Newborns are adorable but taking care of one is undeniably one of the hardest stages of motherhood. You go into it with little to no experience, your newborn is unable to communicate and your baby is as new to being a baby as you are to being a mother. Much of being a new mom is surviving and learning to take care of your baby and anticipate their needs using only their cries, non-verbal cues and trial, and error. Rest easy, this too shall pass and keeping these 8 thoughts in mind will help you to survive and thrive in the newborn stage.
1. Abandon any preconceived thoughts you had about motherhood – You may have made a list (mental or physical) of all of the things that you said you would or wouldn’t do as a new mom. That list may have included things like never co-sleeping or only breastfeeding. Whatever they are, think of them as goals as opposed to things that you must accomplish and know that if your baby ends up sleeping on top of you every night because that’s the only way that they’ll sleep or if you have to supplement with formula because you don’t produce enough milk, you are not a failure. Rather, you are a resilient mom who adapted so that she could survive a very difficult stage.
2. Let yourself cry – In addition to the first few months of taking care of a newborn being incredibly hard, you are also probably incredibly hormonal. You may find yourself crying and be confused about it. Crying is completely normal and okay. Let yourself cry but if you feel as if something is wrong and that it might be more than a case of the mommy blues, don’t be afraid to seek help. If it is a case of the mommy blues (which many moms experience), you’ll find that as time passes, you’ll adjust more to your new life, feel more certain in your role as a mother and the tears will lessen.
3. Focus on progress and not perfection – There is no job where you will ever be expected to be perfect from day one and motherhood is no exception. Just like with any other job, learn as you go, understand that mistakes are to be learned from and realize that as each day goes by, you’ll get better and better. You will probably never be perfect at it because there is no such thing as perfect, but you will become very good at it and a pro when it comes to taking care of your little one.
4. Pat yourself on the back – Moms are notorious for beating themselves up and for focusing on their flaws rather than their successes. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back when you do a good job. No matter how small the step forward, its still a step forward and should be acknowledged.
5. Make life easy – Everyone is different and the things that stress us out are different. Making life easy for yourself can be doing things like using paper plates so that there are no dishes to wash or keeping the baby right next to your bed so that they’re easy to feed at night. Figure out what causes you anxiety and stress outside of being a new mom and try to streamline it as much as possible or eliminate it where possible.
6. Be Patient – Rome wasn’t conquered in a day and you will probably not conquer motherhood in 3 months. You have the rest of your life to be a mother and you will experience many changes and much growth along the way. Be patient in your new role and give you and your baby time and space to adapt, including room for setbacks and regressions.
7. Educate yourself – We are so lucky to have so many resources available to us about motherhood and babies. Use them! Before you give birth, educate yourself about what to expect and while you’re going through it, use these resources to help you problem solve. The more you know what you’re getting into, the less likely you are to panic and the more confident you’ll feel about it.