1. All those fears and tears are completely normal
Motherhood is a scary business! Those first few days home from the hospital can be terrifying. This is the time to trust your gut – that little voice is your ‘mother’s instinct’. It will get you though the fear and doubt; you just have to trust it.
2. Breastfeeding is NOT ‘plug and chug’
Breastfeeding can be hard. Extremely hard. It takes time, and may take a fair amount of discomfort and practice before both of you get the hang of it.
3. Breastfeeding may not be for you
That’s OK! You, or your baby, may have a medical condition preventing you from being able to nurse. You may just hate it. Don’t let this ruin you! You are not a failure.
4. Listen to your baby’s cues
Within the first week, you will notice your baby’s different behaviours and tones of crying. Pay close attention to those different cues and cries to decipher what it is your baby is trying to tell you.
5. It takes a village
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! If someone wants to bring you dinner, let them. If someone offers to come over while you take a nap and have a shower, let them. Graciously accept all the help you can get, because chances are, the person offering the help has been in your shoes before, and knows that a little help goes a long way for a new mother.
6. Don’t forget to take time for your partner
It’s so easy to let your new bundle of joy consume every second of your day, causing you to lose sight of your life and relationship before baby. This is a recipe for disaster. The key for a couple is not to build a new life around the baby, but to blend the baby into your existing life together.
7. Don’t forget to take time for yourself
It’s absolutely crucial that you take time for yourself DAILY. Every day you need to take a shower, put on clean clothes and eat at least two wholesome meals. Then aim to leave the house for no less than 10 minutes at least every other day. Even a walk around the block does wonders. Get away to refresh yourself, or you will crash and burn.
Motherhood is a journey filled with ups and downs. In the wee hours, when you have survived for days on little or no sleep and you are sure you cannot survive one more minute, you can. You will. Just keep repeating, ‘This too shall pass’, until it does… Be aware of every moment and enjoy the ride, because it really does go by quickly.