“Are you ready?” That’s the question I remember people asking me as I approached my due date with my first child. “I guess”, was my response. I think we do our best to prepare. Some of us have close relatives or friends that have had children, and we’ve been able to learn from them. Many of us are one of the first, if not the first, in our friend group to have a baby and go through all the postpartum stages. Maybe you realized how little you knew once you left the hospital and headed home with your new little human. Here are the top things I wish I knew as a mom postpartum.
2 Crucial Things About the Basics:
1. Breastfeeding is not always latch and done. In reality, it may take lots of trial and error. Please don’t give up if it’s your goal to breastfeed. Seek a lactation counselor (CLC or IBCLC). Sometimes, as a new mom, you are so exhausted mentally and emotionally that just having some additional support makes a HUGE difference. Often your pediatrician can refer you to one that they use and you can reach out to mom’s groups. La Leche League is a great support group (https://www.llli.org/get-help/) and often hospitals have ones as well.
2. You can read all the books and blogs but still not find an answer. I don’t mean to not do your research, just remember that you have to filter all the suggestions and advice to figure out what works best for your baby. Most often, this involves your gut instinct as the mama.
When is This Baby Going to Sleep?!
3. As a new mom, being “tired” prior to baby is very different from the tired you will feel with a newborn. Sleep deprivation is tough, really tough. You’re in this fog of being so very tired but also so very in love with your new human. Give yourself lots of grace. Yes, you will forget things. Yep, you may not know when you last showered. And yes, you may not be concerned with the pile of laundry or dishes. That’s okay mama! Your priority is you and that beautiful baby of yours.
4. All babies don’t start sleeping through the night magically at 3 months or whatever timeframe you may think. The truth is that every baby is different, and often sleep training may be needed. Just don’t set out with the expectation that your baby should be sleeping through the night at 2 or 3 months. There are postpartum helpers that will come in at any hour of the day to help you with your baby or whatever you need help with. The Jax Baby Company is one option (https://jaxbabycompany.com). One of the things I learned to tell myself to get through the tough stages was that it was temporary. It’s just a phase and it will pass.
2 Crucial Things I Would Do Differently:
5. Ask for help and accept it with open arms. Seriously, do not try to do all the things postpartum. In many other countries, moms have lots of support with a newborn. If you can afford it, get someone to clean your home and help with laundry while they’re at it. Get a meal service or use a grocery delivery service. Pay someone you trust to watch the baby for even 1 or 2 hours so that you can nap or take a shower. Please don’t feel bad. I encourage you to use the service whether it’s temporary until you get better adjusted or you decide to keep the service long-term. Mama, you were not meant to do everything. It’s impossible mama. If mama’s not feeling good, the house is going to struggle so take care of your needs!
6. Build your community. Join a breastfeeding support group, even if just to meet other new moms. Find out what mom groups are getting together in your area and try it out. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers https://www.mops.org/groupsearch/) is one that meets at churches typically, though you do not have to subscribe to a certain religion. There are groups for moms for stroller walks and so much more. meetup.com has tons of options. If you’re local to Jacksonville, Grow Family (http://www.growhappyfamily.com) is a great family oriented yoga studio that encourages you to bring your baby and kids of any age. They offer a meetup time for parents as well as just open play where your kids can play in a safe environment while you chat with other parents. This can be tough because often we make excuses but we all need a tribe.
Taking Care of Mama
Someone wisely said to me that when you’re pregnant, all the focus is on the mom-to-be. Once you have the baby, all the attention becomes focused on your newborn. Postpartum moms can get lost in the shuffle and their needs ignored. You can check out more tips and tricks on taking better care of yourself here http://fullpotentialcounseling.com/is-self-care-selfish/.
As a mom myself, I love working with moms at all stages. If you find yourself feeling lost as to who you are or overwhelmed with the enormous responsibility of being a mom, I’m here to listen and help. Call/text me at 904-204-9308 or email me at [email protected]