As mentioned in a previous post, my cousin is due with her first baby in February and we are all so excited for them. Baby Dove suggested I write a letter to new moms about my experience as a mom of 3 and any advise I can part with.
Firstly, congratulations Mommy (and Daddy), your life is about to change drastically. Some days will be so hard, you’ll want to take that baby back to the hospital. Other days are so beautiful, you can’t believe you created such a piece of perfection. And in between those days, will be days filled with throw up, dirty diapers, leaky boobs, and milk in your hair.
Without further ado, my few pieces of advice…
Sleep when baby sleeps
This is not always possible. When Aunty Pat says to you “oh dearie, you need to sleep when baby sleeps, maybe you won’t look so tired” just eat her (you’re gonna need the sustenance). Jokes aside, when baby sleeps, it’s either in your arms, on your chest or touching some part of you and any movement on your side will wake baby. If baby is sleeping in his/her crib, do what you need to do. Take a quick shower, eat something, wash the dishes, maybe have a cup of warm tea or go stand outside for 5 minutes to get some fresh air. If you need it and baby allows for it, then take that nap and enjoy it!
Ask for help (or accept it when it’s offered)
Your house isn’t up to it’s normal standards, your hair is a mess and you have dark circles under your eyes, which means you don’t want to see anyone. But when your friend pops around and says you should go take a long shower, she’ll watch the baby, take her up on the offer. Sometimes, we just need a few minutes alone to recharge. If your mom in law says she’s going to come around, let her. She’ll probably end up cleaning your house and making dinner. Score! Lol but seriously, accept the help offered. And if it’s not offered, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to help out. I can promise you, they will gladly drop what they’re doing to get in some baby cuddles.
You cannot spoil your baby
I’m sure you’ve heard of this before. If you hold baby or pick them up every time they cry, you’re going to spoil them. Not true. A baby is going to cry for a reason. Whether it’s because it’s hungry, tired, overstimulated, or just needs some cuddles. Go ahead Mommy, you’re not going to spoil your baby, pick him/her up and get all those cuddles in. Your baby needs all the care and attention you can give. And trust me, when they’re 7 years old and all grown up, they won’t even come sit next to you on the sofa for fear you will cuddle them.
Listen to your heart (or your gut). You know your baby better than anyone else, so if you feel like something is off, go check on or have your baby checked out at the doctor. If someone’s suggests something that you don’t feel good about, don’t do it. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore that feeling. You need to trust your feelings and do what YOU feel is right for you and your baby.
You aren’t a bad mom
I saw a quote recently that said “You aren’t a bad mom. You are a good mom having a bad day.” We all have bad days. Ones where the kids are glued to the tv watching cartoons the whole day. Or we just could not get to make dinner because we were up all night with baby and would rather eat our own hand than attempt to make something edible. You’re just having a bad day and tomorrow will be better. And if it’s not, just eat all the things and know that it’s just another bad day. (If the bad days are piling up and you feel like you just can’t seem to have a good day, perhaps you should have a talk with your doctor as PND is very common (and VERY normal) for most moms).
Love your body
You just birthed a baby! You’re amazing and your body did something incredible. You carried and grew another human being and your body is changed now. You will feel flabby and yucky and won’t want to look in the mirror for fear of seeing all the stretchmarks. Be patient with yourself and give yourself a break.No one will judge you for wearing the maternity clothes after birth, even if it has been more than a year ago. Look in the mirror and remind yourself of what you did, what you grew, what an amazing feat your body accomplished in bringing your baby into this world. Be kind to yourself.
Oh and just in case you didn’t know, point the penis down to prevent leaky nappies. I learned this the hard way.