My first son was born early February of this year & while he is the ultimate blessing in my life, being a new mom came with some getting used to. He was the first baby I ever regularly encountered, having no siblings or prior experience with children, & this made the experiences all the more new. I am lucky enough to work from home & be a stay at home mom, which was important for me as I believe the initial bonding & of course breastfeeding is essential to develop a deep understanding relationship & healthy baby that continues their good health throughout their formative years. The challenges of fulfilling multiple roles in life initially I believed I was completely ready for. I realize now things are a little different than initially expected. Working 20+ hours part time from home teaching ESL to Chinese students (anyone interested in doing this shoot me an email), working to grow Wildcraft Apothecary with my small business partner, running a household in its entirety, & devoting as much attention & love as possible to my new little monkey, while finding the tiny crevices of time left over for myself is sometimes highly stressful. I am no expert by any means, but I wanted to share what experiences & tricks I have learned being a new mom.
Not everything is going to be done or perfect – Learn to accept this quickly! If you are a neat freak or a perfectionist like I am this can be one of the biggest challenges at times.Your mind will race with all the things to do when you are stuck in one place & more interventions keep postponing what you thought was going to be quick & already accomplished.Be strong, breathe deep, it is all ok, your stress is unnecessary; everything will come in its own time. Release your tension & take things one task at a time.Do not be overwhelmed. Meditate while breastfeeding, do yoga with your little one, if even for five or ten minutes bring yourself back to your hearts center of inner peace.
Sleep is of the utmost importance, take naps when you can – I had a long sleepless labor & an extremely fussy baby the first few days which left me with very little rest to recover. After so little sleep I found it difficult to sleep & to go along with tip one, I felt a need to do rather than nap. Two weeks later I was taken out by a terrible body cold & cough for over a week which also deprived me of sleep for the entirety of its affliction. Without sleep you cannot heal properly, you cannot overcome stress, you cannot think straight, & you will not be in a good mood. Nap when you can, rest with your baby, breastfeed lying down in bed if possible. I make it a point now to sleep in at least once a week if possible or nap as much as possible that day. Take it easy, you have plenty of interruptions in your daily sleep as well that isn’t benefiting you either. Sleep is essential & you deserve it for all your hard work!
Prepare as much as you can in the afternoon for a stress free morning – Every afternoon I try to take care of all loose ends as much as possible. Admittedly sometimes this doesn’t happen, but when you can it makes all the difference to have a fresh stress free start in the morning.
Drink water hourly & avoid stress eating – Not only for yourself, but for your little love it is extremely beneficial to keep hydrated & not be tempted to eat unhealthfully. I found myself stress eating, grabbing what was quick & easy when baby isn’t letting me set him down for a second or is being terribly fussy. It is hard to find time to cook, so buy lots of healthful quick snacks or prepare some when you have some time. Drinking tons of water not only keeps mommy hydrated & full of milk, but also helps detoxify. By doing your best to keep healthy & drink lots you will feel better & so will baby too!
Think from your baby’s perspective – Even if your little muffin has been crying for an hour & won’t seem to relax or won’t let you get a minute of anything accomplished remember how new the world is to them & how it might be feeling & experiencing so much for the first time. It must be quite frustrating to be helpless when growing in so many ways, especially unknowingly. Keep calm & think creatively, change things up sometimes. I found switching breasts makes a big difference to quell a mad little stinker while breastfeeding. Sometimes it might be back and forth more than once. To get that extra five minutes to finish what you started I have had success moving baby to a new location to see new things or sitting in a different position. Understand that you are their best & main form of entertainment of course they are going to want your constant attention. Give them all that you have got, don’t get caught up in inconsequential life things, you only have one shot to shower them with all the love in the universe.
Exercise – Find time, it kicks stresses ass! Only have 10 minutes? Go! Not a lot of strength? Just start by walking. Work your way up to more. Be prepared to be interrupted by baby, but it’s ok, take a rest, stretch & continue, don’t give up! Include baby, do yoga or massage with them during breaks, act silly & make them laugh when you move, & keep talking tell them everything you are doing!
Ask for help – If you are an independent woman it’s hard to ask for help sometimes, but don’t be afraid or too proud to. You deserve & need it! Have someone do for you or have them entertain baby so you can do for yourself.
Take an afternoon off – Get your little one used to a bottle so that you can pump milk & have an afternoon off at least once a month. You will feel like a whole new person & come back to them refreshed & all the more appreciative of every moment you have with them.
Cook meals that last – If you are the cook in your house & especially if you cook from scratch from like me make meals that last 3 days so you can have more time & simply reheat. Alternatively, think of meals you would enjoy that are quick & easy to prepare or perhaps prep some ingredients that will last in the fridge for future days in the week. Anything you can simplify or do en masse to save time means more time for you and your little joy.
Remember to enjoy every moment – Finally the biggest point that is easy to put in the back of your mind when you have been taking on the world. Slow down & enjoy the experience, you will never be able to get these precious moments back once they fade away into the past. Live each second to its fullest with eyes, mind, & hear t wide open to everything existence has to offer. Revel in the miracles in front of you, you are truly blessed.