All those months of pregnancy All those hours of labour, even if it was a short labour . All that waiting, waiting until the day you’d finally be able to look your beautiful bundle of joy right in the eyes and tell them you love them. It all felt like forever, but it‘s finally here. But what now? Be prepared because the next few months are going to be emotional, exhausting, and wonderful all rolled into one.
Between adjusting to the newest addition (or additions for mommies with twins, triplets, or more), attempting to find at least some semblance of a schedule, and learning all the ins and outs of mommy hood, the first three months are the hardest.
My first bit of advice for new mommies is do what feels right for you. There are going to be plenty of people with plenty of opinions, listen, and then take what you want from it. Just because your mom says she started feeding you solids at three months doesn’t mean you have to do the same with your baby. Your baby will let you know when he/she is ready. Try not to be in a rush because once your baby is at that stage, it’s like they’re no longer your little baby anymore, they’re an independent little being.
One of the nurses at the hospital told me to wake my baby up every two hours to feed her. I was later told NOT to do this. I agree with the second piece of advice. You don’t have to wake your baby up. When they’re hungry, they’ll let you know. Listen to your inner knowing of mommydom, listen to what your baby is telling you, and between the two of you, you’ll be able to figure it out. And before you know it, you and your babe will be in complete harmony, you’ll almost forget how it could have been any other way.
There are going to be times when your baby cries and you don’t know what they need, take a deep breath, walk away for a moment if you have to, and recollect yourself. If you have friends and family nearby, call them in to help you out. If they’re not nearby, call them even just to talk. Once calm, run through your own little checklist. Clean diaper? Sleepy? Hungry? Needs to burp? Teething? If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, try a cuddle.
In my first few weeks as a first time mom, I remember these moments. I remember holding my daughter and crying along with her, and why not? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I also remember looking back at videos we’d taken, at least a year later, and being able to tell what she’d needed. “Ohhh, she was cranky because she needed to burp. Why didn’t I know that?”
Whatever you do, cut yourself some slack. Remember that you’re new at this and you’re not expected to get it right, right away. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t get the house cleaned today, or if you managed to fit in bath time for your little bubs. It doesn’t matter if you changed your clothes or did your hair. All that matters is that you and your little darling made it through another day, all in one piece.
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