Tags: Featured Story, Infant & Baby
I’ll never forget the car ride when we brought our firstborn home from the hospital, which happened to be a jaunt of only a few blocks. I sat in the backseat with her, unable to take my eyes off my new, beautiful bundle of joy. And, when we turned the first corner out of the parking lot, the car seat tipped over into my lap, helpless newborn and all, because we had not tightened the car seat straps tight enough. Luckily, no one was hurt.
From that moment on, I was unsure of everything. Is she eating enough? Is it normal to sleep more than four hours at a time? Should her poop look like yellow mustard? You name it, I worried about it.
Fourteen years and two more children later, I look back at those whirling dervish days of newborn feedings, diaper changes, and lack of sleep, and I wouldn’t change those memories for anything. I do, however, wish someone had let me in on a few of the “secrets” that seasoned moms need to share with the new ones. Here’s my list of six things that you should know to make your life with a newborn easier:
1. Call the Doctor
If you have a concern about yourself or your baby and it’s after your doctor’s regular business hours, don’t be afraid to call him or her. After all, it’s their job. Luckily, my pediatrician was a good family friend, and I could ask him questions on a whim. And, there were some days when he would tell me not to worry so much, and there were other days that my concerns seemed warranted. Don’t worry about being a pest. You have a mother’s instinct – don’t be afraid to use it!
2. Got milk?
I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding your baby, but if it doesn’t come easily, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your baby won’t latch on or your milk supply is low, call a lactation consultant to help you find the best options. My third baby was tongue-tied which made breastfeeding quite a challenge. I wouldn’t have known about his problem without the help of a nurse.
3. Ask for help
Having a new baby is exhausting. It’s okay to ask for help. Let your mother or sister or friend come rock the baby while you take a shower or a much-needed nap. If someone offers to bring your family dinner, let them. And, if no one offers, you can ask for what you need especially of family members and close friends. You can’t do it all. It really does take a village.
4. Pamper Yourself
Before you have a baby, you didn’t have to remind yourself to take a daily shower or change your clothes that have spit up and other bodily secretions on them. However, after your newborn arrives, you might think a 10-minute hot shower is like a trip to the Bahamas. Make sure you take care of yourself along with your new baby. Take the time to shower, dress up, fix your hair, get a pedicure, or a facial at the spa. A happier you makes a happier mom.
5. Sweet Dreams
Waking up around the clock to feed your new baby creates a sleep-deprived, foggy-brained mom. So, if you get a chance to sleep…sleep! Don’t worry about folding the laundry or vacuuming the house, but simply take a moment while your baby sleeps to join in the slumber. The more well-rested you are, the better your brain’s synapses will fire and the healthier parenting decisions you will make. Sleep as much as you can and never feel guilty about it.
6. Check Your Emotions
After the birth of your baby, sometimes your emotions can be a little whacky. Make sure you realize this and don’t take things too personally. Most people in your life are really trying to help you be a better mother. Just because you aren’t doing it like they think you should be doing it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong or will cause your baby harm. Let people give you their opinion. You can filter through their advice to find what works for your family. You are ultimately the mother, and you will do what is best for your baby!