The first year of motherhood forever changes you. Having some ideas on how to navigate things you will inevitably come up against as a brand-new mom can make the transition smoother. Here are my top five pieces of advice to help you thrive.
1. Breastfeeding is hard. As a new mother, this is one of the hardest things you will try and do. First, find a professional (a nurse, midwife, doula, or a lactation consultant) to help you start out your breastfeeding journey on the right foot. Get them to help you find the position that works for you to get the perfect latch, because the latch is the secret to success. Second, throw out the clock for the first two weeks (at least) of breastfeeding. Understanding that the more you offer and drain your breasts to your new little one the more milk supply you will create is key. The first 40 days will determine the supply you have to offer your baby throughout the time you choose to breastfeed your baby. In the beginning, when your baby’s stomach is the size of a marble, it is understandable for your baby to want to eat often, so allow your baby to eat often and enjoy it, too. And remember to go easy on yourself during the period as mentioned earlier, breastfeeding is one of the hardest things you will try and do.
2. Sleep is precious. After baby, your sleep habits will be shaken and stirred! You think you will never sleep again but rest assured, you will! I am sure you have heard this expert advice before but it’s important to reiterate: sleep when baby sleeps. This will be necessary as you journey through months of broken-up sleep, so try and get your naps in whenever you can. In addition, try and find a schedule that works for you and your partner where you can help each other out to get a few extra winks in here and there. If suitable for your family, you may want to consider hiring a postpartum doula to come in for a few hours at a time to help you get some rest and lighten up your workload, so you have more time to devote to much-needed sleep.
3. Connect with other new moms. Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed with being a new mom that we exhaustedly isolate ourselves from the outside world. Try and resist this temptation and find a moms’ group you can attend regularly. Most new moms have come from a full-time job with structure and daily adult interaction. It can be a massive change to be at home alone with your little one. Depending on the moms’ group and what the group offers, this may be the place where you can go and chat with other new moms and talk about your successes and struggles, get and offer advice, learn something new to help you through this critical phase in your life, and have adult interaction and put a little structure back into your life.
4. Get outside and move. Like the moms' group idea, this suggestion will benefit your mental and physical health in so many ways. Getting out of the house and into the fresh air and sunshine is mood elevating, energy lifting, and just feels good. It doesn’t matter the activity, whether it’s less structured like taking baby for a walk around the block or going to a fitness program or group, just do it! You will feel so much better once you are out and moving and it’s beneficial to your little one, too.
5. Self-care cannot be neglected. Take time for you when you can; this will allow you to be the best version of yourself for everyone around you, which is what we always want to be. Invest in yourself. You are worthy. Always.
The journey of a brand-new mom is hard, but so rewarding. Take the time to do some of these steps to help you have a happier, smoother, and more positive transition into your mother self.
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