Happy Friday, friends… this advice for the new moms comes from those of us that have “been there, done that.”
I know I say it all the time, but this mommin’ gig ain’t easy. I’ve had a hard week. Things didn’t go the way they were supposed to go. The baby hasn’t been feeling good and sleep has been tough. The threenager is as strong-willed as they come and tries my patience 392 times a day (ballpark figure).
I’m only 3.5 years into this gig, so I wouldn’t exactly consider myself a “been there, done that” mama. (Although, I have been a lot of places and done a lot of things, including going to the bathroom while nursing a baby and fighting my way through Postpartum Anxiety, to name a few.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about new motherhood. Maybe because a good friend of mine just had a baby. Or maybe it’s because my baby is 1 year old and will be going to college soon. (Fiiiiine, maybe I’m exaggerating. A little.)
I reached out to my mama tribe and asked them: “What’s ONE piece of advice you would give a mama-to-be?” You guys. Their responses blew me away. What I wouldn’t have given to read these gems when I was drowning in new motherhood. But you know what else? They also helped me NOW. This mama me. This mama of 2.
Here is the resounding theme: IT’S OKAY.
Baby won’t breastfeed?
You’re not so sure about this crazy life change and motherhood gig?
You want to rock your baby to sleep?
Sleep-training your baby?
Baby latches great, but you hate breastfeeding and want to give formula?
You need help?
Above all, mama, know that you were chosen for this role. You were born to do it. But, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
Find your tribe. Accept the help. Drink a lot of coffee (yes, even if you’re breastfeeding.) Get sleep when you can. Enjoy the good moments and ugly cry over the hard ones. And, know that it gets better.
Read on, mama…
(One more thing – I’m going to try to have Fridays around here focus on motherhood. Don’t forget to sign up so you don’t miss a post!)
THE BEST ADVICE FOR NEW MOMS
Everything is a phase and you will even miss the tough phases one day. Now that I have a 10 and 13 year old, I would give anything to spend even the worst day with my toddlers again.
It’s OKAY not to love every moment.
You might not instantly connect with or deeply love your new baby…and that’s OKAY.
Pick a mom you admire and follow her advice, while trying to block out the well-meaning world of people who will tell you how you can do more or be better all the time.
We are all far from perfect!
It’s okay to ask for help: mentally, emotionally, physically. Postpartum Depression/Anxiety can come in all sorts of forms and in all different time frames.
Always remember to also take care of yourself, too. And it’s OKAY if breastfeeding doesn’t work for you!
You can do anything. You are amazing and strong and you will survive. You may not feel like you will, so reach out to your village (old and new), and I promise you’ll get through it.
We all know nursing your baby is great for baby, but a bottle or formula supplement to keep your sanity is OKAY! Baby will be fine and more adaptable because of it! Fed is best!
When it comes to babies, and even big kids for that matter, things don’t go according to plan. You have this idea of what things should be like and it’s just not going to happen usually. And that’s OKAY. Just go with the flow and try not to get hung up on it.
Don’t worry about what “the book” says, mother your child how you want to mother them. If they want a pacifier, give them one. If they want to be rocked to sleep, rock them to sleep, etc. Do what’s right for your child and don’t worry about what other people think!!
If baby is napping, then you take a nap. Don’t worry about dishes, cleaning house etc! Take the chance to rest too until baby starts sleeping through the night.
It’s OKAY NOT to breastfeed.
“Happy Mommy, Happy Baby!” Yes you are taking care of a new tiny human, but you need to take care of yourself and taking a few minutes each day just for you, even if it’s to shave your legs. Do it and don’t feel guilty about it!
Join a local MOMS Club or group to meet other mommies for meet-ups/stroller walks.
Sleep train. It was the hardest thing I’ve done, but it pays off in dividends with years of good sleep for mother and child.
You don’t have to do it all. Someone else can do things for your baby and even if it’s not your way, it’ll still be fine. If someone wants to hold your baby or bathe them so that you can get a break, TAKE IT! It’s OKAY to need a break.
Don’t wish away the newborn season. As hard as it is, it’s such a beautiful time!
You’ll make a lot of mistakes and “wrong decisions.” Learn from it and let it go. Use every minute as a teaching opportunity (so much easier said than done!). Even for yourself.
Get pictures with yourself in them. I so regret not getting into pictures because I was so worried about looking “fat”.
Don’t be close minded and listen to people’s advice. You don’t have take it but at least listen. Theres a lot of awesome mamas out there and you might learn a thing or 2 if you just listen.
Don’t obsess with googling everything! Especially about baby sleeping. I was sick about hearing or reading what was “supposed” to work and how to get your kid to sleep through the night. Guess what?!? None of it worked. Sleep training, CIO, Ferber, earlier bedtime, later bedtime, white noise, nightlight, pitch black room, full belly…whatever. None of it worked. And that’s OK!
Believe in the mama-baby bond that means YOU are the expert on your baby – an expertise that all the advice and worries passed to you by well-meaning friends, family, media, and doctors cannot match. Always go with that expert mama gut.
Let go of perfection and get in the photos with your baby/child. Your children are NOT going to care that you felt fat or not pretty when they were young, but they will treasure every photo of you long after you are gone. Spend the money on professional photos and be in them with your children!
Kids are mobile! It’s easy to say no to things and stay home, but we started them young going places. As big as flights away for a weekend and as small as brunch at a restaurant. They’re mobile – take them places and get out!
Breathe…plain and simple.
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