I’ve been a mom now for almost six years! In some ways, it seems like an eternity and I can’t remember my life without kids. Other times, I feel like my kids were just born yesterday! While I know I’ll never be an “expert” in motherhood (is there such a thing?!) I’ve also learned a few things in my parenting journey. I want to speak a little bit to the moms of littles, the ones with sweet newborn babies and who are adjusting to the role of being a new parent or who have toddlers at their feet! I want to offer just a few tips, with the disclaimer that even if you did NONE of these things, you’d likely still be doing great as a new mom. If anything, I hope it can offer you even a little bit of encouragement!
Ok, here we go!
I’m going to be pretty practical here. Newborn babies don’t need a lot of things. HOWEVER, two newborn items that I literally could not have done without are stretchy swaddles (they LITERALLY cannot escape!) and a good travel pillow to use for yourself when you’re nursing. Trust me, your neck will thank you. It makes middle of the night feedings so much more comfortable (and as a prior PT, I need to mention also that it’s quite ergonomic!) The haaka was also a game-changer in being able to get a little extra milk stored without pumping. WIN!
I learned this from one of my favorite books, “Loving the Little Years”. If something is feeling stressful, chances are that it will be over in 20 minutes! Having this mindset helped me get through a lot of tantrums, or transitions that felt extra stressful. Just the other day, we were getting ready home from running an errand. The baby was crying because she was hungry. My kids were yelling for a snack. Another kid was mad because he couldn’t find his school project. Instead of getting upset and crying (trust me, I felt like It!) I was able to take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other, and work through it. And 20 minutes later things were certainly much calmer.
*just a disclaimer – if you’re feeling down or experiencing mood changes and you are not noticing the typical ebbs and flows, please reach out! Always better to reach out and chat with someone <3
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, probably because it’s truly one of the most important things! Ask your partner. Ask your family. Get help for yourself if needed! And since I mentioned before that I’m also a PT, I need to mention that I also mean getting help with your own body if needed. I totally thought it was normal to pee when I jumped or sneezed, like it was just part of having a baby! (I was so wrong. Pelvic floor PT is incredible). There are so many great resources out there!
I am certainly NOT a sleep expert by any means, but I have had four kids with very different sleep patterns. Most of my kids were not great sleepers. We tried VERY hard to sleep train two of them, with little success. One thing I can confidently say is to not stress about what you are or are not doing. I really believe I could have done the same thing with all of them, and they would have turned out differently! What really helped us was good black out curtains, developing a light sleep routine, and using the ergo baby carrier as a backup when things didn’t go as planned 😉 It really saved my back and allowed me to get a few things done also. And for some encouragement, my kids all got on a *relatively* stable sleep schedule by 6 months. The first 6 months can be challenging, but I’d encourage you not to be TOO stressed, and to do what works best for your family!