I recently met a wonderful woman who’s daughter is due in April. She’s having a girl. The brand new Grammy-to-be is SO EXCITED. She was worried that she wouldn’t have the best advice though because it had been a while since she’d been a new mother. I told her I’d write up a list of things she needs to know. The more I think about it the longer (and more strange) my list gets! So here is my list, please make any additions you can think of in the comments. Maybe there will be a new mommy in April who will be (almost) prepared!
Notes to a New Mom
- You need a good body pillow for AT LEAST the last trimester. The sleep deprivation starts here and I’m really sorry, but it doesn’t end for a while. When people make jokes about how ‘you better get some rest now’ please do not punch them in the face – no matter how much your hormones and your exhaustion tell you to – it would be mean. Do whatever you need to do to get as much sleep as you can. I had to move into the guest bedroom and buy 6 extra pillows. It made getting up every three hours to pee very interesting, but it helped!
- Your belly is YOUR belly. This is where protecting your child starts. If you don’t want someone to touch the belly tell them so and do not feel bad about it.
- When you meet with pediatricians trust your gut. Can you get to the office quickly, while totally freaking out and listening to a screaming baby? When you walk through the front door do you feel immediately comfortable? Those were my two main criteria. I haven’t regretted it.
- Freeze dinners or stock up on frozen meals. People will bring food – in the beginning. The help and the food seemed to all end at the same time for me and it was great to have my freezer packed with easy stuff from my MIL!
- You don’t need to take most of the things you think you need to the hospital. Take them anyway. I didn’t use most of the things that I packed, but the packing, and re-packing, and unpacking and then packing again all really helped while I was in couch jail in the last couple weeks! Non slip socks – at least two per day – are a MUST. Nightgowns are better than anything with pants, nursing nightgowns are amazing. There are a ton of lists. Google it and have fun 😉
- Make lists in your phone or in your partner’s phone of all the people to be called/texted with updates. You can also set up a phone tree. One touch or one click options are the best. You’ll be a little distracted once you reach the hospital.
- Take all the classes. Check with your hospital for the birth classes that they offer and then sign up for ALL of them. Your partner needs to go too. You’re in this together.
- Read all the books. Ok, not all of them, pick one on baby stuff (I love What to Expect – The first Year) and one on the type of parent you want to be (mine is Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids). Don’t overwhelm yourself, but you’ll feel better the more you know.
- Start taking a stool softener a couple days before you’re due. We’ll talk about this later… just trust me.
- Stash some cookies or brownies or something somewhere you can grab them quickly. Bring them to the hospital with you for the nurses. They deserve them, I promise.
- Don’t worry. You’ll be ok. You are a warrior princess, you just don’t know it yet 😉
- Ok – you have an amazing tiny person – YAY YOU! Now what???
- If you can room -in with your baby in the hospital I would say do it for one night so you can get used to each other BUT on the last night that you’ll be there let the baby stay in the nursery and be brought to you for feedings. It’s the last time you won’t be fully responsible for this tiny human – take it!
- If there is someone who will clean your house before you get home let them! My mom and MIL did this for us and it was the best gift ever.
- You’ll probably be inundated with family and friends but try and find some quiet time for your new family every day. Even if it’s the two of you staring at your miracle in the middle of the night. Make time to breathe.
- The first couple of weeks are glorious. You hear so many scary stories about how you’ll never sleep again… and honestly they’re mostly true. But the first little bit is just wonderful. Newborns can mostly sleep through ANYTHING, which is nice. They wake up to eat and to look around a little and then they’re right back out. It’s a phase that doesn’t last long, so revel in it. Plus, newborn have the softest skin ever and they just smell perfect.
- If your hospital has a new mom support group or a breast feeding support group or ANY mind of new mommy support – GO TO IT. It will force you up and out of the house and it will help to know that other women are as swamped with all of the crazyawesomeohmygoodnessnoonetoldmeitwouldbelikethis as you are.
- Here’s the thing people don’t like to talk about. All of this miracle of life stuff is messy. And, well, icky. You’re gonna need the super strength overnight pads. Take as much as you can from the hospital – they have the best stuff. Think on this – you’ll have bleeding and bladder issues. You’ll need protection. I am not ashamed to say that I got adult diapers. They were comfy on my bruised everything and they didn’t hurt my incision. Plus I didn’t have to worry about coughing/sneezing/laughing accidents.
- More ick. At some point after the baby comes you will have to poop again. It will feel like – well – there’s really no way to describe it. Depending on exactly what type of birth you have and how many stitches there are and where they are you’ll have a different experience that will probably range from hellish to HELLISH. This is why you start taking the stool softeners ahead of time, keep taking the ones they give you in the hospital and try to load up on ibuprofen right before you go. Then just breathe and try not to push. There is also no shame in screaming. I’m sorry.
- Unless you know you’re having a c-section get a sitz bath. Get some witch hazel. Practice. Feel free to thank me later.
- Practice getting into and out of your bed, couch, chairs, etc WITHOUT using your abdominal muscles. If you end up having a c-section you won’t be able to use them (staples) and if you have a vaginal birth you won’t want to use them. Lifting small weights to strengthen your arms while you’re still preggo is a great idea. I ended up sleeping in an overstuffed chair for the first week or so after my son was born. It was the easiest thing for me to get into and out of – our bed was up too high.
SO GLAD you have them!
- Easy Swaddle bags/blankets. Swaddle Me and Aden + Anais were awesome. Practice on a doll or a stuffed animal. Bring them to the hospital so you can use yours and get pointers from the nurses.
- Gripe water. It’s all natural and will settle a tummy in no time.
- The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. Watch it before you give birth if you can. I wish someone had told me!!!!!
- A white noise machine or CD. A growly white noise is best. There are also apps you can load onto your phone, but you don’t want to have to leave your phone next to the baby every time they’re asleep.
- A couple of pacifiers. They prevent SIDS and some kids (like mine) have a REALLY strong sucking reflex from birth. It was the only thing that would soothe him from birth through 3 months.
- Some type of soothing bath oil/gel/wash. Whatever works for you. You’ll need a little relaxation every once in a while. There will be days you won’t have time to shower and barely to breathe, but there will be times when someone comes over to see the baby or your partner is on baby duty and you just throw up your hands and say I’m taking a bath!
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