Being a new mom can very well be the most amazing thing you can experience. Imagine having new life growing and thriving inside you for nine months, and finally being the one to bring that life out into the world.
But while being a new mom is life-changing and exciting, it can also be intimidating and overwhelming. If only babies came with instruction manuals, right? Luckily, we’ve compiled our best advice for all new mamas so you can rock at this thing called mom-ming.
1. Breastfeed ASAP.
If you plan on breastfeeding your newborn, make sure to start right away. As long as there are no health complications on both mother and child, most hospitals practice immediate skin-to-skin contact and rooming-in that increases breastfeeding success. Lactation consultants are usually on-staff to give breastfeeding advice and teach the proper way to latch. Not only does breastfeeding strengthen the mother-child bond, it also provides a wealth of health benefits to both mom and newborn.
2. Breast is best but formula is fine too.
There are some reasons why mothers may choose not to breastfeed and that is fine. Don’t beat up yourself over it. The important thing is for your baby to be well-fed and well-nourished.
3. Stall the visitors.
As soon as they hear news of your birth, well-meaning family and friends may want to visit you and your baby. If you can help it, try to delay such visits until you, your husband and your newborn have bonded and have established some form of routine. As a new mom still recovering from the delivery, you need to preserve your energy for all sleepless nights ahead. Your newborn too, might need a little bit more time adjusting to life outside the safe confines of your womb.
4. Let your husband know how he can help.
Your husband may be just as, if not even more, clueless than you about parenting a newborn, so taking the initiative to care for your little one might be a little intimidating for him. He might be feeling like a third wheel, or may be just completely clueless about what to do. However, he is eager to help you in any way he can, so let him know how he can help. Show him what to do and how to do things, and don’t be too critical if he doesn’t do it as well or as quickly as you can. Remember that he’s new to this parenting thing too so be patient with him and figure things out together. Handing over the reins to dad will not only give you a few minutes to take a breather (or that much needed shower!), but will also allow time for your husband and your little one to bond with each other.
5. Ask for help.
Having a newborn can be exhausting. If you need help, ask for it. Enlist the help of your husband, mother or friend so you can take a much needed break. Do not force yourself to do everything yourself; no one expects you to. Most people know how physically-taxing it is to take care of a newborn, so if someone asks you if you need help with anything, don’t be shy to say exactly what you need help with, whether it’s to buy an extra pack of diapers or to babysit for an hour or two so you can cook a meal or clean the house.
6. The chores can wait.
As a new mom, you might feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Before becoming a mom, doing the house chores was a breeze for you, but now with a new baby who is dependent on you for everything, the same tasks and chores can seem unmanageable. Accept that the chores can wait. No one expects you to have an immaculately clean house. Focus on the more important things – taking care of your baby, taking care of yourself and bonding with your newborn.
7. Sleep when the baby sleeps – or not.
Probably the piece of advice most given to new moms is to “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” And that is actually very good advice. But sometimes, it does new moms more good to use their baby’s naptime for doing other things. Catch up on the TV shows you missed, talk to a friend on the phone, scroll through your Facebook feed, or even do some journaling if you are into that. Do what makes you happy. It can help keep you centered (and keep you sane!) to “mom on”.
8. Do what works BEST for you.
As a new mom, you will be given all sorts of advice on how to care for your baby. You may have read different books on parenting, or even spent hours browsing through parenting websites. Go ahead and get ideas; educate yourself. Talk to your husband about what practices are in line with your values and will fit your situation. You will know what’s best for your baby. Trust your maternal instincts. Take all advice with a grain of salt; remember that what works for your friend’s baby may not work for yours. YOU are the expert on raising YOUR baby.
9. You are bound to make mistakes and that’s okay.
You have just stepped into a completely new role; one that you did not have any prior experience on. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to feel at loss. It’s okay to feel inadequate. It’s okay to make mistakes. Cut yourself some slack and forgive yourself for your mistakes. In time you will find the mother inside of you.
10. Enjoy it.
Because it goes by so fast. Because even with the sleep deprivation and exhaustion, the first few months are the easiest. Because eventually, you will not feel so clueless anymore. Don’t let the hard moments steal the beautiful ones.
You became your baby’s mama for a reason – because you ARE the best mom for him.
If this article was helpful to you in anyway, please share it with a new mama friend who you think would appreciate it tool!