My baby is a month old today! I can’t believe it! What’s funny is that for all the sleepless nights and stress, it really has flown by. Now that I have the first month of motherhood securely under my belt, I can look back and determine what I should have done differently, what I should have done sooner, and what I should have done period.
For all you first time mommies out there, here are the tips I have to pass on after one month of mothering my little one.
Assign Chores Ahead of Time
One thing that my hubby and I did before baby was born was agree on who would do what once our little one showed up and took over our lives completely. For example, I do the laundry; he cleans the bathroom; he cooks dinner and does the dishes; I sweep and mop the floors.
It really helps to keep balance in our home, maintain our sanity, and has kept us from fighting over who should be doing what.
You’re not going to want to cook but you’re going to want to eat! In our home, we stocked up on non-perishables (snack things, mainly) and I spent an entire afternoon on Sunday preparing freezer meals! And let me tell you, they have been a lifesaver!
I don’t just mean stock up on food, though. Make sure you stock your cleaning closet, as well. Get extra toilet paper and paper towels. Make sure you have enough dish soap.
Take a moment to look around your house right now. What do you use everyday? I mean, what is absolutely necessary for your day-to-day life? Make sure you have one extra of each of those things. Because if you run out and you have a newborn in your home, a quick trip to the store is a lot more work than it used to be.
Ask for Help/ Supplies in the Hospital
I left the hospital STOCKED! I got everything from baby shampoo to a Medela hand pump. We got diapers, wipes, a rubber ducky, breast shields… If you think they might have something there that you’ll need, ask! The worst they can say is “no,” right?
In the same vein, ask everyone you see for help. Pay attention to how they do things (swaddling the baby, for example). Keep in mind that each nurse will probably have their own way of doing everything, which means if you ask more than one, you’ll have more than one option to choose from.
Don’t think that you have to follow everyone’s advice to the letter, though. You’re just asking for advice. In the end, you have to figure out what works best for you and your baby!
Don’t Rush Breastfeeding
If you are planning to breastfeed, make sure that you take your time with it. It’s not as easy as some women make it seem! You and your baby both have to learn what to do. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your little one.
Take your time with it. It’s supposed to be a bonding experience. Let it be that. If you have pain, if baby is struggling to transfer well, or if any other problems arise, talk to someone about it! Just because you hit a bump in the beginning doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful in the long run.
Note: Check out my blogs about our breastfeeding journey by clicking the links below. And be on the lookout for an update coming soon! It’s a good update, I promise!
Keep a Food log
This is another one for your breastfeeding mamas out there. Make sure you keep a record of what you eat and when you eat it. Remember, what you eat is what Baby is going to eat! That means if you have something spicy, Baby might get a tummy ache. If you have something acidic, Baby might get gassy.
If you have alcohol… Well, you know where I’m going with this.
Make sure you pay attention to what you’re putting into your and your little one’s bodies!
Get creative with your sleeping situation
Our baby girl has yet to spend a whole night in her bassinet (actually, we have a pack-n-play set up next to the bed we’ll be using as a bassinet). Instead, she sleeps out in the family room with me. We have a little napper that I scoot right up next to the couch (where I sleep).
This was definitely not the sleeping situation we had planned out. I actually swore I wouldn’t use the napper to sleep (only to nap). But, things change when Baby is actually here. This set up allows me to get up, move around, grab a snack, fill my water bottle, or do whatever else I need to for nighttime feeds without having to worry about waking up my husband.
Do things that make you feel like a person
Take a shower. Maybe not everyday because let’s be honest, that’s just unrealistic. But, take a shower whenever you can. Put on jeans. Brush your hair. Put on make-up!
Do whatever you have to do to make yourself feel like a person. It might sound silly, but it helps!
Do something for yourself everyday
This is different than doing something to feel like a person. This is something that is just for you. Not for Baby. Not for Hubby. Just for Mama.
For me, it’s blogging. Yes, my blog is about my baby. But, it’s just for me. It’s where I can clear my head and connect with other people who are old enough to hold their heads up on their own. Honestly, if it weren’t for blogging, I would go completely crazy!
Get outside whenever you can
Fresh air is an amazing thing. Even if it’s just for five minutes a day, go outside! Take Baby with you. He or she will love the fresh air, too! Just strap on the carrier or tie on the baby wrap and step outside. Walk around your yard or go to the grocery store.
Do whatever you have to to remind yourself that there is life beyond your home. It’ll do you good!
Learn to handle your stress/frustration level
This might seem like an obvious one, but you’ll be amazed how much a newborn can push you to your frustration limit. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely over the moon in love with my little girl. But, I have caught myself becoming angry with her.
I hate that feeling. She’s not trying to upset me. She’s just doing what she knows–crying. Crying for food; crying to be changed; crying for my love. I hate that I get mad at her for that.
When I feel that wave of anger begin to well up inside of me, I put her down (or hand her to daddy) and walk away for a little bit. Even if she’s still crying, I find that just separating myself from the situation helps so much. It’s usually less than a minute and just enough time to remind myself that she needs me, and I love that she needs me, and I want her to need me.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Ask everyone and anyone who is willing to be there for help! Okay, not anyone… just people you trust. But, you get the idea.
I’m a very controlling person and I like things done a certain way. Before my baby came along, I wouldn’t let anyone else clean my house (I barely let my husband do it, to be honest). Well, that’s changed now! If my mother-in-law wants to sweep my floors- yes please! My mom wants to wipe down my kitchen- go for it! My friend wants to bring me lunch- I’m here waiting!
It’s not a sign of weakness. They aren’t insulting you or your home by offering to help. You have a new life to take care of! They are just trying to help you take care of you so you can take care of your baby.
Sleep when the baby sleeps? That doesn’t work for me!
Sleep is so important. I never realized it before I had a baby. I have had meltdowns over nothing which can be 100% blamed on my lack of sleep.
At first, when I was adjusting to Baby Girl being at home and sleeping maybe 2 hours a day, everyone offered that same traditional piece of advice: “Sleep when baby sleeps.”
Well, maybe that will work for you. And if it does, DO IT! For me, though, I just can’t sleep in the middle of the day. No matter how little sleep I’m running on. So, we’ve come up with a different solution in my home.
I sleep from 5pm-12am waking up to eat dinner and feed Baby. But, the rest of the time, my husband is on Baby Watch. It was hard at first to get my body to adjust to this schedule, but now that it has, it’s been great! I usually get 4-5 hours of sleep before hubby goes to bed. And then, throughout the night (12am-6:30am) I get another 2-3 since Baby Girl is going through a little bit of a difficult phase right now.
My point is: find a sleep routine that works for you. Not Baby–You. Newborns are way too little for a sleep schedule, so be prepared for their sleep routine to be sporadic at best. Find a way to be able to get yourself into a sleep habit that is flexible enough to work around their crazy hours.
As a side note: I do hate that our schedule means that I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my husband. That’s why we make sure to sit down and have dinner together every night, just to check in and talk and make sure we’re still connecting. This is also SUPER important for you and for baby!