Becoming a new mom is a whirlwind of change. It’s compounded with exhaustion. Having a newborn means 180 degree changes to your daily life, and when you’re in the thick of it, it can feel overwhelming. Here are five things that every new mom needs to know – forward this to your favorite new mom – even if she already knows these things, we can all use a reminder sometimes!
1. For the first few months, anything goes.
This is survival. The first three months are just survival. It can be exhausting, overwhelming and there is a lot to learn. If your home is a mess and your bathrobe is now considered clothing, remember: if your baby is safe, fed and thriving, then you are doing a great job!
2. Trust your instincts.
While you may feel inexperienced as a new mom, your instincts about what your baby needs and wants are better than anyone else’s. Really. You’ll hear a lot of opinions about breastfeeding, bottle feeding, diapers, sleeping and routine and what is the “right” or “best” way…but when you know what is right for you, don’t be afraid to communicate to others that you are not looking for advice on a given topic – thank them caring, but shut off the noise. Motherhood is very biological (regardless of whether you carried or not!) and instinctive, so trust yourself!
3. Accept help when it’s offered.
If you are being offered help, considering accepting it. Besides holding your baby while you take a nap (highly recommended!), make a list of non-infant care things that someone else could do to help you – write them down as you think of them and keep a running list on your fridge. When a friend, neighbor or a parent visits and says “what can I do to help?” you can point them to your to-do list, and they can pick a way to help you. From folding a load of baby laundry, to running an errand, bringing you coffee in the morning or walking your dog, be sure to write these things down as you think of them or you probably won’t remember them when asked!
4. Be a team with your partner.
If you feel like you are doing it all, and your partner is doing very little, that’s probably because it’s true…especially if you are breastfeeding. If you’re doing it all, and hoping that your partner will instinctively know all the things that need to be done and when, you will probably be disappointed. The good news is that they usually want to help, but just don’t know how. When you’re at the helm of managing everything, then you are also the one who best knows all the things that need to be done. Start by carving out a few things they can do, find a good communication strategy, and build the teamwork day by day.
5. Outsource what you can
In some ways, this is an extension of number 3, but these are things that you can do to lighten your load. This can be especially helpful for those who don’t have helpful family nearby. Depending on your budget, you might consider outsourcing more tasks. Consider grocery delivery, buying more premade or ready-to-cook meals, hiring someone to clean your house or sending laundry out to fluff and fold. These may not be available options for everyone, but if any of these are options for you, I suggest you consider trialing which ones are most helpful.