Welcome to new motherhood: it’s a scary but magical time and new moms deserve all the help, love and support in the world. Which is why we’ve put together this list of advice for new moms, as offered by moms who’ve ‘been there, done that’.
The first – and probably the most important – piece of advice the team here at BYY can offer you is this: If you’re even worrying about being a good mom, then congratulations, that means you already ARE a good mom.
Having a newborn is scary. Even if it’s not your first child, the first few weeks can be nerve-wracking for parents. Take comfort in the fact that literally billions of moms have done this before you… and survived.
You’ve been through a really big physical and emotional change. Be kind to yourself and expect to wrestle with conflicting emotions. Mama, it is also okay to go through a ‘mourning’ period for your pre-baby life – it doesn’t make you a bad mom.
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Breastfeeding is new to both you and your baby. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone – see a lactation specialist if you need help but also give yourselves time to figure it out… together.
You’ve probably heard it a million times already but ‘Fed Is Best’. It’s okay if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed – so long as you’re making sure your baby is fed and growing properly, you’re doing a GREAT job!
You DON’T need to bounce back. What your body really needs is rest, nourishment and to be looked after. You’ve done the most incredible thing in growing and giving life to another human – yes, your body may look different now but that’s just part of the process.
Babies don’t come with instructions – and they probably won’t follow the timelines set out in the books you’ve read. Yes, some moms do land up with ‘unicorn babies’ (the mythical perfect babies who behave exactly as laid out in the baby books you’ve read) but remember that most don’t. Try to relax and enjoy your baby at each stage without placing too many expectations on either yourself or baby – if your paediatrician is happy with baby’s development, then you should be too.
You don’t have to do everything (and you certainly don’t have to do everything YOURSELF!). Sink full of dishes? Clothes need to be washed? You need a shower? Accept that you’re in survival mode right now and there are things that are going to slide. So if someone offers to cook you dinner, clean your home or watch the baby while you have a bath, say yes!
Take lots of pictures. The first few weeks with a newborn are so busy and can easily pass by in a blur. Take photos so you remember the good moments, because there WILL be things that you forget (NOTE: there are some things that you’ll forget that you’ll just be grateful have been pushed to the back of your mind – that’s okay too).
Getting outdoors will be good for you. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, visiting a friend or doing the grocery shopping. At the same time, though, it’s COMPLETELY fine if you spend the entire day in you pyjamas. Getting to the end of the day with both you and your baby in one piece is achievement enough.
You can’t ‘spoil’ an infant. The whole myth that you can spoil them by holding them too much is just that: a myth. Babies need to be held in order to feel comfortable and confident in their environment.
And lastly… everyone will offer you advice (including us, when you ask for it) – but don’t be afraid to IGNORE it! Remember that YOU are the expert on YOUR baby. Trust yourself.
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