If you just had your first baby, welcome to the fold. You are a mom. These 6 tips for new moms will help you as you transition into the sometimes scary, sometimes frustrating and often time beautiful world of parenting.
Parenting caught me off guard. I had a plan. I was absolutely a super mom in my own head…until I had kids. I was quickly humbled.
This post was sponsored by SOL Organics – Sustained Organic Living. All opinions are my own.
I remember the first weeks – the sleepless nights. How do I get this baby to stop crying? Why won’t my baby eat? I started down a new journey called motherhood. Loving it and struggling with it at the same time is part of my story. You can learn more about how there were ways I felt like I lost myself when I became a new mom. Spoiler alert: It has a happy ending.
Now that I’m three kids deep and have a bit more experience under my belt, I feel like I can offer these 6 tips for new moms. I not only have my own experiences, but I have walked alongside many other women in the process. I found I wasn’t alone. I’m hoping these “works for me” tips might provide some help and insight as you travel the road of motherhood for the first time.
6 Tips for New Moms
1. Be Adaptable – I had the perfect plan going into motherhood. It was bulletproof. I was going to have a natural birth. Breastfeeding was the only option. If I did ABC in my parenting then my kids would do XYZ. Simple enough, right? God taught me right away that MY plans aren’t always going to come to fruition.
The reality was that I had to be induced. After 8 hours of incredibly natural (minus the induction medication of course) and incredibly painful contractions with only 3 centimeters dilation accomplished, I caved to an epidural, and I’m so glad I did.
Nursing my child was hard. My body just wasn’t producing. The child I loved wasn’t getting the milk it needed. I had to supplement (more on that in tip #2).
I did ABC, and my clever kids did KPR. What?! That wasn’t supposed to happen.
Adaptability is an important component of parenting. It’s part of what makes you great.
2. Breastfeeding Can Be Hard – You don’t always hear that going in. “It’s the most natural thing a woman can do,” they say. We know – we’ve been told by everyone – that breastfeeding is the way. It’s the healthiest thing for the baby. There is a lot of pressure on our shoulders to make it work. I can encourage you to work hard at it. I did.
All that said, don’t beat yourself up when it is hard – even when it doesn’t happen. I remember sitting in bed – in tears – raw and bleeding nipples exposed to the world (or at least my husband). I had been to all the lactation people – the nurses and the Le Leche League. I was doing everything they told me, and they said the baby was latched fine.
It still hurt. My child still wasn’t getting enough. Feeding was taking 2 hours. I would get a small break and then start it all over again.
There were things that could draw out the success rate of nursing for me. Guinness beer – don’t judge – was what worked the best for filling up my breasts. The strategy of switching from breast to breast fairly quickly worked decently as well. I made it to 6 months before I started supplementing. Suddenly my baby stopped crying as much. I wish I had supplemented earlier. She was hungry. I was miserable in the process.
My story isn’t unique. I have talked to so many mothers – so many – who struggle with breastfeeding. You are not less of a woman if you flounder through it too. Your child is not going to suddenly be knocked off the honor roll if you supplement. Don’t let the process ruin those precious first weeks and months with your baby.
3. Double Stack the Sheets – You can read more about this idea here. Know that it saved us many times.
I also want to take a moment to share with you an organic cotton company I can really get behind. They have some amazing GOTS Certified 100% organic cotton sheet options for your crib (or other bedrooms of your house). The company is called SOL Organics, which stands for Sustained Organic Living.
Not only are their products incredibly soft (the crib sheet even passed my husband’s touch test, which is not easy to do), but the are ethically made – meeting fair trade practices. The company puts great care in treating the land, the people and the products with the attention and respect they deserve. One fun fact is that organic cotton farming conserves 236.9 billion liters of drinking water, enough to sustain 1 billion people a year.
They have many products, but their crib sheets are reasonably priced at $25. Their goal is make organic affordable for all people.
What is also amazing is that this company is giving back. For every adult sized sheet or duvet you purchase, $7.50 goes to one of the partner charities you choose. With your purchase, money goes to ending child poverty, providing water, eradicating slavery or saving animals.
