This is an exhilarating time for you. However, whether your due date is still a short ways away or you’re settled in at home with your new bundle of joy, being a first-time mom can also be a bit nerve-racking and filled with uncertainty and second-guessing.
First off, don’t stress yourself out too much. It’s perfectly natural to feel like that and, since you’re here, you’re definitely doing at least one thing right because you’re researching for best practices.
There’s no perfect guidebook for this time and even the best of the best psychic readers couldn’t tell you how good the choices you’re making are. Fortunately though, learning a few basic tips may help make your postpartum time a little easier.
1. Hold Your Newborn as Much as You Want
There’ll likely be plenty of people that try to tell you not to hold your baby too much because you’ll “spoil” them but that’s simply an old wives’ tale. You’re not doing anything detrimental by holding them frequently and in fact, you may actually be helping them.
2. “Cry It Out”
You’ve likely heard two sides as to whether you should let your newborn cry until they stop. Some will tell you that doing so is bad for the baby while others swear that it keeps them from getting “spoiled.”
However, a 2020 study actually found that the practice did show any adverse effects AND that it could possibly lead to a decrease in crying frequency and duration.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Of course, for the foreseeable future, your main focus is going to be on your baby. That’s natural. However, you also need to remember to practice some basic self-care for your personal wellbeing.
While you may not be able to break away and exercise for a while, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, adding postpartum vitamins to your daily routine, and drinking plenty of water are just a few easy things you can do to help yourself stay healthy.
4. Time Doesn’t “Fly”
Virtually every parent in your life is going to tell you something along the lines of, “Enjoy it while you can, it goes by SO fast.” The fact is, they don’t currently have a baby in the crib at home because it only “goes by so fast” in retrospect.
The time actually goes by slowly—even super slowly during times like the teething phase, and can seriously alter the festive feel of your home.
5. When It Comes to Breastfeeding
You’ve heard from basically everyone around you that you have to breastfeed. You’ve had the benefits of it beat into you for months and you completely understand that alternate feeding options just aren’t quite as good as mother’s milk.
However, it’s a choice and completely up to you. The right formula product will still give your baby a lot of the nutrients they need! Don’t let people “bully” you into something you don’t want to do.
Additionally, even though breastfeeding looks ridiculously easy, it’s not! It can actually be ridiculously hard at first, and sometimes it just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try. Or, it may work at first and then suddenly stop. If you want to breastfeed, you may need to be patient and keep trying, but you also need to be prepared to implement contingency plans just in case.
Being a first-time mom comes with plenty of unknowns but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a completely stressful experience. Arming yourself with knowledge and preparing for what you can will get you ahead of the curve… and maybe reduce your potential stress levels when something doesn’t go as planned.