There are so many new babies and new mamas in my world right now, and for some reason, I have been asked a few times what I would tell a new mom. Since I am still a new mom, I don’t necessarily feel like an expert in this area, but then again, those first few weeks are such a blur, you want to get your advice down while you remember it! So here it goes: what I would tell all of you new beautiful mamas out there.
1. Managing your visitors:
My first piece of advice would be to manage visitors. Luckily, I was on doctor’s orders to avoid visitors my first week home because of my high blood pressure. Dr.’s didn’t want anything or anyone around me getting me excited or worked up, and it was fabulous. Ryan was on paternity leave, I was still recovering, and we had the house to ourselves. We ordered takeout or ate some frozen meals I had put aside before, watched movies and seasons of Scandal, and just enjoyed our baby. It was truly glorious, and there was plenty of time for visitors to come when I had started to figure out how to care for my little Evie.
When you do have visitors, especially family, be specific. For example “I would love to see you between 2:30-3:15″ so they don’t necessarily stay all day. Or in the case of family, “We would love to have you meet Evie, and man, you are such a good cook. Maybe you could make us some meals to freeze?” Like that? At least make it very clear that you are not going to play hostess.
2. Ask for help:
This was probably my biggest mistake in my first year of motherhood. I had decided to stay home, so why oh why would I get babysitters all week long to just go and get a pedicure? I’ll tell you why: because your new “job” is 24/7!! You need some time for yourself, to recharge, and baby will be fine seeing a new face and maybe even learning some new tricks. And financially, we’re talking an extra $2000/year in childcare. Maybe less? It’s worth it. Trust me.
3. Never Say Never:
I made a lot of proclamations before I became a mother. For ex, “I will not give my baby formula in the hospital”, or “I will make all of her food at home, organic and local of course.” I just set myself up for failure basically. When that pediatrician walks into your hospital room and tells you that your newborn baby has lost too much weight and formula it is, you do it. And when you realize that instead of spending all of your free time steaming and pureeing food only to have one kind of food take up your freezer, and then find out the baby hates it, you buy the neat little squeezy pouches and reclaim your sanity. (Btw, babies only eat pureed food for about 3 months…then solids start to come in. Teeth or no teeth. Who knew?) I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals for yourself, but just be prepared to adapt. And when that mama judges you and your formula, you just let her know that you weren’t up for starving your baby. That’s all.
And also, little side note about breastfeeding. There is this terrible infection called mastitis that I had never heard of, but happened to develop three weeks in. Basically, I woke up one morning, boob hurt, and felt like I had the flu. Tons of my friends have been victims of this sneaky little ailment as well, so learn about it, and hopefully, your Dr. will just call in a prescription rather than have you drag your 3 week old back in to receive your prescription in person.
4. Every day is a Monday:
I spent a lot of my first Sundays as a mom crying because I was beginning to realize that Sundays, as I knew them, were over, at least for the foreseeable future. Every day was a Monday: get up, and repeat the tasks from the day before. I often think of “Le Petit Prince” and his daily chores of watering his rose and cleaning the volcanoes: wake up, repeat. Of course when Ryan is home, we try to take turns at least with the wake-up part, but still. My ideal vacation right now looks a lot like me doing absolutely nothing. That would be glorious.
Don’t get me wrong though. There is a lot of fun in my day too. We hit up the zoo, aquarium, and Botanical Gardens when we can. Every non-rainy day involves at least one playground visit and walk, maybe two! We go to music class, play at Gymboree, and eat lunch with our friends. And the best part is the mandatory afternoon nap jail which forces me to take a break, stay home, and not plan anything. I wish I could tell you that I take a nap every day too, and I should, but I don’t.
I know, I know. Don’t kill me. Seems like an obvious one with an obvious question: when is that supposed to happen? I’m not saying that you should get back from the hospital and hit the treadmill (nor would your Dr. for that matter), but exercise is excellent stress relief. So the intention is not necessarily for fitness and weight management: it’s for mental health management more than anything. I walked all over the place with Evie, but when I whined to my Dr. about how overwhelmed I was feeling, she encouraged me to get back to the gym. The cardio would boost the good hormones that I needed in my body, and she was right. I went back when Evie was 6 months and found a gym with a nursery for her. The other options are of course a running stroller, online workouts (I tried this and really liked it) or the Mommy and me stroller classes. Point is, getting your heart rate up is good for you and baby, at least a few times a week.
6. Find peace amongst chaos:
I think I kept waiting for that perfect moment when Evie was asleep, all chores were done and emails were answered, dinner was bubbling on the stove, and finally I could sit down for that glass of wine. Ain’t gonna happen, at least not on a regular basis, so that cannot be my idea of “peace”. I’m reading a fabulous book right now, “Carry on, Warrior”, but she specifically talked about finding peace despite the chaos around you. In other words, don’t look to your surroundings to find peace. You have to have that option despite your environment. So true.
7. Finally, most important piece of advice if you are a BRAND NEW, still in the hospital, just had a baby mama:
Those fancy pain meds bring your digestive system to a halt, and regardless of how you delivered your baby, you don’t need that. Switch to the Ibuprofen asap, otherwise it might be enema city at your house. (I switched early on, so luckily, I am not speaking from experience, thank goodness!)
Good luck mamas, and look out for one another. Lord knows where I would be without my mama friends. xoxo