Lets face it, being a new mom will probably be one of the most challenging things you encounter. Also the most rewarding. You will be overwhelmed with feedings, diapers and spit-up. Don’t even get me started on the lack of sleep. Never thought anyone can function on little to no sleep. Crazy how the human body adapts! I wanted to share 5 tips to all mom newbies. I wish I knew these when I first started my journey as a new mom and certainly wished I listened to others who shared these in the beginning.
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1) Sleep when you can
Everyone will tell you, “When the baby sleeps, you should sleep!” This was something I never adhered to. I mean who has time to sleep?!?! When that baby sleeps, I need to clean, do laundry and cook. That’s what I told myself. I soon came to realize that it is really hard to function on no/to very little sleep. I know it’s difficult not to do household chores, but sleep is key to being a new mom. The mass amount of clothes that have been gifted to your newborn is ridiculous. So the laundry can wait! You have plenty of onesies. When someone wants to bring you food, take it! This will give you some extra time to get a quick snooze rather than preparing dinner. This is one of your toughest jobs. So rest up the best you can. Even if its only for 15 minutes. Sleep deprivation will make you very unhappy, in turn making your new bundle of joy very unhappy too!
2) Make time for yourself
Who am I kidding? I just had a baby! I don’t have time for that!! Yes you do. I cannot emphasize that enough. You need to make the time. Having your first baby is such a life changer. You went from all about you, to nothing to do with you. When you feed your baby, you generally have about 1.5 to 2 hours in between feedings. When I finished nursing my baby, I made sure my spouse was there to watch him and I would take off and go grocery shopping. Just to have some human contact of the adult kind. I know shopping for milk rather than “clubbing” is not as fulfilling. Trust me, this brought sanity back into a life that was completely changed, albeit for the better. Even if shopping is not on the schedule for that day, take a long shower or bath. You deserve this time to rejuvenate yourself. You just made, carried, and produced a baby!
3) Set a Routine
This is difficult, but crucial. The big question is, “Do I lay my baby down after they fall asleep, or do I lay them down awake to fall asleep on their own?” I do not think there is a right answer. I have had friends with kids who’ve done it one way and others who have done the opposite. Honestly, I prefer to put them to bed awake. I nursed and snuggled my baby, but I always put them down in their crib before slumber crept in. I wanted to set the routine for them. I will be with you to feed, snuggle and dress you, but when its time for bed, its time for bed. This also teaches your baby to self soothe. Which is key for future “sleep training.” The important thing is that spouses, family and others who watch your child stay on the same page. Keep it consistent. It will help your child become accustomed to bedtime routines at a young age. There will be no surprises for them and they will know what is to be expected. No matter which way you choose, do it the same way EVERY time. After all, we are all creatures of habit.
4) Stop being so quiet
Yes I know you think I’m crazy, but this is true. The more you act “normal” around your child, the more “normal” you life will become. I lived with 2 dogs when my first was born. I had frequent visitors. When the doorbell rang, they barked. Why stress myself out about being quiet when I can acclimate my child to the noises of everyday life. I used a sound machine since the first day he came home and still use one 7 years later with all 4 of my kids. The sound machine is wonderful!! I personally use the ocean setting all the time with my kids. It has a timer on it so you can set it and forget it, or keep continual play. I also take it on vacations. The battery option helps out if we are out and do not have access to a plug. Absolutely the best purchase ever!! It produces a great background noise to keep all the harsh ones quiet. For example, while sleeping in his swing I vacuumed, with the soothing waves playing beside him. Not once did he wake. This allowed him to sleep along side our busy lives. Remember, they are apart of your lives now, not the only thing in your life.
5) Trust Your Instincts
Woman have this incredible gift that we are all born with, the ability to nurture. When I held my baby boy for the first time, it felt so natural. All the advice in the world could not prepare me for this moment. I had so many people telling me what was right or wrong, how to do this or what not to do. I fixated on their advice and never believed in myself as a new mom. Trust your instincts and follow your heart. You will be amazed at how well you do. This amazing miracle you’ve created trusts and loves you, shouldn’t you do the same?!