6 Tips for New Moms: Things You Need to Know but Aren’t Always Told
Becoming a mother is so exciting! But it can be equally as frightening, especially if it’s your first little one. They will not-so-gently guide you through your on-the-job-training, which you’ll undergo without getting a full night of sleep. You may have tons of questions about what to expect after your little one is born. Here are a few practical tips every new mom needs to know.
Leaving the Hospital is Scary
Staring into your beautiful newborn’s eyes and admiring their delicate, soft skin is a special experience. But knowing you have to take this baby you just brought into the world home, and provide for their safety and care can be a bit overwhelming. It’s totally normal to be scared as you bring your baby home. Once you start settling into your new parenting routine, though, you’ll start to build confidence.
Tip 1: Allow yourself to feel your emotions. It’s also helpful to talk about how you feel with your partner, a health care professional, or an older person. That allows you to acknowledge how you feel. Those new baby snuggles will do wonders too!
Your Baby May Cry Sometimes for No Apparent Reason
Most of the time, when a baby cries, there’s a good reason. Maybe they are hungry, need a dry diaper, or have gas. It won’t take you long to begin telling the difference between their cries. But there are also going to be some times when your baby cries and it appears all their needs have been met. Even doctors agree that sometimes a baby cries for no reason. We do know that crying is the way an infant communicates. Their world has just changed drastically too and they are now surrounded by unfamiliar sounds and sights. They may just want to be comforted, swaddled, or maybe they are just experimenting with their new way to communicate.
Tip 2: It’s natural to be bothered by your baby’s cry. A mom’s DNA is wired and tuned to a baby’s cries. It’s okay to set the baby down and gather yourself. There are good chances that your baby’s mood will pass, and they’ll be settled back to normal soon. However, if you notice they have changed how often they cry, or you feel something is off, check for a fever or call your pediatrician.
Can You Hold Your Baby Too Much?
You have probably been warned about “spoiling” your baby by holding them too much. It’s really a myth that makes moms think it will hamper babies from developing dependency, and they won’t naturally learn to be independent. Numerous studies have dispelled this myth and most leading child development experts encourage the opposite.
Tip 3: Of course, you do not have to hold your baby constantly. It’s totally acceptable to lay or set them down in a safe place just to take a breather from time to time. Generally, don’t worry too much about spoiling your baby. Babies naturally have a lot of needs and want to stay close to mom. As they continue to develop, they will become more independent.
Breastfeeding Is Not Always Easy!
Just because breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Many new moms mistakenly expect breastfeeding to be second nature, which can lead young mothers to feel guilty if they cannot breastfeed, or choose other options. Everyone is different and there are so many variables in breastfeeding. There can be numerous roadblocks and stress. For some moms, their baby doesn’t latch right away. Some moms do not produce enough breastmilk, or it doesn’t come in when expected. For some moms, breastfeeding is very painful. Even if everything goes great, there’s still a huge learning curve.
Tip 4: Empower yourself with information so you can make the best choice for you and your baby. When you look at all the options and information, you can feel confident about your choice. It’s okay if you do not choose to breastfeed, and it’s okay if you do. Don’t let outside pressures get to you!
Postpartum Baby Blues are Real!
Postpartum blues can take on many different looks. For some moms, it can mean crying off and, on all day, long. Maybe you surprise yourself by snapping at your spouse or partner over something small. You may feel like you are not bonding with your baby like you had expected. Most new moms know there is a possibility of anxiety or depression after giving birth. But most are not aware of how common it really is. The baby blues may begin just a few days after your baby is born and usually lasts for just a couple of weeks.
Tip 5: Your hormonal and emotional balance can shift after you birth a baby. Make sure to schedule your 6-week postpartum checkup with your doctor. They can offer guidance and treatment options that may be helpful. If you need to, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor before your 6-week checkup. At home you can give yourself some grace and take steps for self-care.
Some Babies Do Not Sleep Well
It can be a bit frustrating when you hear your friend’s baby is already sleeping for longer stretches and you’re still hoping for just three consecutive hours of sleep. Babies natural start sleeping through the night as they continue to develop. But each baby is different. Newborns usually wake up every two to three hours to eat. As they grow and start to take in more milk, they usually sleep longer. But there can be other problems that affect how long your baby sleeps. For some it’s acid reflux or maybe an ear infection. But sometimes, there just isn’t an apparent reason, some babies just do not sleep well.
Tip 6: It can be helpful to reset your expectations and recognize that babies can have shorter sleep windows. Try to sleep whenever you can, even if you must put some household chores on hold. Napping when your baby naps can help you make up some of your sleep. If you are bottle feeding, ask for some help so you can get more sleep.
Being a mom is a lot of work, some of it you may have suspected, and some of it may be a complete surprise! It’s extremely important for new moms to learn the importance of self-care. Sometimes, the smallest breaks can have a huge impact on your emotional health. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a health care professional or counselor to help you work through the changes a beautiful baby makes in your world.