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Archive for November, 2012

New Mom Survival Guide

Well, today would have been my due date. But instead I have a baby who is almost five weeks old! How crazy is that!? In those five weeks, I’ve learned a lot of things about motherhood and how to survive it. So I thought it would share.

Be open-minded and flexible. I went into this thing with a lot of ideas about how I would handle it and the kind of mother I would be. I have since learned that you need to be flexible about things. For instance, I vowed that my child would sleep only in his crib or pack and play. He would not sleep anywhere other than where he was supposed to. Instead I had a child who refused to sleep anywhere other than in someone’s arms. After several sleepless nights, we decided that the easiest solution was to just let him sleep in our arms. So now one of us spends the night sleeping on the couch with the baby on our chest. (Before you get all crazy, we do it safely – positioned in such a way that there’s no way he can roll onto the floor or be suffocated by us.) We were also determined not to give our baby a pacifier. But after being used as a human pacifier by a baby who adores the action of sucking, I gave him a pacifier for my own sanity. We now love the pacifier. It’s actually a way of getting a few minutes of quiet. The moral of the story? Be flexible. You never know how you’ll behave or what you’ll do until your baby arrives. Don’t beat yourself up if you change what you had planned to do. Do what you have to do to stay sane.

SLEEP! Whenever possible, sleep! It will be so hard to come by that you need to jump all over it at any chance you get. It doesn’t matter if there’s laundry that needs doing or dishes that need washing. Sleep is more important. Chores will still be there later.

Don’t be proud – accept help. If someone offers to do those aforementioned chores, let them. If they want to watch the baby for an hour or two so that you can nap, hand that baby over. Whenever anyone offers to do something that has the potential to make your life easier, let them do it.

Make time for yourself. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous two points. Whether it’s to get some sleep or you have to avail of some help to do it, make time for yourself. Go for a drive. Go for ice cream. Go shopping. Take a nap. Take a bath. Read a book. You are going to be taking care of this child for the next eighteen years. You want to enjoy them. So be sure you make some time to concentrate on yourself once in a while.

Your baby will cry, and that’s okay. I am in no way advocating letting a newborn cry-it-out. But there will likely come a time during the day (especially if your husband works outside the home and is gone for a large portion of the day) that you will need to use the bathroom or get something to eat. And it’s possible that your baby will fuss during that time. If he fusses for a few minutes while you take care of your basic needs, that’s okay. He will survive.

And, finally…

Enjoy your baby. Don’t become so involved in the routine of caring for your child that you forget to enjoy him. Snuggle him. Kiss and hug him. Read him stories. Love him. My son has to eat every three hours around the clock. And his routine of breastfeeding, diaper changing, topping up his feed with a bottle of breast milk, pumping to get the aforementioned bottle of breast milk, and then sanitizing the pumping gear takes well over an hour. So there’s very little time in between feeds. But it’s important to take advantage of that time to enjoy your new baby. He will only be a newborn for a short time. Don’t miss it.

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