There’s a universal feeling that every mom gets when she is sent home with her first baby. It’s almost a sense of disbelief. Wait, you’re going to trust me to take care of this tiny human all on my own? It feels surreal, like they should give you an instruction manual of sorts.
While we can’t provide you with a step-by-step module for tending to your own unique baby, we can share with you a welcome packet. Think of it this way: Your collective group of friends who have been there sat down and put together a list of things you might not yet know about your new bundle of joy and things they wish they’d known going into it. There’s no initiation, no onboarding, just a simple guide for new moms.
Call it a newborn cheat sheet, if you will, with a few helpful reminders for those days when you can’t tell up from down.
- Babies are noisy. And we don’t just mean crying. Gurgling, grunting, wheezing, whining are just several of the strange noises your new babe will make when both awake and asleep.
- Resist the urge to Google every little thing. You will end up with more anxiety than it’s worth.
- They aren't as delicate as you would think, so don't be scared if/when you see the nurses moving them around.
- The pajamas with buttons are cute until it’s time to deal with a 2 am blowout.
- Maternity jeans are now just your regular jeans. Don’t stress about non-stretch denim and zippers; that stretchy panel is king.
- It’s okay if your plan goes out the window. We all say “I would never do ______.” before we actually have our own kids. Parenting = agility.
- Overtired babies look a lot like undertired babies. Newborns have a very short awake period and under and overtiredness have much the same symptoms, so it’s really just a guessing game.
- It’s all-consuming to be on alert for someone else 24 hours a day.
- The most important thing is that you feed your baby. Whether you breastfeed, pump, use formula or figure out a hybrid, your baby will be just fine.
- If you do decide to breastfeed, the first two to four weeks are the hardest, and a lactation consultant can be a sanity check.
- Night sweats are very real.
- Babies don’t need nearly as much stuff as you think they do.
- If you have a boy, keep an extra diaper handy during changes for…splash zones.
- Have your partner or family member take your photos. You might not want to look at yourself in them right now, but you will cherish them later on.
- Phantom crying is also very real. As soon as you get in the shower, you’ll be convinced the baby is having a meltdown.
- Apps are helpful for tracking naps, feedings, diaper changes in those early days.
- Leaving the house is a TRIUMPH! Even if you walked to the mailbox, celebrate it!
- Listen to your mama gut, but also trust the professionals and loved ones you’ve decided to trust. Your gut has a lot on its plate right now.
- The fourth trimester is all about survival. You don’t need to “bounce back” or hammer in any rigid routines. Do what you need to get you both through it, because all your baby really needs is you.
- You did it, you’re doing it, and you’ll continue to do it! You are already a the best mom for your babe.