My daughter is just about to turn nine months old, which means she will be out as long as she was in. As we hit this milestone I finally feel like I’m coming out of the proverbial new mom fog. If you’re in the midst of the fog you might know what I’m talking about. If your past it, I’m almost certain you know what I’m talking about. Whether we’re in it or past it, we all eventually come out of the fog.
As a mom, it is always an adjustment to embrace your new found identity. You had this baby that spent nine months growing inside of you, but now it is learning to live outside of you. You spent months adjusting your growing belly and now you must recalibrate and learn to provide for this little person all the time.
Not only are you learning caregiving skills, but you also have this new identity called motherhood to embrace. You’ve gone from being your own person, and now your some little person’s whole world. If you already have older children, you’re learning how to share yourself with all the little people vying for your attention. No matter how many children you have, it’s always an adjustment to accept the new you.
When you have a baby, they’re always worried about you having postpartum depression. No one talks about this fog you’re living in. With so many things changing in your body, your life, identity, etc. you spend your days with your mind spinning. I am here to share something with you that I’ve heard from almost every mom; adjusting to this new identity as a mother is a challenge for everyone. I’ve also heard from almost every mom that we do make it out of the fog and see our world clearly once more. The way we see our life and world may be different than before, but it is now filled with lots of love and joy.
Please do not forget to take care of yourself! You have worked hard for months to grow this sweet baby in your womb AND to bring this fresh baby into the world. You deserve to take time to care for yourself too. I mentioned in my baby registery post last week a couple items needed for taking care of the breastfeeding mama, but I didn’t get into all of them. It takes the sisterhood of motherhood to learn how to care for ourselves and our little ones. I’m thankful for the other moms who shared these tips with me, and I hope you find these tips helpful too.
If you have not started using nipple cream after each nursing or pumping session, start using it EVERY SINGLE TIME. Don’t wait until your nipples hurt. After a few days your nipples will hurt and you may question why you’re feeding this demanding child all the time. Don’t let this pain scare you, because this discomfort will pass SOON.
Go make or have someone make you a couple cups of tea and enjoy them.Place the tea bags on a plate and put them in the fridge for an hour or so ( until they’re nice and cold). Place the tea bags on your nipples and allow them to sooth your discomfort. The tannins in the tea help to alleviate the discomfort you may feel in the early days of breastfeeding.
It’s okay to live in nursing tanks! Throughout my maternity leave (and after returning to work), I paired these with a cardigan for home. If I left the house I’d another shirt and I was set for nursing on the go. I could pull the shirt up, pop open the nursing tank and have the cardigan to provide privacy on the sides. Over time it got easier to nurse discretely without even using a nursing cover.
Know that nursing sleep bras are worth the money! They keep the nursing pads in place you from leaking breast milk all over you and your bed. They’re easier to use when you wake up are woken up by a hungry baby to nurse.
Keep nursing every few hours to keep your milk supply up, but know that it gets easier. Eventually my daughter had enough head and neck control that I could nurse on my side. Which meant, I laid in bed while half asleep and my little girl did all the work. #winning
The laundry, dishes, and cleaning can wait. Anybody can wash and clean up, but you need to heal and bond with your baby.
Know that you are not crazy to have your emotions swing from high to low and all over the place. It takes time after having a baby for your hormones to get in balance. So go laugh, cry, and feel all the feels.
Say yes to offers for help. because they want to help you. You can try and do it all, but you don’t have to do it all.
Ask for help. If people are not offering you the help you need, ask for it. Sometimes people just do not know what to do, but are happy to do it if you ask.
People will want to come see you and your new baby, but you don’t have to say yes. Saying not right now is an acceptable answer.
Don’t forget about you in the midst of all the diapers, feeding, and bathing. Your self care is critical to healing, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Newborns are sweet and cuddly, but they are also a lot of work. You will be overcome with love for this tiny person in your arms and wonder if you’re doing it right. Know that you ARE doing a great job mama! Reach out to your fellow mom friends for support. If you do not have mom friends yet, know that this mama right here is here to support you too. Feel free to send me a note here you need it.