Congratulations on your new baby! And no, this is not a list of more to-dos. Just 5 gentle reminders for some new mum sanity and support:
You may not get it right the first time. And that’s okay.
Every thing from breastfeeding to bathing your baby to sleep training them… Don’t expect yourself to nail it right away. Allow yourself time to learn and to get the hang of it. Setting too-high expectations may only backfire! If you want some inspiration for breastfeeding, Racheal’s story of perseverance and determination has inspired many!
Parent the way you want to. You don’t have to meet anyone’s expectations.
As a first-time mother, the pressures of listening to all the well-wishers around you can be overwhelming. What your mother is telling you, your grandmother, your doctor, your friends… the list goes on. Ultimately, as long as you have done some reasonable preparation and research, just go with what feels right to you. Most of parenthood is really making it up as you go along! As long as baby is warm, clothed, and fed, especially in the early days, trust me, you’re doing a GREAT job.
Hold your baby as much as you want.
You won’t be spoiling your baby by holding him or her as long as you want. You can definitely spoil a toddler or a teenager.
Some days you may start doubting every single decision that led up to this moment.
One of the most damaging things is setting up expectations of having ‘maternal instincts’ kick in immediately. Every woman is different. Some fall in love immediately, while others grow into the role. Regardless, it all takes time, and motherhood is not a one-time deal! There will be so many opportunities to build an unshakeable bond over the years. It’s how you feel over the long run that counts.
Take care of yourself.
This thing you just did – it’s miraculous. You just had. a. baby! All the work your body put in to mold and shape and grow another human being, and then birth it. That’s amazing. So rest up whenever you can, get as much help as possible, drink more water and get more sleep. Set up a support system you can call on before the birth. The more help and support you have, the more you will be able to take care of yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of yourself on this journey.
New motherhood can be overwhelming, and it’s okay to take time for yourself or turn away visitors if it gets too much. The priority should be on you and your new family. Take care of you!