are you a new mom? congratulations!! this is a very exciting new season you’re stepping into. at times it might feel overwhelming; we’ve all been there. today, i’d like to share with you some of the best advice i received (or lack thereof) when i became a mom.
#1 take away the pressure
from the moment the baby is born, doctors will try and push numbers and percentages on you, saying your baby has to gain weight and hit this certain number and be a certain percentage in all these ways, etc. yes- we all know babies should gain weight and yes, as parents, it’s your responsibility to feed them, but don’t put pressure on yourself or your baby to “perform” a certain way. some babies are just smaller. some are just larger. and that’s normal and that’s totally okay.
there have been times i’ve become overwhelmed thinking about needing my child to gain weight and eat more and in the end, it hasn’t done me any good. it’s only brought on feelings of anxiety. if there is an actual reason of concern, you’ll know and your pediatrician will make that evident. otherwise, you know what’s best. your baby will make it very obvious to you when they’re hungry.
#2 grace, grace, & more grace
it’s easy for me to set unrealistically high expectations on myself, and it’s especially easy to begin to do this when your normal schedule/routine has just been thrown out the window (as is normal for a bit after having a new baby). i tend to show a lack of grace for myself when it comes to what i’m physically and mentally capable of doing when really, i need rest.
know that things will be different at first. but they won’t always be that way! you’ll find a new normal. but in the meantime, your main job as a new mom needs to be to take care of your baby. and if all you did that day was nurse your baby and change their diapers, you did an amazing job because that’s what your baby needed. this is still something i’m learning and i’m still freshly postpartum with my second baby. everyone else is giving you grace; it’s time for you to give it to yourself.
#3 watch for baby’s cues
as i mentioned earlier, babies will let you know when they’re hungry. this might be slightly controversial, but, don’t wake a sleeping baby. pediatricians will tell you that you need to wake your baby to feed them. and while i do from time to time worry that my baby is getting enough and maybe sleeping too long, i remind myself that my baby will let me know when she’s hungry and i just need to be flexible. sometimes she might wait 4 hours to feed and other times it might be 1 hour.
with my son, i was setting alarms to wake him to feed him and that’s exhausting for both you and your baby! your baby won’t go hungry; your milk is too good for that to happen haha. watch for your baby’s cues; they’ll be different for each child.
#4 do what you think is best
moms these days google everything. loads of information is just a couple clicks away. while this can be helpful, it can also be detrimental because google will tell you all sorts of things, but google doesn’t know your specific baby; you do. and while this is new for you and you’re seeking information, take it lightly because every baby is different and there is no set rule book for the one way to correctly raise a baby.
one example specifically is the rule behind when you should introduce a bottle to your baby. some say you need to wait weeks, other months, others say right away is fine. the common concern is nipple confusion. after having my son, i was wondering when i should do so since i wanted my son to be able to take a bottle when needed, but i didn’t want to do so prematurely. my mom told me advice i’ll never forget. she said, “tia, the baby will always know the real thing.” she helped me feel more confident in what i thought was best for my son, and everything turned out great!
#5 ask for help/seek advice
be okay knowing that you don’t know much and other people who have already had babies and been where you are have a lot they can offer you. you just need to ask. sometimes moms feel like they need to do it all on their own and the pressure of everything home/kid related is on them. there are people in your life who can help you & want to help you! also, your own mom is a great resource if you don’t know what to do (because i guarantee there will be times that is the case). raising a child takes a village!
remember, the newborn stage is so short. the days might seem long and tiring, but before you know it, your child won’t be a baby much longer. enjoy the moments. take the time to just snuggle your newborn. you’ve got this, mama!!!
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