So you’re preggers (or you’re thinking about getting pregnant, or you’ve been there, done that, or maybe you just couldn’t resist the catchy title of this post). From the moment you got knocked up and started showing/made it Facebook official, you’ve probably been bombarded with advice from everyone under the sun, from your mother-in-law, to your BFF, to the
nosy checker at the grocery store. You’ve probably also read one or more baby books, taken labor or newborn care classes or at least read an article or two about labor/raising a baby. And you’re probably completely confused (at least I was).
“You’ll figure it out.” “It just comes natural.” That’s what people told me. And while I eventually did figure it out (I’ve kept both my children alive for this long, knock on wood), it was kind of touch and go at the beginning. I think there are some moms out there who were born to be moms and take everything in stride. And then there are the rest of us, who are terrified at the idea of actually having to care for a
tiny, screaming child bundle of joy 24/7.
So here’s my two cents on being a new mom (coming from someone who had never changed a diaper prior to my first child being born):
At the Hospital
Stealtake everything not nailed down – the hospital staff puts a lot of stuff in your room to help you out while during your stay (blankets, diapers, wipes, nose sucker things, giant lady pads, hot netted underwear, etc). If you don’t take it, they usually have to toss it, so take everything they offer – seriously. And don’t be shy to ask for more.
- Let nurses watch baby while you sleep – some hospitals will keep the baby in the nursery overnight and bring them in for feedings. If you hospital offers this, DO IT! Really, you’ll be waking several times a night for months to come, take this last chance for a decent night of sleep while you can.
- Breastfeeding is hard so don’t feel pressured to do it if its not for you – At first, breastfeeding kind of sucks. It can hurt – I mean your nipples are just not used to that kind of
abuseuse so it takes a little while to get them used to it (a little lanolin cream does wonders). You’re not automatically ‘on’ – it can take 3-5 days (or more) for your milk to come in (or maybe it just never really comes in). Baby still expects to eat, so it can be frustrating for both of you until things start flowin’. Oh and did I mention that breastfeeding releases hormones in you body that help your uterus contract back to it’s normal size (which means crazy heinous cramps during the first couple days while you breastfeed). Eventually, things should work themselves out (like they did for me) but if it doesn’t, feeding your child formula is completely acceptable too. No one was ever not accepted to college or became a serial killer because they were raised on (gasp) formula.
- Don’t hate your husband/partner – they’re the only one around to take your new mom frustrations out on (you can’t yell at baby, or at least you shouldn’t) but that doesn’t mean you should. And they can’t really help with breastfeeding (which means you’re pretty pissed when they asks what they can do while you’re crying about how hard it is). But they’re just as clueless and terrified as you. Put them in charge of everything that needs to be done other than feeding baby (clean dishes, make dinner/order takeout, get groceries, pay bills, post photos on Facebook for family, etc). Putting them to work will help decrease your urge to scream at them every five minutes.
- This is not show and tell – if someone wants to come over to visit you and baby, put them to work. Ask them to bring food or diapers or toilet paper. Have them hold baby while you take a shower. Ask them to take the dog for a walk or fold laundry. Your job is to take care of baby, not entertain friends and family who want to see who baby looks like (ain’t nobody got time for that).
- Get used to poo and vomit – it’s so gross but you just have to get over it because it will get much worse before it gets better.
- You will not fit back into your pre-preggo jeans right away – if you do, you’re some kind of a freak of nature. Don’t rush home from the hospital, try on your skinny jeans and then bawl your eyes out when you can’t even get them over your swollen cankles. Even once you’ve dropped the pregnancy pounds, your hips may not return to their pre-baby size. Learn to be ok with your post-baby body, I mean you just made a baby, your body is pretty awesome.
- It will get better – no matter how hard it seems in those first few days, it will get better. Trust me, I cried
constantlya lot during that first couple of weeks. But then I put my big girl panties on, took a shower and figured it out. Being a parent is tough sometimes but it is hands down the best thing you’ll ever do.
- Ignore advice – yeah I just sat here preaching about being a new mom but really you’re the only one that know what is best for you and your family (even though it might not feel like it now). Don’t let people make you feel bad for not doing it their way or for not following the
You got this new mom. And if you’re already a mom, let me know what ‘real’ advice you’d give to new moms (that you probably wish someone had given you).