The first days with your newborn baby are both exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time, which actually kind of describes the entire journey of motherhood! Whether it’s your first time, the second time, or you’re beginning to lose count due to lack of sleep, each baby’s journey is going to be unique.
It’s a good idea for new moms to have a little bit of an idea of what to expect when they finally get to hold that newborn baby in their arms. It’s important to understand that along with the precious moments that everyone tells you about, there are also a variety of challenges and hard moments mixed in. We are excited to share with you some of our top tips to have you prepared for starting your story with your newborn.
Expect Stress and Constantly Changing Routines
As a new family, there are going to be a lot of moments of stress and lack of routine while you all develop healthy sleep habits and learn what works for all family members. A baby’s first year is filled with so many new experiences, and their little bodies are changing so quickly that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the ever-growing to-do list. It’s also a major transition period for you as a mom. You are changing identities while also having an abundance of hormonal and emotional shifts all at once.
When you have a new baby, it’s best to simply expect that things aren’t going to go smoothly, especially at the begining. This is an easy way not to become frustrated when all of the work, sleepless nights, and other hectic moments all seem to be coming at once. If you go into it with a mindset that stress and lack of routine will be the norm for a bit, you are better prepared to handle what comes your way. You are both learning a new way of life, and although there might be struggles, as long as you are trying, you aren’t doing anything wrong! When you are beginning to feel unsure, simply observe your baby. Let him or her lead the way.
Try to soak in the quality time that you do get with just you and your baby. Also, be aware of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. It is something that many women go through, and there is no reason to feel any kind of shame or lack of mothering skills from it. Your hormones are still adjusting, and it’s better to be open and aware than to try and just push through without getting to the root of the issue.
Ask Questions and Accept Help
In the early weeks of newborn care, you might feel that in order to raise a strong, healthy baby, you need to do it all on your own. That is absolutely not true! It is actually a really good idea to invite friends or a trusted family member to help you and your newborn during this phase of life.
One good step to take care of before the baby arrives is to understand that the people in your life will play different roles. You will have some friends that are truly helpers. They might help cook you a meal, do some cleaning or dishes, and do other tasks around the house or for your baby. You will also have those who truly just want to come by and visit. This is more of a social interaction for you and your baby, and it is best if each visit stays around an hour or so. The boundaries of both will be best set before the baby gets here so that everyone is on the same page.
The 4th trimester is a very demanding time for both you and your newborn. Other great resources you can reach out to include a lactation consultant or a postpartum doula. While good friends can also offer great advice, there are some things that it is really best to seek the resources of a professional.
Believe in Yourself and Trust Your Instincts
Social media can set a lot of unnecessary expectations for first-time parents and how to get through the newborn stage. No matter what someone else’s newsfeed might show, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to believe in yourself and trust your instincts.
You were made to be the momma to your baby, and it will always be the simple things that you will hold onto the most. There will be moments when you doubt yourself, but at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you are exactly who your baby needs you to be.
Take Care of You
Taking care of a newborn can be a very hard time for a mom. Whether it be from sleep deprivation, not remembering the last time you ate a nutritious meal, or continuously pushing back date nights because your or the baby isn’t feeling well.
A good way to ensure that you are best able to care for your newborn is by not forgetting to take care of yourself. A healthy mom is the best mom a baby could ask for. While it’s not always possible to get enough sleep each night, try and build your routine so that you are able to rest as much as possible. Try to keep healthy snacks like solid protein options, fresh fruits, and veggies, along with a few treats so that you are fueling your body properly to care for your baby and yourself. You can also set up a meal train or ask for food gift cards in your baby registry to help plan for nutritious and hearty meals during this postpartum period. If you prefer food you make, spend some time before your baby arrives and make and freeze some meals that can be ready with little time and effort later on.
You might be surprised by the huge difference you feel by just taking some small steps toward taking of yourself. It’s also very beneficial to invest in a good nursing bra so that you are comfortable during this journey.
If you are struggling with your mental health during this phase, be sure and reach out to a professional. With so much going on and depending on any individual situations happening with your newborn, your mental health can become very strained. Taking care of you includes all of you, not just the physical part of you.
Enjoy Your Baby
We know that when you’re tired and feel like you could complete nighttime diaper changes in your sleep, it’s really hard to even think about enjoying your baby, but that is one of the most important tips when it comes to soaking in life with your new tiny human.
This is the perfect time to take in some skin-to-skin contact as well as rest when your baby is resting. Really take the time to admire your little one. How small their toes are. How perfectly they fit on your chest and in your arms. Find fun ways to interact with them as you watch their personalities begin to grow.
Having a newborn might not be all sweet photos and the smell of baby lotion, but even with the hard parts, it is still a very magical time in your life. Go in with the mindset that it won’t always be easy, but it will definitely be gone before you realize it!