Being a new mom is scary, exciting, overwhelming and amazing all at once.
There’s nothing to compare it to, and there’s no way to be 100% prepared for it. That said, there’s still a lot you can do and learn in order to feel more confident and be readier to handle this very special new role in your life.
If you’re a new mom or soon-to-be mom and are looking to get the best handle you can on mamahood, here are 6 tips to help get you there.
Tip #1: Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth
Your Baby may be drowsy and exhausted (just like you) and his stomach still hasn’t expanded, but it’s important that you breastfeed as soon as possible. (1) There are a couple of reasons for this: one is that the sooner you breastfeed, the sooner your uterus begins to shrink back to normal size. Secondly, your breasts will start the process of producing milk (as opposed to colostrum) sooner and faster.
Finally, the sooner you breastfeed your baby, the sooner you can correct any issues. While you are still in the hospital you will have the advantage of the nurse and other experts and help sources nearby, so it only makes sense.
Tip #2: Make sure to get the right latch as soon as you start breastfeeding
Contrary to what many new moms expect, breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally – to mom or to the baby. It’s important that your baby gets the right latch the first time she breastfeeds (2) so that she gets into the right habit, and so that breastfeeding isn’t painful.
There are many resources and videos available to learn how to help your baby get the right latch. If you still feeling like you are having trouble, you can always reach out to a lactation consultant for personalized advice.
Tip #3: Watch what goes onto your baby’s skin.
This one might fly under the radar a bit. Most new moms are well aware of the importance of nutrition in their diet, as it will directly affect their baby’s nutrition throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. What many new moms may now realize, however, is that because baby’s skin barrier is so sensitive and thin (3), it will absorb a surprisingly high amount (up to 50%) of whatever is put on it directly into the bloodstream.
This means you need to take into serious consideration whatever Ingredients are in the topical, personal care products you are using on your baby. You should be especially careful with lotions and creams and other “leave on” products since these are more likely to be absorbed in higher quantities. Rather than shy away from using personal care products altogether (that’s not very realistic, after all), look for products that have the most wholesome ingredients possible.
A trendsetting personal care brand to consider is Babyology – 100% of the ingredients in their products are edible. “Edible” makes sense as a baseline to determine ingredients in a product since it will go into your baby’s bloodstream the same as the ingredients in the Food that your baby eats directly. Whatever product you choose, go with one that has ingredients that are natural, safe and easy to digest.
Tip #4: Introduce your baby to as many foods and flavors as possible
Around age 6 months, most babies are ready to try solid food. You’ll know when your baby is ready because she will be able to hold her head upright, and will start eyeing and reaching towards your food while you eat.
Many new moms make the mistake of feeding their babies a bland, limited range of food during the first year because they’re afraid of giving their baby something too strong. The reality is, babies enjoy a wide range of spices and flavors – the first year of a baby’s life he’s much more open to trying new foods, so it’s best to take advantage of this window of time so that he will develop a love for a bigger variety of foods later on down the road.
Tip #5: Teach your baby how to put herself to sleep
This one may be a bit surprising. Don’t babies need to be held and rocked to go to sleep? It is true that babies fall asleep while being held because it makes them feel safe. The key is to help your baby feel safe even while you’re not holding him so that he’ll fall asleep after you put him down.
Make sure that you put your baby in his bed when he’s still half-awake. If he’s asleep, he’ll startle awake and be frightened and start crying. Even the first few times you put him down, half-awake (be sure to gently jostle him awake if he’s sleeping) he will cry and want you to hold him. That’s okay. Keep putting him back into his crib while he’s still awake and eventually, he will come to understand that his crib is a safe place for him to fall asleep, and he’ll be able to fall back asleep even if he briefly wakes up, rather than cry to be held.
Tip #6: Don’t Be Afraid to Enlist Others for Help
Being a new mom is a job in and if itself. Don’t feel guilty about asking family members to help out so that you can focus on taking care of the baby. Think of it this way: anyone can cook, clean, do dishes and do laundry. Only you can feed your baby and give him the attention he needs, especially in the first few weeks of his life.
Having others help with tasks around the house also gives you more energy, something every new mom could use more of. In a few years or even months you’ll be able to do the same things you did before: think of this as a special vacation and time invested in your baby so that you both get off to the right start.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the responsibilities of being a new mom, as well as all the information. A final parting tip is this: live one day at a time and face each challenge as it comes. You’ll become a pro mama in no time!
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