It seems to be baby season in my life, and I have many friends who are either brand new mums, or ready-to-pop pregnant mamas. As a mother of two young boys, I remember the season of having a newborn so very well. I’ll be honest, there’s really nothing too graceful about having a new baby in your house and in your life. I do have a few tips to share with my new mum pals, however, and I think they’ll resonate with you, too.
- Lower your expectations. Do not expect your house to be clean, your laundry to be put away, or your kitchen to be well used in the first few weeks of having your baby home. There’s a reason people take maternity leave, and that reason is to begin adjusting to life with a new child in your life. Do nothing besides care for the people in your home. Laundry can wait, and delivery pizza just one more day will not hurt anyone. You don’t even have to have washed hair when your in-laws come to admire your new little bundle. They will not expect you to have it all together, so you should follow suit.
- Accept help. People will call and want to stop by for a visit. They will ask if you need anything while they’re out. Tell them to bring a gallon of milk. If your neighbour offers to mow your lawn for the first few weeks, politely accept. When your guests visit and ask if they can help out, give them a small pile of laundry to fold or thank you notes to address. You will one day help another new mum in need, so for now, just accept the help.
- Focus on you and baby. These first few weeks are a chance for you to be absolutely selfish and totally selfless at the exact same time. Of course, baby comes first. Feeding, changing, clothing, burping, soothing…and repeating. Take time to help your body heal, too. Take long baths while baby naps. Finish the final season of Breaking Bad you wanted to catch up on. Do good things for your body so you can care for others once you recover. Childbirth is a marathon!
- Smile and nod. People will offer you advice and words of wisdom, whether you ask for it or not. It is so hard to not take comments personally when you’re emotionally and physically tapped out. I remember almost crying when a women pointed out my baby’s cradle cap while out shopping. She meant absolutely nothing rude by it, but my emotional state thought otherwise. Try to remember to be kind to yourself, and let comments pass in one ear and out the other.
When the minutes turn into weeks, and your newborn is suddenly six months old, you will wonder how you made it through that blur of newborn-itis. I hope these four teeny guidelines will help you take those first few weeks in your stride by focusing on what really matters: baby and you!