Wednesday, October 23, 2013

some thoughts and tips for new mamas

Recently it seems like all of my friends are having babies, which is pretty amazing and wonderful (and only makes me feel a little old). In light of all the new mamas and babies I know I thought I would share some things that I found to be helpful when I first had Emerson. Obviously, I am no expert, but I thought I would share some things I found to be helpful just the same.

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1. Rest as much as you can. Let your body recover, you just birthed a baby! You need time to heal so you can take care of your sweet tiny new little bundle. I know it might seem difficult (if not impossible) to find time to rest, but even a few minutes here and there will do you a world of good. Because the truth is, you will be so tired. I had never felt so utterly exhausted and tired in all of my life. Learn to let yourself lay on the couch or in your bed and just rest.

2. Accept help from friends and family. If you are blessed enough to have family and/or friends nearby let them help you, even it means they hold baby while you take a little nap or take a shower. Let them fix/bring you a meal, don't feel like you have to entertain them. Chances are, they really want to help you with whatever you need (and if that means they get to hold the baby, all the better for them :). This one was probably the hardest one for me, but I had to let go and let people help me. Life is better for everyone when you do.

3. Lanolin will be your new best friend. If you are breastfeeding that is. Use it. A lot. Just trust me on this one, mmk?

4. Breastfeeding can be difficult. Don't beat yourself up if baby doesn't latch on perfectly at first, or if everything seemed fine at the hospital but once you are at home nursing it's not so great. It takes time for you and baby to learn how to nurse. Just be patient and keep trying (if that is the route you are going).  Most hospitals have lactation specialists you can call to help you or you could contact someone from your local La Leche League. I wrote about our breastfeeding journey here and here.

5. Get dressed every single day. In real clothes. Even if they are your maternity clothes, because let's face it, you won't be fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothes for a few weeks (months). When you put on real clothes it will help you feel better about yourself. There is only one day I did not change out of my pajamas and I felt like crap all day long. Not that I was feeling great to begin with, but I could have at least felt a little better had I put some clothes on. Plus, wearing regular clothes will help motivate you to loose that baby weight quicker! (at least it did for me :)    

6. Take a shower. every. day. Find time. Make time. Just do it. It kind of goes along with wearing real clothes. But I think to an even greater extreme. You feel fresh after a shower (and you smell much better too :). Feeling fresh = happy. So, shower = happy. If this means you have to shower during one of baby's naps, do it then. Maybe you'll have to take a shower at night after baby is sleeping. It doesn't matter when you shower, just take one.

7. Eat.  I feel like this is pretty self explanitory. Personally, I cannot live without food (well, technically none of us can...). I love food, so it was no big thing for me to "remember" to eat. The hard thing is to eat healthy, well balanced meals. Eh, just so long as you aren't eating doughnuts for every meal, you'll be good. Eating will also help you build up your milk supply. So, there's that too.

8. Drink lots of water. It is so important to keep yourself hydrated, it helps you heal and keeps you healthy. It also helps your milk supply. So drink up! 

9. It's okay if the house isn't perfectly tidy. Enjoy this time with your newborn. Let other people help you with laundry. Dishes in the sink? Eh, leave them be. They can wait. The thing that is most important is taking care of yourself and baby. Let your hubby, friends, and family help with everything else. No one can heal your body like you can.  

10. Cuddle with your baby! Everyone says it because it is true, time passes so quickly with a baby. Cherish each and every moment.

11. Get out of the house. Once you feel ready and can walk again. Even if it's just a short little trip to Target or a restaurant. Seeing other people is refreshing and can make you feel like a "normal" person again.

12.  Establish a routine. Not everyone does well with routine, some just feed baby whenever and are very go with the flow like. Not me. I thrive with structure, so it was incredibly helpful to develop somewhat of a routine. Granted this took a while to establish. At first it was pretty basic: nurse (which took about an hour), sleep, maybe eat or read or something, repeat. After a few months routines are a little easier to develop and keep. I'll share what ours was like in an up coming post.

13. Go with your gut! Listen to the advice of doctors and family, but you know your baby best, so go with what you think is best for your baby. I know when Emerson was just a wee one he had breast milk jaundice which caused more tension than I would have liked (long story short: doctor said to supplement, family said not to...). We did what we thought was best for our family and for Emerson, that's what's important. You will know what is best for your babe too.

14. Buy a few new tops (or pants) and bras (a must!) that fit and make you feel cute. Purchasing a few new items helped me feel pretty again and not like a big blob. It is worth it have a few non-maternity clothes that fit you during this transitional time. Bras are a bust because, well, your boobs will be huge!

15. Savor each and every day with your sweet new babe. The times goes by too quickly! One minute you are holding a newborn in your arms, and the next you are looking into the eyes of a curious little eight month old (or two year old, but I have yet to experience that :).

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That probably seems like a mouthful, but hopefully some of you find it at least a little bit helpful! Good luck new mama! :)


3 comments:

Jennie said...

Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

Susannah said...

This is great! I'll definitely be saving this for the future!

Katie said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm bookmarking this!