Life as a new mom can make you feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster.
No matter how prepared you are, you might struggle to balance your life with a newborn while wondering how to cope with the changes your body is going through.
Searching for advice on being a new mom can be daunting. In the age of information overload, it’s hard to decide which advice to take and which one to ignore.
That’s why in this article, I’m going to share some great tips and practical parenting advice to make your life easier.
But first, we’re going to explore some essential advice for new moms focusing on their physical and mental wellbeing.
Let’s get right into it.
Important Advice For The First Few Weeks
The first few weeks after giving birth can feel overwhelming since your brain and body go through many changes.
Let’s see what you can do to make this phase of your motherhood less stressful and more enjoyable.
Prioritize Healthy Eating
Proper nutrition is a must for a new mom who’s recovering from childbirth. Don’t worry too much about losing the baby weight right away.
You’ve got plenty of time to go for strict diet plans. Now is the time to focus on getting enough nutrients, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Make sure to incorporate enough protein such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy into your diet. You should also eat fresh fruits and dark green leafy vegetables to get enough fiber, folate, and carotenoids.
Try to drink plenty of fluids, add whole food to your diet, and stay away from processed foods as much as you can.
Sleep When the Baby Sleeps
While it may sound cliché, it’s one of the most popular mom advice(for good reasons).
A CDC(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study shows that 1 in 8 women tend to experience postpartum depression, and sleep deprivation can worsen.
Since you need to feed your newborn around the clock, you might struggle to get a good night’s sleep. The only time you get to rest is once you put the baby to sleep. Don’t use that time to binge-watch your favorite TV show or clean the house.
Get under the covers with your newborn instead, and get some rest. If you’re someone who can’t nap during the day, do what makes you feel relaxed. Talk to a close friend, take a shower, comb your hair, make a hot meal and enjoy that in peace.
Practice Skin to Skin Contact
Skin to skin contact, also known as ‘kangaroo care,’ is highly recommended by the World Health Organization, Unicef, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and the Neonatal Resuscitation Program.
Skin to skin basically means placing the newborn on its mother’s bare chest covered with a light blanket. Start skin-to-skin as soon as your baby’s ready for their first feed and continue for 3 to 6 months.
Whether maintaining a baby’s body temperature or creating a strong bond between mother and child, numerous studies have shown that skin-to-skin has many benefits for both babies and their moms.
Pick What Works Best for You
Deciding between breastfeeding vs. formula feeding can be tricky. Breast milk contains many nutrients and numerous immunological components to provide the energy and nutrition your baby needs until they’re 6-month-old.
But, breastfeeding is a personal choice, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do it if you can’t do it for some reason. While formula feeding can be costly, it doesn’t negatively impact your child’s development.
Set Realistic Expectations
Setting realistic expectations and preparing for changes can help you cope with a newborn a lot easier. Don’t expect your non-maternity clothes to fit your postpartum body right after the baby is born. During your pregnancy and childbirth, your body has been through a lot of changes.
To recover, it may take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks( a little more if you’ve had an episiotomy or perineal tear). During this time, try to be patient with yourself. Get as much rest as you can, and don’t force yourself to pretend everything is okay if you don’t feel like it.
Being a mom is one of the most rewarding and most strenuous jobs in the world. It’s okay for you not to feel ecstatic about it all the time. Be comfortable with how you genuinely feel.
Find Your Tribe, Mama
Join a local mom group and talk to other new moms who are going through the same phase as you are.
Knowing that you are not alone and so many other parents are facing the same challenges might help. It’s a bonus that you make new mom friends, and your kids can have lots of playmates when they grow up.
There are so many online groups for new moms if you don’t find any support groups around you. You can ask any parenting questions, participate in discussions and learn a lot from moms worldwide.
Prepare Yourself for Massive Life Changes
Surviving the early days of motherhood can be challenging for a new parent, especially if it’s your first baby.
New moms and dads might expect their babies to fit right into their days without changing anything.
But, in reality, you have to work around your baby’s sleeping and feeding schedule to get things done now. Also, while your baby might give your life more meaning, you can’t really bring them everywhere. Accept that your world has changed with the arrival of your baby, and go with the flow.
Practical Advice For New Moms
Here is some practical advice for you to help you get through the first few months of motherhood.
Accept help when available
No matter how strong you are, caring for a newborn is a lot of work. If the visitors offer to help you with the chores, offer to cook for you, or bring a meal, it’s because they genuinely care about you.
Let them pitch in. Ask for help and tell them what you need without hesitation.
Keep Snacks Handy
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, your body burns many calories while producing milk for the baby. So, it’s completely normal if you’re hungry all the time.
But, taking care of a newborn while running on only a few hours of sleep may make it incredibly hard to cook and eat 3 healthy meals a day.
