Let’s face it. Becoming a mother (especially your first baby) is a serious kick off the rhythm of daily life. The first few months are particularly hard because you’re well and truly in the deep end of sleep deprivation, body changes, postpartum recovery and breastfeeding struggles (hopefully not)! Your hormones are raging like the Wicked Witch of the West when she melts in the Wizard of Oz. It’s a lot, girl. You are catering to the demands of a tiny, ravenous, confused human and have little to no energy left to dedicate to yourself. Luckily, there are some very basic and easy things you can do to help get yourself through these hazy times. I wanted to look back at my first months and share some of the things I’m glad I did as a new mama. Hopefully this will be helpful if you’re in that boat (I feel you)!
+ Stocked Up On Cushions
At the time, we had a beautiful rustic bed frame. Oh, it was so lovely. So pretty on the eyes but let me tell you, I would have gladly thrown it on the street in two seconds if it meant finding one comfortable position to sit up straight in while I nursed through the night. I was either in pain because of the frame digging into my spine or because I chose not to support myself with it at all. Of course, that then caused me muscle pain in my back. It’s hard enough trying to get your baby’s latch right in semi-darkness, make sure leaking boobs stay relatively contained, drinking gallons of water and so forth. I was using the Boppy pillow, which I found to be useless when used all on it’s own when my newborn was so tiny. With just the Boppy pillow, Zoe was still too low to align with my boob (she was more aligned with my lower rib cage). I ended up biting the bullet and stocking up on lots of firm cushions and pillows to make a breastfeeding fortress.
+ Found A Free Mommy Group on MeetUp App
I was the first of my immediate circle of best friends to have a baby. Neither hubby or I have family here, everyone’s in Europe and South America. That was one of the hardest parts for me, for sure. I felt really lonely and overwhelmed in the first month or two. When I went to our pediatrician, she asked me how I was doing emotionally and when I told her, she suggested I download the MeetUp app and start linking with mommy groups and activities in my area. I started with Mommy Yoga in the park – a free yoga class where you bring baby along and just hang out with other new moms. It was amazing. It lifted my spirits, helped me start exercising again and got me out of the house.
+ Got Coffee & A Manicure
Speaking of getting out the house, I made a point of going out and getting coffee (or anything else: hot chocolate, tea etc.) with hubby, friends and even alone. Something magical happens when you leave the house soon after having a baby. You realize that not much has changed. You notice lots of other mothers with their little ones, newborns, toddlers etc. and think “ok, cool, they’re doing this too, it’s all right”. I think it helps to dissipate that feeling of isolation, loneliness and struggle that sometimes pops up. Getting a manicure is a also a simple and quick activity which makes you feel closer to yourself again. Just having my nails done and getting pretty was so uplifting for me!
+ Got Help With Breastfeeding
As you might have read from other posts on my blog, breastfeeding was no walk in the park for me. It took me about 8 weeks to get the hang of it and to generally calm down about it all. Our pediatrician is also a certified lactation advisor and it was so helpful to be able to see her through the first weeks. We worked hard on pushing through the obstacles and she gave me lots of motivation through the tears.
+ Coordinated Shifts With Hubby
I know that mommy/daddy shifts are a really common plan in the early parenthood stages. It is actually really important to discuss it rather than “just go with the flow” because if you coordinate who does what and when, it saves a lot of headache later. Each half knows what’s expected of them and anything extra is a welcome bonus. Ours was that I would take the all-night feedings and Rod would take Zoe first thing in the morning so I could sleep as late as I wanted. The idea that one parent is fully recharged rather than both being semi-charged, really made sense to us. Overall, it worked well!
+ Let My Friends Come And Hold My Baby
In the inital stages, we needed to get our bearings as an expanded family so we didn’t take many visitors. Once that phase passed, it was a welcome relief to have my friends over to hang out, catch up and hold Zoe. It gives you a chance to relax and is good for baby to be with other people. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with friends that have great and calm energy. I always noticed Zoe could pick up on different people fast!
+ Hire A House Keeper
Yes, it’s indulgent and a luxury. It’s also absolutely possible to save up for if cleanliness and organization of physical existence is important to you. I had zero time to dedicate to house chores. I practically forgot where the vacuum was and how to wipe down the kitchen counters. We set a budget aside to pay for a keeper when we felt like we weren’t able to maintain everything. We have a dog too, so it’s important to routinely vacuum and dust! I was always so excited for days where our house keeper would come by. Just figure out where to spend less and search for a couple of options and prices. You’ll find the perfect fit!
And that’s about all I can remember in the way of things I’m glad I did as a new mama! The first months are a change so embrace it and go with the flow within your structure. There are a lot of variables, questions and worries. It’s all normal. We’re here to support so if you have any other tips, tricks or questions, feel free to leave them below!