A few years back, my husband and I attended over 15 weddings throughout the year. It was crazy. We had 2 little ones and were needing a babysitter almost every other weekend. We had so much fun celebrating our friends’ marriages, and it truly was a constant reminder of what love and marriage was all about. The weddings definitely helped keep our marriage flourishing while only just beginning our journey of parenthood.
It is now to no surprise, that in 2017, I have 4 of my closest friends becoming Moms for the very first time. And another best friend welcoming a second child to her family. Not to mention the other dozen or so friends on Facebook that are welcoming babies this year. I feel an incredible responsibility to help these ladies down their path. I cannot tell you the amount of tears, laughter, and google searches I experienced trying to figure it all out by myself, being that none of my friends had started having kids quite yet. And I didn’t really know anyone that decided to try out 3 kids age 3 and under. Let me tell you, I am proud to now consider myself a multi-tasking, find-an-extra-arm, find-calm-in-the-chaos, Mommy Ninja! My oldest son is now 5 and we will see how confident I am feeling after baby #4 arrives in just 8 short weeks or so.
New Mom’s To Be: I do not have it all figured out, and there isn’t advice that I can magically give you that will prevent you from going through your own trials and tribulations. But I’m sure you’d appreciate a few tips and tools to keep in your Mommy toolbelt, am I right?
Here’s the deal- trust YOUR instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, or you question a doctor’s recommendation, or a dear friend’s advice (heck even my advice) then follow that gut feeling and do some more research. God gave you this baby, and you, Mommy will know this baby the very best. You will come to learn what’s “normal” for them.
Some quick tips for today:
- Postpartum body- nobody warned me about this. You will come home from the hospital and lose absolutely zero pounds. I was SHOCKED- why am I not 8 pounds lighter? I delivered a 8 pound son- why is my scale going bonkers? Yeah. It takes some time. If you are able to give nursing or pumping a go, do it! That will really help your uterus shrink down and speed up your metabolism. If that’s not an option for you, don’t beat yourself up. We all have different circumstances that help us make the best choice for baby. Give yourself some grace, keep a few of those favorite maternity clothes, embrace yoga pants and flowy shirts, and loose fitting clothing. When you look at that squishy belly, don’t sink in shame, bask in glory and look at that baby that you so miraculously nourished, and delivered into life.
- Postpartum hormones- Oh myyy Gawd. This is so much worse than PMS and anything you’ve ever experienced. You are not only under stress of figuring all this new baby stuff out, as well as some financial pressure of temporarily losing an income, and adding tension to your marriage. You will be figuring out each others roles as parents and coming to the realization that quick errands are a thing of the past (see #3). In addition to that, your body is going through a massive transition. Your placenta serves as a temporary endocrine organ that produces and regulates hormones to maintain a healthy pregnancy. After birth, your body takes some time to produce normal hormone levels. That is why you experience the rollercoaster. It is very important to pay attention to signs of postpartum depression and seek help! It is a very common issue that not many people talk about. I was able to support my hormones naturally by placenta encapsulation (no I did not eat my placenta! It was dehydrated and made into veggie capsules & stored in the freezer- and let me tell you Jake noticed the days I forgot to take them! And then he started setting them out for me.) I also use essential oils to balance hormones and moods. There are a lot of things you can try, but just make sure that you are confiding in someone, whether it be your spouse, friend, or doctor.
- The first day you leave the house with baby- You will make approximately 17 trips to the car. You will strap baby in to car seat and unbuckle them at least twice. Baby will be content and/or sleeping, so you will get them buckled and ready to go. Then you will get yourself ready to go. Then baby will decide they want to eat again, and you will “top them off”. Then you will strap them in again. You will carry a load out to the car. You will run back in for a blanket, or a burp rag. Or an extra onesie. Shoot did I throw wipes in the bag? Wait, where did I put the diaper bag? Ok, good it’s in the back seat. Alright we are set to go. Annnddd baby just exploded into their diaper. Unstrap baby, change diaper. Oh, and I guess we need a new outfit now, and a bath. A Stress Away roll-on would be good right about now, Mamas, because you are now definitely late if you were planning to meet someone for lunch or make it to the bank before they close.
- Breastfeeding- the first 6 weeks are honestly the hardest. You will have toe curling pain during baby’s latch. Your uterus will painfully contract as baby suckles (keep in mind this is good! You want that uterus to shrink back down!, and you will often get a gush of bleeding as baby suckles as well). I remember on day 4 as my milk fully came in, it was the middle of the night and I was so engorged that my son couldn’t even latch on. We were both bawling. My husband brought out the breast pump and from then out, I really gave up on nursing and strictly pumped because I thought I was always going to have to pump first to relieve engorgement in order to nurse, and I didn’t like the time wasted pumping & nursing in the middle of the night. I decided to pump a bottle instead. In the beginning, your body is trying to regulate milk production. If you simply pump until comfortable, and then nurse, nurse, nurse at baby’s demand. I promise you, you won’t be doing both for long. Breastfeeding could really become a whole separate blog post, so I’ll just leave you with those highlights. After 6 weeks, it gets so much better!
- Clothes, Toys & Baby Gear- You guys, do not be hoarders like me! It is so overwhelming to weed through later on. I advise you to stick to the minimum. You will receive so many gifts, hand me downs, and people may give you boxes of toys and books. I am INCREDIBLY grateful for those that have passed along things to my family. We were certainly not in the most secure financial place when we started our family. And I still have and use a lot of the items passed along to me. All I’m saying, is try to look at items coming into your home and determine if it truly has a near future use in your home. Try to decide that right away to either politely decline, or donate it right away. I have experienced so much stress and anxiety over the amount of clutter to sort through when it comes to kids stuff. It doesn’t help that I become emotionally attached to every outfit & toy that they once wore or played with. I’m working on that. Going to be diffusing Release and whip through my basement this afternoon. 🙂 Just keep it simple you guys, your baby does not need much. And they will enjoy open space to play with less toys instead of tip toeing through a jungle of toys, like my kids.
- Water cups. Mamas to be- do not share your water cups with your toddlers. You will embark on a path of never having your own glass of water again. It is highly disappointing. To avoid the floaters, and keep things fresh & ice cold- always walk your butt to the cupboard and get them their own sippy cup. You’re welcome 🙂
I have so many more words of wisdom, and I’m sure you will get more of my two cents. But remember, follow your gut, and enjoy this new journey. The feelings are so big. Motherhood is so challenging, but it is SO rewarding. I am so excited to meet all the new babies!