My first true post, how exciting! These things may seem a little “common sense” but when that baby comes, you lose all sense of you. It’s all about that baby but when that baby grows up, you’re their role model. You are the person they want to be when they grow up or you will be what they look for in a spouse. So in loving every bit of yourself, you’re still giving it all to them.
** Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or lactation consultant in any way, shape, or form. I am just a first time mom sharing my experiences to help other moms. Please seek all medical advice from your doctor.**
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
There’s going to be a lot of unwanted advice, both from loved ones and strangers. You might freak out and think that you aren’t prepared (you are). Formula vs breast milk, how long should you stay home after baby’s born, co-sleeping or not, the list goes on and on about should and should not’s. Most of the answers will just come to you- usually by baby making those decisions for you. The important part is that you do what is right for you and your family, not what others think of your parenting style. Babies don’t really need a lot. It’s amazing having all of the things (you think) you need before the baby comes, but it’s not necessary. Don’t break your bank trying to get all of the latest gadgets. My favorite baby shower gifts were the gift cards. Most of the gadgets that were purchased for Harlow – she wanted nothing to do with. As she grew older, and I got more experience being her mom, I figured out what she liked and what she didn’t. Of course, if you’re spoiled with all of the gadgets, give them a go! All babies are different and maybe yours will enjoy it! Either way, have it or don’t have it, don’t sweat it. All your baby cares about is love from you, eating, and pooping. That’s something that the Rockabye Baby 6.1 (That’s a made up ridiculous item) can’t do. It’s all about you, Momma!
2. You’re not a bad mom!
Momming is hard work. We become criticized, judged, and put down the moment we find out that we are going to be mothers. Mom shamers are a real thing, a really sad thing. Women (and men) get a kick out of putting other women down. It’s an unbelievable and unfortunate reality. Somebody will always have something to say. It’s important to remember that there isn’t any “one size fits all” guide to parenting. Just because you are feeding you baby formula instead of breast milk doesn’t make you a bad mom. Whether by the choice of you or nature, that’s what is working for you and your baby. That little lovebug is being fed and that, my friend, is the most important thing!
If you are breastfeeding, don’t let yourself get bullied into breastfeeding in public. I give big props to the moms that do it with such ease. I, on the other-hand, just couldn’t. I felt so uncomfortable at just the thought of it. It doesn’t bother me if another woman is publicly breastfeeding but I just couldn’t. I had the great joy of having one of those babies that NEVER took to a bottle. I wasted SO much money on just about every bottle on the market and tried ALL of the tricks with no luck. She was all about the boob! So, when it came to making public appearances, I either didn’t go out or I fed her in the privacy of my car or another room when she was hungry. I actually didn’t mind feeding in the car. I could still people watch, without feeling like people were watching me. Harlow and I sat in the A/C listening to music and browsing social media. A part of me always felt bad that I couldn’t get over it and just publicly feed but it just wasn’t right for us.
Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing great! Always do what works best for you and your family. Those people that can’t get behind you and be supportive… those are the one’s that are wrong.
3. Take a break/Ask for help if you need it.
There is nothing wrong with some “Me Time”. My mom told me a story about when I was a baby… I just wouldn’t stop crying. She ended up in tears with me and had to lock herself in the bathroom to regather herself. I was horrified at first when she shared this with me. How could my mom just shut down and leave me crying? And then, 25 years later, it happened to me. Harlow was so fussy and I couldn’t figure out why. I went through the list of possibilities with no such luck. I found myself laying her in her crib and sitting on my bathroom floor in tears. I got myself together after getting the emotions out and cuddled in bed with my daughter. It didn’t take too long before she was calm and dozed off for a nap. I may or may not have napped as well 🙂 [[It works in marriage too!]] The point is, it’s OKAY. You’re still normal. If you need a break because you are overwhelmed, take it. Just make sure you put your baby in a safe spot.
If you need help, for any reason, ask for it and don’t be afraid to. I am still awful about asking for help but I am so grateful when I do. Even if it’s asking someone to watch the baby so I can run to Starbucks or the grocery store. It takes all of about 5 minutes before I’m feigning for some baby love but those short trips are great.
Also, remember that postpartum depression is a very real thing. If you find yourself feeling sad more than happy, having a hard time loving your baby, are too overwhelmed, and feel like giving up – talk to your doctor. There is no shame in getting help when you need it. It is so worth it to get on top of the issue and work towards a solution rather than just letting it get worse.
4. Don’t obsess over the germs.
We all hear the horror stories. It’s a terrifying world out there. I definitely thought I was going to be one of those germophobic moms, carrying around the hand sanitizer spraying anyone anything that came within 5 feet of my little angel. I started to think about when I was a kid… I didn’t grow up in a bubble. My family didn’t have much money and I ate things off the ground and entertained myself in the dirt like most kids. I am still here and to this day, I rarely get sick. After the first 4 weeks of my daughter’s life, I lightened up. I decided I wanted my daughter to have a strong immune system and the way to strengthen that is to let her be exposed to germs. Your baby’s first cold is heart wrenching. There’s nothing you can really do except keep them as comfortable as possible. The common cold is inevitable. It’s a sign that they’re immune system is working though. Their body is fighting that ickiness! If you EVER have any doubts or worries, don’t hesitate to give your pediatrician a call! I don’t go crazy with filthiness, so don’t get me wrong. There are definitely times and places where cleanliness comes to the forefront, but on the day to day- I’m not going to freak out if she drops a puff on the floor and then puts it into her mouth. I understand 100% why some mom’s are clean freaks and if that’s your jam – you do you! If you can pick one stress to not over stress about – germs would be my pick.
5. Enjoy the naps and love yourself!
I heard over and over again to “sleep when baby sleeps“. That wasn’t realistic and I will not recommend it to any of my fellow mommas and friends. The chores can also wait until tomorrow. I say to use some of that time to love yourself. Do your makeup, paint your nails, take a shower, workout, EAT, any combination of those things, or whatever your thing is. Do whatever that thing is that makes you happy and confident. I still like to do my makeup if I’m not going anywhere, that is what makes me FEEL pretty and happy. Yes, you are a mom but you are still YOU! The person you were before this little miracle came into your life. Don’t lose that.
Don’t forget to love the physical you, too. You may have been one of those women who snapped back to their pre-pregnancy weight before your child had their first appointment with the pediatrician or, like me, you could still be struggling to lose those last 10 lbs when your daughter is almost 14 months old. That body of yours did an AMAZING thing and it did a phenomenal job at doing it. I have had a hard time with my body and I still do. Although I don’t necessarily like the way that it looks, I love it. I love myself. If it weren’t for the ability to create life, the light of my life would not exist. So, I enjoy my little bit of “stuff” that’s left over. I will get my body back but I will also enjoy the sweet stuff and not be so harsh on myself just yet.