Before our Monster was born, I did a lot of research. I read a lot of articles online, I read books, pamphlets and even watched a few documentaries online. I also received a lot of advice from other parents; things that worked for them, things that didn’t, best products, worst products, rules around breastfeeding and bottle feeding, etc. I received a lot of unwanted advice as well, which you can read about here Worst Baby Advice I Have Received.
So I had a lot of information, and I thought to myself that I was pretty prepared for what was waiting for me on the other side.
Yes, I have two kids now, which doesn’t mean I’m an expect in the field, but I do have some knowledge and experience to share with others. So if you’re a new mom-to-be and looking for some advice (which why you’re on this post), I do have some tips to share with you for surviving the first few months with a newborn.
Find what works for you and your baby
As I mentioned above, everyone will be giving you advice, some of it will be helpful, and some not so much. You’ll need to see which of the advice will work for both you and your baby. Remember, each baby is different, and so is each mother. Don’t worry if some advice doesn’t work for you. Find what works for both of you and it will make both of lives a little easier.
Listen to your instincts
A mother’s instinct is one of the best parenting gifts given to us, and it is highly useful. If you feel something is wrong with advice someone has given you, don’t do it. You know your baby better than anyone else, so you get to make the final decision on what you want to do and not do. If something doesn’t sit well with you, don’t ignore that feeling.
Your husband will love you…
Even if your home is a mess and dinner isn’t ready on time. There isn’t always enough time and energy to get everything done every day, and that’s okay. You’ve just a baby; both of you are adjusting to a new world together, and learning more about each other. You might not be able to through all the laundry each day or tidying up your home, and that’s okay. Your main job is being fulfilled to the maximum; looking after a tiny baby and your husband will understand this, and love you all the same.
Find a hobby outside of mothering
I know, you’re thinking; where will you find time to do anything else around looking after a newborn and trying to keep a clean home, but it’s possible and it’s necessary. If you don’t keep yourself occupied with something, even something small, to keep yourself in tact, you’ll burn out faster. It’s a welcomed idea and it helps with creating “you” time right from the beginning, which is pretty important. I found myself writing, reading and painting which was a great distraction when I needed to feel like my own person again. You just need to figure out what you would like to do.
Don’t take photos of everything
It’s ironic for me to be saying this actually, because this is exactly what I did with our Monster. He was the cutest little baby in the entire world, and I needed to catch every expression or activity that involved him. It was great in the beginning because I have so many memories captured, but I soon realised how much I was actually missing the moments; capturing them instead of being apart of them. I know today that I would rather be apart of the moment and making memories than being stuck behind my phone’s lens.
If you need help, ask for it
I know, as mothers, we feel like we’re entirely responsible for everything when it comes to our newborn, but that isn’t the case entirely. New moms need to rest as well, and if we don’t get that rest, we do burn out a lot quicker. I’m not suggesting to completely disconnect from motherhood, but if you need to take a small nap in peace, or want to eat something without holding your baby, even take a shower that leaves you feeling relaxed and refreshed, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help. Motherhood is a journey and no one becomes a pro overnight.
Write things down
Make lists. Questions you may have, grocery lists, anything you need to remember. Your brain will be filled with baby things so it’s very easy to forget about the world around you and what you need to do other than parent. Apart from those lists, make lists of your child’s memories and movements. First smile, first word, first steps, etc. You won’t believe how amazing it is to look back at this a few years later and remember all these moments all over again.
Enjoy nap times
A lot of mothers told me to nap when my baby napped. Which sounded like a fantastic idea to me, until the reality of chores and cooking settled in. It was difficult for me to take these naps because I had the constant reminder that I needed to attend to other things during those times. That doesn’t mean I didn’t take the opportunity every other day to just shut down and rest. On the days that I didn’t nap, I took some quiet time for myself. Sit outside with no crying around me. Read a few pages of a book. Took a bath. Yep, things I couldn’t really do when my babies were awake. And I have no guilty feelings about taking these opportunities.
Pay attention to yourself
While your whole world will be revolving around taking care of your newborn, and chores around your home, you’ll find it very easy to forget about looking after yourself. You might think that postpartum depression won’t affect you, but don’t be so sure. Some women get it soon, and some later. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the signs of it so you can help yourself get out of it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you do struggle with PPD but it’s important to get help if you find yourself struggling with PPD.
Germs, germs, germs
Of course, you don’t want to see your little one sick, and you want to protect them in any way possible, but sanitising every single thing in your home, and in public, is a little unnecessary. Don’t allow sick people to be around your baby, and just try to relax a little. Also, if you’re going to be stuck at home all day with your baby, you’re not allowing him/her to build up their immunity system, which could result in them getting sick more often later on.
With social media pretty much running our lives, we find ourselves spending more time on our phones than with our humans. As fun as it is to update your status and let the world know how cute your baby is being, it’s more fun to live in that moment of cuteness. Putting your phone aside and spending proper time with your baby won’t ruin your social presence, it will give you memories to last forever.
The “I Love You”
I tell my boys I love you quite a lot. Sometimes just out of the blue and without any context. Even if your baby doesn’t understand the meaning of those words, doesn’t mean you need to wait until the time he/she does. You want your child to know how you feel about them, and what better way to do that than starting from the beginning.
Love your body
I know it’s probably the last thing you’re expecting me to say here but your body just grew a baby! And delivered it! So yes, your tummy will be saggy and baggy, and you will feel pain for the coming weeks. This is completely normal and every mom goes through this, no matter how you delivered, and how big or small you carried. Your body is amazing. For nine months, your body was the home to your growing baby so of course, it will look and feel different. But be patient and be amazed about what your body has done. Be patient and once you feel ready, you can start exercising to lose your baby fat.
Enjoy each and every moment
There will be days and nights when your baby will cry, and no matter what you do, you just won’t know how to calm them. You’ll become frustrated and upset, and impatient and agitated. You will wish them big when the nights become longer and your baby doesn’t sleep through, and the teething terrors stretch out into months. Cherish these moments still, because you’ll never have your baby this small again and even though these moments may not be filled with fun, you’ll look back at them a few years down the line and miss them.
There you go, my tips for first-time moms. Now that you’ve read them, I’ll ask you to go read the top one again. See which ones you like, which ones you want to try to which ones you’re skipping over. If you do skip over any, it’s fine – you need to do what works for you and your baby at the end of the day.
So congratulations on your baby, and just know that this will be one of the happiest journeys in your life!
What tips do you have for first-time moms? Share your thoughts in the comments with me!