That’s why you need to stock up on healthy snacks and keep them around. While you might be craving cupcakes, doughnuts, or french fries, your best bet is to have high protein and high-fiber snacks.
Hard-boiled eggs, rotisserie chicken, Peanut butter celery sticks, fruits like a banana or an apple are all excellent choices.
Set up Little Stations Everywhere
Your cute little bundle of joy will go through a lot of diapers every day, especially in their first few months. You don’t really want to run to the nursery every single time they need a diaper change.
So, set up a diaper changing station where you spend most of your time.
Then you can set up a portable changing station to take everywhere or create one little changing station in every room. You don’t really need a lot of stuff to do that.
Keeping the diapering essentials around in a storage container can make your life a lot easier( and less messy).
Wear Your Baby
You can’t stay in the hibernation phase forever. At some point, you’ll run out of the stocked food in the freezer, and the messy house might feel like too much to take in.
Wearing your baby in a sling or wrap will free up your hands and allow you to get things done while keeping the baby close to you.
Limit Googling and Social Media Usage
Worried about your little one’s health and feel like resorting to google all the time asking lots of questions?
Give yourself a break, mama. You’ll put yourself under undue pressure if you keep googling everything your baby does.
Limit the number of searches per day to save your sanity!
It’s easy to feel anxious and inadequate while scrolling through other moms’ social media posts.
Make sure to remind yourself that you’re doing the best for your baby, just like all the other moms out there.
Set app limit on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter if necessary.
Knowing your baby is more important than social media is a quality of being a good mom!
Avoid New Mom Comparison Traps
Don’t worry too much about reaching development milestones.
Comparing your baby with your friend’s is never a good idea.
Every child is unique and takes time to develop.
Your baby will start to laugh, crawl and take their first steps too.
Don’t worry if they do it at a different pace than others.
Step Outside with Your Baby
Did you know that you can actually take a few basic safety precautions and get outside with your newborn?
Just make sure to dress your baby for the weather and limit their exposure to the sun to avoid sun damage to their skin.
If you don’t feel like taking your newborn out in public yet, spend a few minutes strolling around the block and enjoy nature together.
Getting outdoor can increase your serotonin levels to make you feel more relaxed and calm. Fresh air can boost your little one’s immune system as well.
Carve out Time for Your Partner
Babies can keep you preoccupied all the time without letting you realize that you’re literally spending zero time with your partner.
If all you do is talk about baby stuff all the time, it’s time you consciously pick a weekly date night.
You don’t have to leave the house if you’re worried about leaving the baby. Put your baby to bed and order in, watch an episode of your favorite series together and enjoy your partner’s company. Go back to your pre-baby days for a little while.
However, you decide to spend your date night, make it a part of your routine, and don’t skip it.
Trust your instincts
As a new mom, it’s normal for you to resort to your mom, the internet, or the parenting books whenever you feel overwhelmed taking care of the baby.
But the over-abundance of advice on the internet can cause information overload and make you question your every move as a mother.
You might also receive tons of unsolicited advice and opinions from your friends and family. Suddenly everyone seems to have an opinion on how to raise your baby. As well-intentioned as the advice may be, you can’t really listen to all of them.
So, what is the best advice for a new mom? Have an open mind and let people give their two cents.
Then you can talk to your pediatrician and decide which ones to ignore. Just trust your guts and do what you think is best for your little one.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Postpartum hormonal shifts, sleep deprivation, and the stress of taking care of a newborn, especially in the first few weeks, can cause mom Burnout.
You may experience mental health issues like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Spotting the signs and getting support when needed can help you find yourself again. Be kind to yourself and notice how you truly feel. If you’re experiencing postpartum depression, which lasts longer than 2 weeks, reach out to your nurse or doctor.
Make Time for Yourself
This is probably the best advice for new moms.
You might be wondering how on earth you can manage time to take care of yourself when you barely get time for a shower. But a little time for yourself, even if it’s for just 10 minutes, will allow you to gain perspective and recharge your batteries.
Self-care is not a luxury even though it feels like it at the moment. So, making time for yourself is non-negotiable.
Ask your partner to watch the baby and do whatever makes you feel good. Trust me when I say taking care of yourself will allow you to be a better mom to your little one.
Live in the Present
Be mindful and enjoy your motherhood because trust me when I say that your baby will grow up before you know it.
So, take as many pictures as you can, stop worrying about your messy house, and snuggle with them a little longer. See them smile in their sleep, sniff their hair and keep yourself grounded.
It’s hard for new parents to believe that things will get better when they’re up in the middle of the night trying to soothe a crying baby.
The good news is your baby will start to sleep through the night, and you’ll start to feel like yourself again even though it might not seem like it at the moment.
Meanwhile, remember to be kind to yourself and take it one day at a time. You’ve got this, mama!