Caring for a newborn has been both completely natural and simultaneously the most challenging experience ever. Ha! If you’ve ever had a baby then I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement. It encompasses every emotion and ties it all into one happy, delirious blur.
Motherhood is such a blessing and a gift I’ve dreamt about for years. I’m over the moon in love with my husband and our new baby boy. It has taken a lot out of me to really allow myself to transition into this new phase of life and give myself credit for all that I’m adjusting to. I don’t think anyone can really prepare for these first few weeks of newborn-hood. Practice + patience is where it’s at.
I’ve decided to share a couple thoughts & reminders that have kept me going during these first weeks. Hopefully, some of you new mamas can relate, laugh, & maybe find some tips.
- Soak up the newborn bliss. It’s not all pretty, but you have a baby! The most precious gift on Earth is in your arms… Enjoy the moments, try not to overthink it, hold your baby, & soak in all his/her adorable features. If you can, take some photos or have some newborn photos taken! Everyone says this newborn time flies by and those little babies grow up fast. Cherish the days, despite the challenges you may be facing.
- Remember: hormones are a b*tch. Don’t worry, we’re all thinking it. I thought my pregnancy hormones were annoying; now I’m crying left and right whether I’m overjoyed or overwhelmed! It’s okay. Let it happen. Sometimes we need to release our stress and let it go. Every new mom is going to have moments of feeling inadequate, sleep deprived, and uncomfortable. It’s all part of the process. Remember, your body just went through the most crazy thing. We birthed a baby and our entire world just got flipped on its head. Balance will take a minute.
- Try to keep a bit of your “normalcy”. For me this means taking a daily shower, putting some makeup on (I didn’t do this the first week much), and using the different rooms in my home. A simple shower can totally help your mood and make you feel 100x better! I like to put some makeup on to help me feel more awake and a little prettier. :) During the first several days, I definitely stayed in bed mostly all day, especially because I birthed at a birth center and came home 4 hours after the actual birth. Crazy, I know, but so worth it. With postpartum healing it was necessary for me to rest a lot and having all my baby essentials handy made life easier. During the second week, I’ve made an effort to make my bed and walk to the kitchen for coffee, sit in the living room, and maintain some of my normal pre-baby routine. At this point, what the heck is normal about engorged breasts, sleeping in 2 hour increments, and smelling like spit up!? #WelcomeToMotherhood
- Accept all the help offered & ask for what you need! This is major. Are you sensing a running theme here? You just birthed a child. I say this to myself everyday. Give yourself a break. There is absolutely no need to feel guilty. If you need help or want something, just ask for it. Whether it’s from your mother, husband, in-laws, friends, etc. Don’t wait for an offer; simply ask. It can be hard at first not to feel needy or demanding, but the ones that love you should be happy and willing to cater to you during this time. The first week my husband prepared every meal for me, served me in bed, and gave me back rubs whenever I asked. My mother has helped me a ton, too. She’s offered to refill my water, bring me ice packs, and hold the baby while I shower. It’s a team effort & I’m so thankful I have support!
- Create a basic schedule. I am all about that organization. Babies can be a handful and often really unpredictable. I read BabyWise and fell in love with the concept! It may not be for everyone, but I highly recommend it. It basically helps to sleep train your baby by simply creating a basic routine that both mama and baby benefit from. All it is, is scheduling feeding times, followed by having an awake period, then nap time. By helping baby to regulate his body and become predictable, you are able to have a routine and your baby will begin to sleep through the night! I plan on doing a more in depth post about using the BabyWise strategy once our boy is a few months.
- Do Not Google Everything. Just say no. I made this mistake after reading: “this could be a sign of ___, which may require surgery”… Yeah, that snapped me into gear and I will no longer be googling every little thing. Ha! Babies have a lot going on. Spit up, flakey skin, grunts, hiccups, etc. I can bet that most things are totally and completely normal. If you really have a concern, look it up in a baby book or ask your Pediatrician, not Google.
- Postpartum is not forever. This too shall pass. Yes, your “down-there” is swollen and bleeding. Yes, your breasts are huge and hurting. Yes, every muscle is stupidly sore. No, it will not last forever. My mantra is this: you will get through this. Take each day as it comes; one step at a time. I know, very original, but true.
- Television is your new BFF. Ok, seriously. Baby will be sleeping a lot. You should definitely sleep as much as possible, but you will also need some kind of entertainment. I’ve been binge-watching the new season of Bloodline on Netflix with my hubs and mom. Also, The Bachelorette because hello it’s The Bachelorette. One tip, watch Parenthood. I’ve watched every season and I could re-watch it endlessly. I will say, if you don’t feel like releasing all those hormones in streams of tears, maybe don’t watch this show. I cried at every episode before I was pregnant. Now, I pretty much ball my eyes out. Hey, those tears need to flow sometimes! Am I right?
- Embrace the mess. Babies are a mess. One very adorable, sweet mess. I admit, it took me a minute to embrace it. All that spit up, peeing everywhere, poopy diapers, all-the-smells; it’s a lot to handle. HA. Instead of trying to prevent every mess, just deal with it. Yes, I try to catch the spit up with a burp cloth, change diapers effectively, and dodge the pee, but no I cannot keep those baby clothes clean. It just ain’t gonna happen. Ha. I’m keeping my humor about it and making bath time a daily ritual. ;)
Okay ending my rant on newborn-hood! Hope your Tuesday is fantastic & full of baby snuggles!