You think you're ready, you really do. You've read books, attended childbirth classes and can't wait for mommy hood to begin. But are you really ready? What if your birth experience lets you down? What if you have a difficult time breastfeeding?
First, be gentle to yourself. You're about to be a mama. Your psychology will impact your parenting, so best to be easy on YOU and trust your instincts.
Here are several key tips for getting through your first few months:
SLEEP WHEN BABY SLEEPS
Easier said than done, for sure, especially if you have another little one who's up. Figure out with your partner when you might be able to work in a nap for yourself. Can you pump and share nighttime feedings? Sleepless nights will be real and leave you lumbering bleary eyed through the early days with Baby. Try to forget the dirty dishes and your need for perfection and make sleep a priority.
GET BREAST-FEEDING SUPPORT IN PLACE
Do not leave the hospital after delivering your baby without a lacation nurse's phone number if you plan to breastfeed. Know who you can call if you start struggling with nursing. Try not to compare yourself to other moms who look like they're pros at it — it took them time to get there! Getting milk production started is a slow process that involves cold and hot compresses, rest, pumping and feeding every hour or so at first. You WILL have questions; get them answered.
STAY HYDRATED, EAT HEALTHY FOODS
Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and drink up! It helps your milk production and helps your body feel better. Also, remember to eat. You need your nourishment to keep up with Baby and grow stronger. Eat vegetables and fruits as much as you can and take walks from time to time. Your newborn will benefit from fresh air and so will you. It helps your mind so much to get out of the house and out in nature.
LET FRIENDS & RELATIVES HELP
Get this started before your delivery! If a friend wants to start a Meal Train for you, say YES! Or try a meal subscription service such as Hello Fresh, Plated, Blue Apron, Home Chef, or Freshly. If a relative says he'll come and walk your dog so you can "do" Baby, say, "Yes!" Take your friends' and relatives' suggestions for ways they can help and let them do it. Accepting help is a sign of strength when you have a newborn. You will repay kindnesses when you can, when your friends and other loved ones are in need and you are available.
SET UP GROCERY DELIVERY
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Once your baby is born, your instincts will kick in for the newborn life you're in charge of. Try not to be a worry wart, but DO listen to yourself if you know something's amiss either for your baby or you. Call your pediatrician for your baby or your OB/GYN for you if you have any concerns.
ENJOY YOUR NEW ROLE
Read to your little one each day. Take walks together. Get IN to being the mom you are right now and your little one will lead the way to your mommy experiences. Life is good, life is rich. And with your newborn baby ... so are you.
SOURCE: Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality by Jennifer Shu and Laura Jana