Both you and your baby are busy trying to navigate a brand new experience, and life as a new mom presents all sorts of amazing, priceless moments – but let’s be honest, being a new mom can also be terrifying. Perhaps everything would be easier if babies came with an instruction manual! But just because you haven’t gone through this before doesn’t mean you can’t handle the new job like a pro.
The following are a few key parenting tips for new moms, including all the usual firsts, both big and small, that new moms can expect within the first 12 months. Motherhood is one of the most rewarding experiences of life and with these powerful tips both you and your little one can have fun exploring life.
Be Prepared To Go It Alone
At some point your partner will go back to work and your mother-in-law will offer you a hug and blessing, and then leave – then what? Being alone can be a little intimidating especially when you’re constantly second-guessing every minor decision. The best place to start is to create a schedule to account for eating, napping, playing, walking around the block, etc.
This makes it easier to establish a routine, therefore simplifying each day’s work. Are you having trouble differentiating day and night, start by taking a shower and dressing even if you’re staying in all day. Spend your first weeks relishing the cuddle time (especially after meals), and buy toys and reading materials. Just ten minutes is plenty of play time for a young baby.
Catch some Z’s
Keep in mind your two main goals at this stage should be to take care of baby and sneak in as much sleep as you can. The good news is babies sleep more than 14 hours a day. The bad news is; they only sleep a few hours at a time. Your only option here is to follow an old system of napping when baby naps – and this means lying down immediately after you put her down to sleep. Don’t take this time to clean the house or arrange the toys: you need to rest, and the clock starts ticking when baby sleeps.
You can take comfort in knowing that interrupted sleep cycles are worse in the first few months, but within four months your baby should be able to sleep for five-hour stretches at a time. By setting up a consistent sleep routine, you can help enhance your baby’s sleep and reset her internal clock with eye contact and conversation in the mornings, and dim lights and hushed tones at night.
Get a Sitter for Spa Day
At some point even the most captivated mom needs a break. Get someone to babysit while you go to the gym or soak in the sun for a while. Taking two hours a week to relax can have a profound impact on your stress levels, and the best part is that brief reunion when you return. You can head out right after breastfeeding in order to maximize your time out; but when leaving for longer trips, prepare a few backup bottles.
Breastfeeding Is an Art
Breastfeeding sounds simple enough for new moms (boob + baby = done) but in reality it can be more complicated. It helps to have a lactation consultant (you can get one through your hospital) or a friend who’s gone through this before to help guide you especially with latching. Babies that have a good latch are known to swallow more regularly and they don’t leave your nipples sore.
Feeding schedules are particularly daunting – even for bottle-fed babies, because the average newborn needs to feed every two to three hours. While pumping serves its own purpose, natural breastfeeding actually burns an extra 500 calories a day and helps contract the uterus; plus it allows you bonding time with your little one.
Key Tips For Pumping
Once you manage to breastfeed successfully, the next part is to start pumping: this is essential for daycare and “me” time. To do this right you need the right equipment including either a single hand-operated breast pump (ideal if you don’t pump regularly) or a double electric pump if you plan to go back to work.
Use lanolin to soothe sore nipples and get yourself a hands-free nursing bra so you can multitask. Pump once at around the same time every day, and work the suction gently to imitate baby’s nursing strength. You can get more milk out of the process by starting pumping after baby’s first morning feeding, and if your baby isn’t around, you can get things flowing by smelling a burp cloth with her scent on it. Each session should last between 10 and 20 minutes. Instead of focusing on how much milk is coming out, think about your baby (use a photo if must) until the flow stops.
Getting Back to Work
After spending ever day with baby, it can be emotionally challenging to go back to work. To make a smoother transition, start rehearsing your strategy for getting the family dressed, fed, and out the door on time. A lot of new moms cry a lot the first time they have to drop off baby at daycare, but this is entirely normal and should be expected. But once you get back on the clock, you can work out ways to maximize your time with proper planning.
If you find you have the blues from missing baby, flip through her pictures and try to focus on the positive, understanding that it’s all part of motherhood.
Commemorate Your Newborn
Having a newborn is a celebration that you get to experience on a daily basis and for the rest of your life. There’s no better way to celebrate this than with your own personalized mother’s name ring for one child. This gorgeous, customizable ring features your baby’s name and the date of birth.
To learn more about this ring, visit this page.
Have New Mom Tips to Share?
New moms have a lot to explore and discover, and with a little help and the right attitude you and baby can have lots of fun: just learn to plan ahead. Would you like to share some of your experiences? Feel free ask questions and we’ll do our best to guide you through it.