Your little bundle of joy arrived! I hope you had a short and smooth labor. Now the dream is a reality. There is this tiny little creature whose entire universe revolves around you. Motherhood is here! Whether this is your first baby or you are an expert, lots of emotions are probably revolving around you. You are excited, and happy, and tired, and you love someone like you’ve never loved before, and you are scared, and you are worried you’ll make a wrong decision, and you are happy again, and worried again, and even more tired than you imagined, and it keeps going on and on… yup, motherhood is here!
The first weeks with your little one are wonderful. It feels like every second is a new milestone and if you are like me, you are probably taking a picture like every other minute! These are the moments to treasure and you want to keep all those memories in a form that is easy to remember, aka pictures. So, if you want to share a thousand pictures a day, then go for it! There are no rules to it, is really up to you if you want to share them or save them for you. And because you are probably super duper tired because, oh well, there’s a baby at home, don’t be surprised if you are delayed a day or two when you want to share those precious moments. More likely, every time you mean to post pictures your baby will need you, or you have to take that time to do something for yourself instead like grabbing a bite, or taking a shower, or applying makeup on your other eye because it’s been two hours since you started with your other one!
In case you don’t know this yet, you will be tired for many months to follow. Tired. Super tired. Like all the time! Please don’t forget to pay attention to yourself first. We can only care for others when we care for ourselves first. Remember that announcement on the airplane about putting your own oxygen mask first before helping others? It will be hard to put yourself first and your little one after, but you have to do this to be able to take care of him or her. Now, when I say take care of yourself first, I mean eat, sleep, rest as much as you can. Sometime later, and with a good support system at home, you will be able to go get your nails done, or grab a bite with a friend, or do some other activity you enjoy for yourself. The first months are mainly about your real needs and the baby’s needs. I promise you will not die if you don’t get a mani every week for now.
So I was saying, there is a new life who needs you. One of the most important things to always keep in mind is that all babies are different. Yours might eat every 2 hours and your friend’s every 4; that’s normal. Yours might sleep 2-3 hours at a time and your friend’s sleeps 3-4 hours; that’s normal. Yours might have colic and your friends don’t; that’s normal. Yours might be scared of the vacuum noise and your friend’s isn’t; that’s normal. Don’t feel the need to force your baby to act like your friend’s (I know I keep saying friend’s but it could also be your sister’s or cousin’s or whoever’s) baby. Certain things will be unique to your baby and that is normal. Work with that. There is no point to try to force a baby to be like someone else. Babies get it. They don’t believe in peer pressure. They will be and will do whatever it is that they need to and that is fine! And while you are trying to learn the things that work for your little one, you will more likely receive advise from family and friends telling you what to do or not to do to “fix” your baby… gosh! this is so beyond wrong and don’t worry, I will get to it!
Some of the advise you will receive will be helpful. Some. Most of it will likely not apply to you and your baby and is more than okay to let that slide. For instance, most babies sleep better when swaddled yet not all babies like it. So don’t try to force it in your little one if he or she doesn’t want it. People might feel the urge to remind you that is best for them, that they sleep better, that you will rest more. They might be right if your baby is into swaddling, but if your baby isn’t then try something else. Trust me, is okay to ignore the advise that doesn’t do you or your baby any good. It might have worked for others, but it doesn’t work for you so no need to force it. I know I am paying a lot of attention to the unsolicited advise but new moms project this unseen “give me your advise even though I am not really asking for it” aura which is why you will receive tons of it. Some might help, some might not, you get it, right?
Most people are lucky to have a support system at home at least during the first weeks of a new baby at home. This is great! Accept the help you are offered as much as you can, like on a selfish way. Yup, you heard me right! You will want to do everything or at least witness someone else doing it if you are a scared new mommy but like I said before you need time to rest. Stress is not good for you, the baby or anyone really. Enjoy every moment you can with the baby and when you get a chance take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, you will need it especially if you are breastfeeding. I know is hard but avoid caffeine if you can… I don’t have proof is bad but that’s what doctors recommend given a small amount of it goes to your breastmilk (I don’t have proof of this nor I believe but oh well) and will make your baby fuzzy. Also, you will hear from many people to watch what you eat because some foods make your breastmilk production low or make the baby gassy or colicky. This could be true but there are many mixed opinions about it so my personal experience was as long as it doesn’t give me or the baby I rash I ate it.
Life with a baby is all kinds of beautiful, and amazing, and tiring, and again AMAZING! There will be great moments, tiring moments, scary moments and unforgettable moments. All is part of the package. Enjoy it all as much as you can. If this is not your first baby and you are a pro (like people call us), do not forget to also make time for your other munchkins. I mean think about it, we all need some mommy time.