I got it in my head that it might be helpful to share my top 3 pieces of advice for new moms. I have a few pregnant friends with whom I could share. Sure! That sounds great. Package up a few tips and hope to help you with my nuggets of wisdom on motherhood.
But then I realized:
#1 My advice may or may not even appeal to you and your future parenting self.
#2 What makes me such an expert? I only have two kids under 4 years.
#3 And THIS my friends IS my best piece of advice. Never take advice on parenting. Use your own inner voice, heart and intellect to judge for yourself. In other words … Do all the research, hear the opinions (notice I said “hear” not “listen” because believe me, you will hear plenty) and trust your heart.
So with all of that said, HERE are my Top 3 Tips for New Moms that you definitely should not “listen” to. Read and think about, perhaps. But do not mindlessly follow.
#1 Breastfeeding — It is such a gift to your child AND you. You might not even know its important to you or how important it will be to you until you’re right in the moment. It is NOT always easy to make it work. Our society puts up many road blocks to successful Breastfeeding, and your baby might be blocking some roads too. But you can do it if all the stars align, there aren’t any medical complications, you work hard, AND you get support. Lactation consultants rock and a Breastfeeding-friendly hospital can take you a long way. But, if it doesn’t work out as you planned, try really really hard to let go of the guilt. You are NOT a bad mom. and the guilt can drive you … Well, lets just jump to number 2.
#2 Educate yourself and your partner about the differences and signs of Baby Blues, postpartum depression (or anxiety, OCD, etc) and postpartum psychosis. Yes, it may seem depressing to think about depression at this happy time. But knowing the signs in advance, could really save you, your partner and your baby a lot of time and trouble. Most importantly educate your partner. He/she will be your eyes and ears on this after birth when you may be too sleep deprived to notice. Here’s a handy doc from the CDC. Postpartum Progress is another really terrific resource with a ton of information.
#3 They say “it takes a village” for a reason. Needing or asking for help does NOT make you a bad mom. And I’m sure your loved ones would jump at the chance to hold that precious little one for half an hour so you can shower. Trying to do it all will deplete you. Your figurative well is only so full. Take care of you too! The way I see it, Happy Mama = Happy Baby.
Ok, so let’s recap. Don’t “listen” to my or anyone else’s advice. Breastfeeding is hard work, but worth it. Teach yourself and your spouse the signs of PPD ahead of time. Don’t try to do it all.
Sounds easy enough.
SO, what 3 pieces of advice would YOU give new moms? (Remember, we’re giving a gift here. They do NOT have it accept it.)
You are SO not alone.