Becoming a mommy has been the most incredible experience. It’s a feeling I cannot describe. Even on my darkest days postpartum as a new mom, I felt such a deep love for my baby. Now a year later I have a much broader view of the first year. I have perspective compared to in the thick of newborn days. I’m not going to lie bringing home a new baby was a total shock. I remember going into our church nursery at 4 weeks postpartum and asking how mom’s with multiple kids did it. A year later I know it’s possible to make it through the infant stage to the cuddly, kisses on our face, hugs around the neck, starting to talk stage.
If I’ve learned one thing about motherhood it’s that everything is a season. The breastfeeding difficulties, the struggle to eat solid food, the sleep regressions, it doesn’t last forever.
Decide Your Policy on Visitors Ahead of Time
Becoming a new mom is overwhelming. Having a lot of people around after the baby is born may not be the best idea for your family at the time. One idea to end visitor time is to set up a signal with your husband that communicates you are ready for people to leave.
Some families don’t want visitors in the hospital, or for the first few days or weeks. Let your families know ahead of time what you as a couple feel comfortable with. Remember even if you get pushback it’s your baby and no one has the right to infringe upon this precious bonding time as a new family.
Breastfeeding as a New Mom
First off read the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or keep it by your side for those first few months and beyond. Kelly Mom is a fantastic website that provides evidence-based information on breastfeeding and parenting.
Reach out to other breastfeeding moms. I had a mom who knew my husband and reached out to us over Facebook after hearing about our early breastfeeding struggles. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if something’s not working.
Personally, for me, the first three months were the hardest. It does get better but support is so important. Remember “never quit on a bad day”.
I should also note it is recommended to feed on demand contrary to the advice that baby only needs to eat only every two hours. Sometimes it’s like every 45 minutes. That’s totally normal!
I didn’t realize this was a thing until our second night in the hospital when Lyla ate for what felt like four hours straight. It wasn’t that my body wasn’t producing enough, it is a totally normal occurrence for newborns. The baby is establishing your milk supply and they also have very small tummies.
Lay down feeding
This style of feeding saved me. I was able to relax in bed with my baby and in the early days, we could fall asleep together. This is much safer than feeding on the couch or in a chair and falling asleep because the baby can fall and suffocate.
Use an App to Track Your Baby
Instead of writing everything down like I did use an app to track feedings, diapers and sleep. Below are two apps other new mom’s have recommended:
Listening to Advice Doesn’t Mean You Have to Take It
As a new mom, you may feel clueless at times or like your doing it all wrong. We all feel this way at times. Well-meaning relative or friends may try to input their opinion on your parenting. You may or may not agree with what they say and that’s okay. You don’t need to convince or persuade them that your way is correct. You are the parent and know your child best.
Even if you disagree or are unsure about something your doctor has said it’s always helpful to get a second opinion.
Lyla was the best at fighting sleep, in the beginning, cosleeping was the only way we could all get some rest. A lot of people may suggest CIO but after a lot of research, we decided it wasn’t right for our family.
Check out this article for more information on safe co-sleeping.
Healing takes time
Depending on your birth it may take a while to feel healed from birth. Getting out for a walk and especially out of the house can be so helpful. Keeping in touch with friends and especially other moms is so important for your mental health.
Postpartum for me was difficult. One minute you’re crying, the next you can’t believe how much you love your baby, and sometimes the sleep deprivation just gets to you.
Give your self-grace in those first few weeks and months. Rest and sit as much as you can. Chill on the couch, feed and change babe and watch Netflix. Especially during those cluster feeding times. This stage feels like it lasts forever but it really is so short. Enjoy all the newborn cuddles.
Taking a 10-minute bath those first few days really helped with the healing process. I felt so much better after and it gave me a little break from the baby. My midwife gave me some herbal bath mixes to brew and use. If you don’t have a midwife try this recipe or buy this one.
Get out of the house
As I mentioned above try to get out of the house. Even if you just go around the block. I had my baby right before winter so that made things a lot more difficult. I still tried to get out a few times a week. I just made sure to bundle up my baby and go out when the sun was highest. Even if you can take a quick trip to the store alone it all counts to help your sanity
Connect with other New Moms
Join a moms group on Facebook. A lot of new moms have the same questions, fears or dilemmas as you. Just knowing that your not alone as a new mom can be very reassuring.
Try to find a local moms group. Try searching your neighbourhood on Facebook to find one. Or check out an Early Years Center. For me, after I had Lyla I connected a lot with the other moms in our church nursery.
Make time for hubby
In all the busyness of caring for a newborn and taking care of yourself postpartum, it can put a strain on your relationship with your hubby. Just remember this difficult time is only a season. Your child won’t be this dependent forever and eventually, you will get time with your husband again. For more ideas to stay close check out this post.
Just Because You can Buy It Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe
Canada has very strict guidelines for what products can be sold. For example, walkers and products like dock-a-tots are illegal to sell in Canada because of the risks to babies. I would encourage you to do your own research when buying things for the baby. Also look into safe sleep guidelines and car seat safety.
Top 5 Favourite Baby Items
Covered Goods 4 in 1 Carseat Cover I still use this for breastfeeding and in our shopping cart. It was perfect for the colder months when she was a newborn.
My Breastfriend pillow helped me survive newborn feeding days. I literally used it for every single feeding. As a new mom, I’d say its an essential because it helps position the baby close to you. You may also need an extra pillow underneath because the baby should be at your chest without you having to bend over to feed.
Pack n Play I have used this almost every day from day one. We used the bassinet part for a safe sleep space and now I use it to contain her while I’m showering or making supper. Plus it’s super easy to pack up or move around the house.
Ring sling, I wish I had gotten this earlier, we started using it when she about 8 months old. I love keeping her close whether after a nap or when we are out and I don’t want to use the stroller. I have the Edward sling.
We were given this bathtub from a family that was moving but it is very affordable. I loved this tub for newborn baths because the sling cradles the baby comfortably. As they grow it adapts to help the baby sit up. We didn’t have a tub when Lyla was a baby so this was perfect for us.
What is your best advice for a new mom?