Can you see why I am privileged to promote SOL Organics? I hope you’ll take the time to check out this company and consider shopping with them for you future bedding needs. If you purchase through this link, you will receive $5 your next order.
4. Keep Your Husband Engaged – Many moms feel like they need to do it on their own. Often times our pride gets in the way, and we feel like we can do it better. We can be controlling and want everything done our way. The baby would just stop crying if I was taking care of it.
Stop. We need to stop. Let him figure it out. Lovingly help him if you think you have something that might work. Let him learn to be a dad while you are learning to be a mom. The socks might not always match. The diaper bag might not be packed perfectly. Food choices might vary from your own, but keep him involved. If you push him out of the process now, you will regret it later because he will disengage when his own discouragement sets in.
You also want to keep him engaged with you. I know there is this new life depending on you. The focus can change too dramatically where we no longer are available to our husband and best friend like we should be. Continue to nurture that precious relationship. It’s the best thing you can do for that new life you’ve been blessed with.
5. Find Your Village – Becoming a mom can be a lonely place. Sometimes women shift from being in the work force to being at home for the first time. Finding a community will make this journey into motherhood more fulfilling.
A village helps you relate to other women who are in the same phase of life. This group of friends helps you realize you are not alone and can provide answers when you feel stuck. They are also the ones who will watch your baby, make you a meal or send you a note of encouragement.
Family might be your village. What a blessing. I’ve loved my family’s involvement. I found more of my peeps at church. I can’t imagine life without them. You can get involved in MOPS, mom & me exercise classes, gym time or library time. The park is a great place to meet new people. It takes some courage to reach out, but there are many who are also searching for a circle of friends and will be so happy you had the bravery to ask.
6. Relax Your Expectations – I know you want to be able to do it all. I hate to be the one to break it to you. You can’t. You can spend years of your life chasing the perfect wife and mom mirage, or you can embrace the new normal.
Especially in the early weeks and months, the dishes won’t get done. The laundry won’t get folded straight out of the dryer. Food will sometimes be the take-out your husband picked up on the way home from work. Your house will not look put together. Get used to it. When those little ones start having toys and crafts supplies and friends, it just builds.
Your sanity and your presence with this little one are your priority now. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Do what you can to have less and keep that less organized in a way that makes sense. Stop apologizing that you can’t do it all. You are this crazy thing called mortal. Welcome to the human race!
Dear New Moms…
You are beautiful. I’m so glad you are here. Your child is precious. Enjoy this time…but don’t pressure yourself to enjoy all of it because you have to keep in mind that you are human. I’m so excited for your ride – where you learn to love deeper and experience grace more fully. Welcome.
I hope you have enjoyed my 6 tips for new moms. Please visit my parenting tab to discover more.
Great tips here – I was exactly the same about supplementing – waited so long and then wondered why on earth I had waited!!
Right?! We put so much pressure on ourselves. Thanks so much for commenting!
I really struggled with my first and didn’t have much support. These tips would have been so helpful then, and I know these will help many new moms!
Thanks so much. It’s such a challenging transition for so many. Those feelings aren’t always discussed, so I’m so glad we can add to the conversation.
Great tips. I so agree with connecting with your village. You don’t have to feel alone and overwhelmed.
Totally. It can feel so isolating. Thanks so much for commenting!
YES! Find your village – I love that. It’s so important – especially for new moms who may not have family nearby.
It’s so important, isn’t it? I don’t know what I would do without mine. Thanks so much for commenting.
Oh my gosh – the part about kids doing KPR!! It is so true!! Passing this post along to some new mom friends. Thanks for the great message!
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it, Susie.
Definitely wish I’d known how hard breastfeeding might be for some people, so you didn’t feel so alone. I tried everything & went to lactation specialists for 4 mos several times a week. We attempted everything but had to supplement early on due to dr orders b/c of weight loss from the breastfeeding not being successful & I really struggled with that emotionally.
I would have loved to know that going in as well. It would have eased some of the burden I was putting on myself. We put so much pressure on ourselves to do it right and well that it becomes an internal battle we don’t need at an already fragile time. Thanks for commenting, Jen. 🙂