing a newborn all day. Take some time for yourself whether it simply be a quiet time praying, going for a pedicure, strolling through Target alone, or just taking a long bath with a glass of wine. My husband's work schedule is kind of crazy, so my alone time is usually spent at home, and that's okay. The most important thing is to make yourself a priority every now and then!
  • Don't forget your baby-daddy. Along with taking time for yourself, be sure to make your hubby a priority, too! Remember, you two began long before the baby, and it's important to continue nurturing that relationship, too. This took a back-seat for us for awhile, and I think that's okay. We don't have family in town, and we don't exactly have room in the budget to hire babysitters, so we do "in-house" date nights pretty often. As long as you're connecting and communicating about things other than baby-baby-baby, that is what matters. Once your baby gets into a bedtime routine, this becomes much easier! Rob and I have a couple hours in the evenings together now, but this was not always the case. We were running to bed as soon as we got Jaqs down in the beginning!
  • If all else fails, call your mom (or dad, or aunt, or grandma). I remember calling my mom at 4 in the morning during week 2 of Jaqs' little life. She had been up crying most of the night (turned out she had reflux), and I was exhausted and at the end of my rope. Hormones and lack of sleep do crazy things to you! She calmed me down and made me feel better about things with just one conversation. You will likely have moments of "What the HECK did I get myself into?!," and you'll want to have someone you can call at those times. Preferably someone who is sleeping at night and, therefore, has their wits about them ;)
Being a mom is, without a doubt, one of the greatest blessings I could ever imagine. 
The love a mother has for her baby is all-consuming, so just enjoy that and RELISH in it. If you want to lay on the couch and cuddle with your little one all day? Do it! You only have the chance with this baby once, so soak it up and KNOW that you're an awesome mom! :)


Sarah @ Life, Love & Dinner said...

Oh, I love this! I'm 21 weeks pregnant and I think it's so nice to read what other moms have gone through. You said it perfectly when you said 'be the mom your baby needs'. When all is said and done, this is the important one.

Colleen Sullivan said...

This is all really great advice. i think my favorite is the get out of the house bit. Sometimes you just don't know what to do with a new born and while the process of getting ready to leave, going out and then coming home can be exhausting, at least you have some tasks to do, right? I liked running an errand almost each day to give our days some structure.

Desiree Macke said...

Agh, I wish I had read this about 14 months ago!
Great advice, especially getting out of the house and letting people help. It think for the first two months I maybe ventured out a handful of times. Eek! What the heck? And, now I wish people were as willing to help as they were in the beginning. Now I need more help than ever! :)

Tessa DAngelo said...

This was beautifully written and really great advice. It is hard to keep all these things in mind when you are a first time mom with a newborn. I would say getting out of the house is a big deal. It was for me. I was always nervous to go anywhere with Noah but little by little I did and things got better. Some fresh air, some walking around places that was NOT the house was really great.

Heather said...

This is SUCH good advice!! I stopped reading the books once I realized Skeeter would be a preemie. I knew she wouldn't necessarily go along with all of the 'norms' so we just went with the flow.

Heather said...

This is SUCH good advice!! I stopped reading the books once I realized Skeeter would be a preemie. I knew she wouldn't necessarily go along with all of the 'norms' so we just went with the flow.

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