Motherhood. It feels like one minute you’re pregnant and full of joy. And the very next, you’re scrambling to get all of your things together because you’re suddenly changing diapers and breastfeeding and taking care of an actual tiny human being. Not to mention that on top of it all, you’re dealing with a storm of emotions that are especially unique to new moms. We know, it’s stressful and definitely a little chaotic – especially the first few days after you bring your newborn home. So to make things a little easier for you, we asked the mom.life community for their secret tips for dealing with newborns, and here is what they responded with. We hope they help!
1. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!
“Remember you can't take care of your baby if you’re not taking good care of yourself. Have someone watch the baby for you while you shower and get yourself ready for the day. You will feel 1000x better. Also, even if you have a plan for how things will go when you get home, remember that things can change and that's okay. If you break down and give your baby a pacifier before you planned to, that's fine. Every baby and every mother are different, do what works best for the both of you!”
2. Freeze your meals.
“Have meals frozen because you won't have the strength to cook meals or do anything. You will not be yourself 100% yet. Your hormones are still all over the place so if you cry or are emotional for no reason upset or frustrated it is okay. Do not stress yourself out. Just try to do your best, nobody is perfect and no mommy (no matter whether it’s baby number 1 or number 5) comes with a manual of how to care for a baby so just relax.”
“I made a bunch of freezer meals and stocked my pantry to make sure I would have food ready and not have to leave the house for the first couple of weeks.”
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“Honestly, you'll be stressed when you get home. Because there won't be nurses there to ask questions and all that, but you should accept help from family when it's offered so you aren't so stressed. Take that time that your family is helping and lay down, shower or even cry. That's what I did because I had I felt overwhelmed.”
“Ask for help! Most new mommies are afraid to ask for help because they think it makes it look like they can't handle it. Do not be scared to ask for help! Having a good support system is the best thing I could have asked for. Even if it just means a friend coming over to wash your dishes or bring you over some food or hold the baby while you shower or take a nap. Ask for help! I promise it’s such a life saver.”
“It’s ok to be scared and unsure of what you’re doing. It’s ok to lose it and cry sometimes, don’t try to have everything perfect. Just focus on the baby. If you have a C-section ask for help, I had one but didn’t have anyone to help me, so I did everything extra slow.”
4. Sleep when the baby sleeps.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps and don't worry about cleaning your house, you’re taking care of another human being! And prep some meals before the baby arrival.”
“Nap when your baby naps. Pour cool water mixed with baby wash on your downstairs when you pee so it eases the pain. Fold the front of the diaper down so the leftover umbilical cord doesn't get tugged and irritate baby.”
5. Keep a log.
“Something that helped me once we came home was to keep logging every feeding either on my phone or in a journal. It helped me keep track of when he ate last and also served as a great visual aid for the first couple doctor’s visits when they asked how baby was eating.”
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6. Make sure you bond with your child.
“Definitely babywear when you can! And do lots of skin to skin. I feel that both of those things help not only with bonding but they also help baby's transition from womb to world be a bit easier.”
“Home births (home from hospital too) – for the first week, stay in bed naked and diaper free with your baby, have towels or a cover for the bed so the after birth blood and baby's pee/poo don't ruin the mattress. It's messy but being pants-free for that first week boosts the healing process and that ultimate nakedness with the baby is super beneficial for bonding and health; it's okay to fall asleep with your baby your maternal instincts are at the highest they will ever be (medication may diminish this and co-sleeping wouldn't be advisable if you are taking prescription drugs) in those early weeks- your body will prevent you from rolling in your sleep trust that your baby is safest in your arms. Keep that baby on you!”
7. Get lots of rest! Know that it’s ok to say no to guests.
“After coming home from the hospital, you will have family and friends to see your newborn. (I did for the first week.) And I didn't think it was going to be this way. I was a mess and hadn't really rested since the beginning of labor. So for a whole week I was extremely exhausted and people just kept coming in to see the baby. If I knew it would've been like this I would've said no to visitors for the first week. So it is okay to say no. You need rest and you need to bond with your baby especially if you're breastfeeding.”
“If you don’t want people to bombard you with visits, it’s ok to say no. This is the time for you to rest and bond with your newborn. As long as you have your partner to help or someone, then take advantage and rest.”
8. Experiment with breastfeeding. See what works.
“If you plan to breastfeed, just know that it can be and can be painful, but it's very rewarding. It can be easy, and it can be hard but it gets better and easier! Try different holds, whatever works for you and your baby! And make sure you have plenty of breast pads! Look up on Pinterest breastfeeding super foods to help your supply! Don't worry if you’re not leaking colostrum before you have your baby, that doesn't mean you won't have any milk!”
9. Let your baby set their schedule.
“Let the baby set their own schedule!!!!!! I can't say this enough. Babies aren't adults and they shouldn't be treated like it. They will set a schedule that works for them and it is easier and simpler if you let them do what comes naturally.”
10. Trust your maternal instincts.
“If you feel as if you’re not ready or don't know what to do, just know that it all comes so naturally. Once your bundle is born, it's as if you kick in to this super mom mode that you never knew was there.”
11. Make sure you have everything ready before you bring home your baby.
“Make sure everything for the baby is ready at home because you're not going to have any time to do anything, especially if you have a C-section. You're not even going to have the strength to clean or set anything up, so just make sure everything is set up when your son or daughter comes home from the hospital.”
12. Babies come first. Even when it comes to chores.
“Don't worry too much about cleaning cooking or chores. That will ALWAYS be there! Your little one will only be a yummy smelling newborn for so long!”
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