If this is your first time being a mom, there really is nothing that can prepare you for the flood of emotions, exhaustion, and worry that you will inevitably face but this advice will hopefully make things a bit easier. Below is what I learned and my best advice for first-time mothers.
- I should have read books about baby sleep and how to take care of a baby more than ones about pregnancy and labour. The former are things you need to know as soon as baby gets here and the latter is over before you know it. Below are some essential reading:
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 4th Edition: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night’s Sleep
- The Happiest Baby on the Block; Fully Revised and Updated Second Edition: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer
- Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!
- Attachment parenting, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping are not for everyone. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t or don’t want to do it. Although having baby sleep in the same room on a different sleep surface for at least the first 3 months is not only a good way to prevent SIDS, it is also much easier if you are breastfeeding. Here are some bassinet options before moving your baby to his crib:
- Make a bunch of food and freeze it by your 8th month or you will regret it later. Some ideas are lasagna, shepherd’s pie, and hearty soups. I regret not doing this. It is so easy to overestimate the amount of time and energy you will have to make food for yourself and if you are breastfeeding, remember that a lack of nutritious food will affect your supply negatively.
- Go to the chiropractor by your third trimester if you are planning on a vaginal birth. The Webster Technique will help the baby come out easier and ease some pain in pregnancy and labour. I was so glad I did this because I had intense back labour and believe this is the reason I was able to not have an epidural.
- Yoga for pregnant moms helps a lot if you are having back pains. Look up your local yoga studio to inquire about classes.
- Newborns should be fed at least every 2-3 hours after they are born if you are breastfeeding exclusively. If the baby is not latching, tell the nurse as soon as possible because this may lead to jaundice. And jaundice is awful because it means extra time in the hospital and less time bonding with your newborn.
- If you plan on breastfeeding, take blessed thistle and fenugreek supplements after the baby is born to increase your milk supply if needed. A boost may be necessary especially if you have PCOS.
- Breastfeeding is extremely tiring and can be painful if the baby is not latching properly. You may want to give a bottle at night for a break but will regret it when baby starts rejecting you in favour of the bottle. If this happens to you, get help from a lactation consultant as soon as possible and ask your doctor for a prescription for Dr. Newman’s All Purpose Nipple Ointment so you have it when you need it for cracked and sore nipples.
- Your life will change dramatically, especially if you are used to working and then suddenly you are at home all the time. You may wonder if you are the same person or who you are now other than a mother. It may take some time to figure this out and feel like yourself again but it will happen.
- Find mommy clubs in your area to find new mom friends and your baby will also be able to socialize with other babies. One way is to check out programs at the Ontario Early Years’ Centre in your area.
- You will be sleep deprived, find it hard to put your baby down even to go to the bathroom and difficult to remember to eat or take a shower sometimes. Take it one day at a time. Remember to take care of yourself as this is also important for your baby. Just remember – this too will pass.
- The sound of your baby crying will be the worst sound in the world and make you stressed or anxious. Your baby is crying to communicate with you in the only way they know how. Watch this video on the meaning of different baby cries and remind yourself that as you get to know your baby better, he will be much happier and cry less.
- Having a schedule is very important for the baby. Once I had the schedule down pact, I felt so much less stressed and started to find time for myself. I did find this hard to do at first since I wasn’t used to having a strict schedule 7 days a week but now it is much easier for everyone. A schedule ensures that baby is getting enough sleep and is eating enough during the day.
- There is no one that you will love more than your baby. Savour those cuddles and giggles because they grow up so fast.
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