There are certain things a mom has to suffer through after bringing home a new baby.
It’s almost like nature’s way of hazing women into the exclusive club of motherhood.
You feel like those first few months last forever and aren’t sure how you’ll survive it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your ninth.
I have nine kids, so I say that from experience.
It gets easier as you go, but those difficulties are still there.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid that complete emotional and physical overhaul.
You brought a new life into the world, and that takes major adjustments.
Your body has to heal, and the family has to adapt.
This little person is demanding all of you when you are already depleted.
The good news is that there are ways to make this transition easier.
Tips For Survival With a Newborn
As I said, I have nine kids and still dealt with the typical newborn drama.
However, things became much more routine after the fifth or sixth; the “newness” wasn’t so new. I suppose there are certain things you figure out along the way (others might learn faster than I did…).
Here are 5 ways to, hopefully, show Mother Nature who’s boss:
1. Expect It
It’s hard to explain exactly what “it” is, but if you’ve had a baby, you know what I’m talking about. It’s an accumulation of sleepless nights, crazy hormones, the constant needs of a newborn, stress, fear, and intense love.
Nothing is normal and you can’t even do simple things without it feeling like a monumental task.
Want to take a shower? Nope-you missed that two-minute window of opportunity. Want to eat a hot meal? Maybe in eighteen years.
Can’t wait to sleep through the night? I won’t stress you out by answering that one.
You’ll feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and, at times, might even wonder what you got yourself into. At first, you’ll question yourself over everything.
Accept that those first few months with a newborn will be difficult. You can brace for it. It’ll be less of a shock.
2. Plan Accordingly
Build up your food supply. Stock up on essentials. Freeze meals. Pay bills beforehand. Do typical maintenance stuff.
Basically, take care of everything you possibly can before baby comes. You don’t want to have to worry (or try to remember) in the midst of everything else.
The less you have to think about, the better. Things that shouldn’t be a big deal, like grocery shopping, can become tear-inducing chores.
For example, I was very pregnant with #9 and needed to get a new tire on our van. It was up to me because of my husband’s work schedule. Something came up the day I went to go do it, and it didn’t get done.
I went into labor that night and the whole thing ended up being a big hassle. It didn’t help that my husband needed an appendectomy right after I delivered, but that’s another story.
There’s a lesson in there for us all. Assume you won’t have a chance later to do those things, so don’t procrastinate!
3. Hold the Baby
I promise your life will be easier if you just resign yourself to holding your baby.
It will probably be nonstop. You might hear about how they need to “cry it out” or learn to sleep on their own, but we’re talking about a little baby that desperately needs to be comforted and to feel secure.
You are not setting you or your child up for failure. Your baby will not forever rely solely on you for those things.
I had various slings and baby carriers but got tired of constantly taking baby in and out, so I gave up and just used my arms. I’ve become quite good at doing things one-handed!
New babies are not very heavy and don’t squirm much, and they’re much more content when nestled next to you.
4. Accept Help
You might need to ask for it.
Pay for it, if you don’t have a good support system available. I know that isn’t an option for many people; it wouldn’t have been an option for me. I was fortunate to have family around that was more than willing to help.
You will need a break, time to breathe, to feel like yourself. That could mean going out for a 15-minute walk, getting coffee with a friend, or simply taking a really long, hot shower.
Whatever it is that refreshes you. Getting a mental and physical break can get you through those extra tough times.
If no one is around to help, either ask or pay someone you trust. Consider it a necessary investment.
5. Remember it is Normal and Temporary
Your house will look like a wreck. You will look and feel like you were hit by a truck.
Routines will be gone. You will be behind.
You will forget. You will cry. You will wonder why it’s so hard.
This is normal. Forgive yourself and know that you are not alone. You’ll be less stressed if you remember that this is just how life is for now and that you will find a new normal. The chaos doesn’t last forever!
You will soon be able to shower more than twice a week and sleep for more than two hours at a time. The house will be clean again. Everyone will find a new routine.
Enjoying the Newborn Stage
I might have focused on the negatives, but only to help new moms adjust. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the excitement of a new baby and don’t realize how hard it can be. That can lead to feelings of guilt, and make the adjustment more stressful.
Nothing in the world compares to holding your baby for the first time. That feeling never really goes away.
Enjoy those newborn snuggles. Relax and take in every moment.
One day you’ll look back and realize that the days that seemed to last forever actually passed too quickly.