Do you often find yourself feeling like you could be doing the mom thing better? Do you worry about your baby’s sleep patterns and eating habits, the cleanliness of your house, or if your patience is not where you’d like it? If you answered yes, you are not alone-these are universal new mom feelings.
One day you’re pregnant and the next, you’re caring for a newborn 24/7 while in full recovery mode. Not to mention, there is so much to learn. How to change a diaper, how to nurse, how to bottle feed, how to dress your baby for sleep, etc. And babies do not come with instruction manuals! This transition is amazing, wonderful, overwhelming and quite stressful, often all at the same time.
To help alleviate some of the pressure that comes with new motherhood, here are 4 tips to help you get through those first few months as a new mom.
1. There’s No Such Thing as Perfect
You could read every parenting book in the world, follow all the #instatips from the mommy bloggers, and STILL feel like you are doing it all wrong. Remember: there is no perfect algorithm for raising babies. And maybe even more importantly, every baby is different (and so is every parent!).
While you’re in this trial and error phase, show yourself a little grace. You are learning your baby as you go along, and even learning more about yourself. Besides, babies don’t need us to be perfect. They just need us to care enough to try. And by reading this article, we already know that you do.
2. Take it or Leave it (oh the advice!)
You’ll learn soon enough that everyone around you suddenly seems to have a piece of advice to share. Why is it that every subject surrounding your baby is up for discussion? How your baby eats, sleeps, cries, tolerates tummy time, and when they should be reaching developmental milestones… Everyone wants to share their opinion.
Many parents would rather everyone just stay out of it and mind their own business. You may find yourself wanting to say:
“Let me figure it out myself.”
“You don’t understand my baby.”
But think about it this way- most people who offer advice probably found that particular tidbit helpful at some stage along their own new mom journey and really just want to pay it forward.
If someone does offer you advice, it’s nice to have a “take it or leave it approach”. Use what you think could help and leave the rest behind without letting frustration take over. We know this is easier said than done sometimes.
3. “You’ll miss this stage one day”… not.
How many times have you heard this phrase, only to look around at the overflowing diaper bag, heavy car seat, messy highchair, and your hair that hasn’t been washed in way too long?… What? You don’t think you’ll miss all of that? Yeah, probably not, but hindsight really is all rosy-colored, isn’t it?
Don’t get us wrong, maybe you will miss it. But in the moment, it’s hard to tolerate the pressure of trying to enjoy every waking moment when you feel like you’re drowning in spit-up. Want some advice? Don’t worry about being so present in the moment every second of the day and “taking it all in”. Instead, take lots of pictures you can look back at later down the road with your own set of rosy-colored glasses.
4. You Can’t Do it All
You’ve probably heard the saying “Sleep when the baby sleeps”. But if you haven’t figured it out by now, sleeping when the baby sleeps doesn’t actually work (for anyone!). It’s a nice idea though…
Without much sleep, it’s impossible to feel like you’re ahead of the game. Let’s face it, without much sleep it’s nearly impossible to feel like doing much at all. It comes with the territory of being a mom to want to stay on top of everything. Instead, try prioritizing what’s most important to you-not what others tell you to prioritize. Whether it’s cooking fresh meals daily, keeping the house clean, or getting out for one walk a day, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is knowing that you can’t do EVERYTHING while taking care of another human who is completely dependent on you. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but making this realization and prioritizing what’s most important to you can really help the day-to-day stuff be just a little bit easier (and even more enjoyable!).
Here’s the thing, between physical recovery, emotional recovery, and spending a good amount of time Googling answers to questions you never thought you’d ask, mommyhood is A LOT to deal with!
It’s stressful and can be frustrating when everyone around you wants to offer their two cents for how to take care of yourself and your baby. But YOU know best. Do what works for you, take the advice you want to take, remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out right away, and enjoy the moments that are actually enjoyable (there will be plenty of them!). You’ve got this!
Need some extra support to help you confidently support your child’s first year of development? Our online course Babies on the Move is for you!