When I got home after 5 days in the hospital I was overwhelmed by how grateful I was to God to have survived giving birth with just a C-section scar and a few bruises. I say survived because when you are in labor the waves of pain are excruciating! You know they won’t kill you, however, there is only so much you can take. Being in labor for 36 hours you begin to wonder, “Am I going to make it to the other side of this moment?!” Thank God I did! I now have a little newborn baby to take care of and there are no take backs. I’m a mother now!
Being in my Brooklyn apartment with my husband, Val, my mother, twin sister and Baby Sophia, I sat in my kitchen thinking, “Now what am I suppose to do? How do I keep this perfect human alive? Am I even ready for this?”
The first month of being a mom is surreal, magical and even terrifying at times. I know every experience is different but here are some things that helped me get through the first month that I think can help you.
HAVE EXTRA HELP
Besides your partner (if you have one), you need someone to physically take care of you. You just had a whole person come out of your body! It hurts to walk, sneeze, cough, or even laugh. The last thing you want to do is cook and clean. I was fortunate enough to have my mother stay with me for two months after Sophia was born. Let me tell you, she was a Godsend. There it’s nothing like my mom’s home cooking. It’s like medicine for the body and soul. Thanks, Mommy! “You the best!” (DJ Khaled voice)
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER
I know this goes without saying but communicating with your partner at this time is really important. If there is something bothering you or you feel like you need a break to tell them right away to avoid a massive meltdown. I am breastfeeding so the majority of my time was spent with a baby hanging off my boob, which felt overwhelming at times. Without expressing yourself truthfully and right away, you can develop a sense of resentment toward the one you love because, in all honesty, you’re doing most of the work. It’s just the way it is. There are ways your partner can support you though. Massage is great, taking the baby for a short walk on their own gives you some space or whatever else you can think of to help relieve your stress and help you get some sleep. Express exactly what you need and be totally clear about ways your partner can help you. After all, this is all new to them as well.
I know everyone says, “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” and I know it’s hard to sleep in the day. But taking a nap when the baby is asleep is imperative and you really need to try! You can also have your partner or whoever is helping you hold the baby for at least an hour or so every day so you can get some shuteye. You would be surprised how great you feel after just 2 hours of sleep!
PUT THE PHONE ON DND (do not disturb)
I never put my phone on silent until I had a baby. You will cherish every moment of sleep and to have it disrupted by a ding from a notification will piss you all the way off! There will be nothing more important then what’s going on with you and your baby. Not to mention you will be too tired to even think about anything else. Let those calls got to voicemail and those texts go unanswered. This is a month to unplug and figure this whole baby thing out.
KEEP VISITORS TO A MINIMUM
In this first month, I spent the majority of the day walking around in mesh panties and a maternity bra. There is no point wearing clothes because they would just get stained from the milk leaking from my boobs. The last thing I wanted to do was entertain friends and family that were eager to see Sophia. Not to mention your baby has zero immune system and could get severely sick if someone that visits has a simple cold. I didn’t have guests until Sophia had her first round of vaccinations, which happens when your baby is 2 months old. If you are going to have people over keep the visit brief. You need time to recover, get to know your baby and keep them free from outside germs.
GO FOR A WALK
After being in the house for a week I felt like a caged animal. It was great to go out for a walk and even better when I went alone. My feet were also incredibly swollen from retaining water from the C-section. Walking was good to get the fluids to move through my body. Those few minutes outside allowed me to clear my head, get some sun and enjoy some much needed ME time. Put the guilt aside and allow yourself a few minutes to feel like YOU again.
TALK TO OTHER MOMS
Being a new mom I had tons of questions. It was great to have a group of new moms from my Hypnobirthing class to share this experience with, as well as my concerns. Also, the mommy veterans I knew gave me incredible tips and tricks that they used when their babies. Having a group of supportive mothers will help you feel more confident in what you are doing.
HAVE A LIST OF PROGRAMS WATCH
Since you’ll spend most of your nights feeding your baby, you might as well catch up on the latest shows! It was nice to have something to pass the time while breastfeeding. My favorites were every show that was on the OWN network, Netflix comedy specials and YouTube videos on how to get your newborn to sleep!
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
Everything takes time, especially understanding the needs of your newborn. In the beginning, things are difficult but as each week passes your baby will grow and it will get easier. Remember, billions of moms have done this for millions of years, so while this may seem like rocket science, you will get through it and it will get easier. Also, take care of yourself and not just your baby. Your baby needs a mommy who is clean, fed and as well rested as is possible. Love yourself and your new baby.
(Advice from a new mom of a 3-month-old)