“I was so proud of all the books I read to get prepared. And it’s great to have some idea, but I thought the books probably knew better than me because they were written by experts. In retrospect, I should have given myself more credit.”
Amanda: Be Gentle with Yourself - Everything Changes (2:07)
"My doctor and her pediatrician told me not to read too many books, because you kind of overload your brain. And if you get too much information and too many other opinions, then you get confused overall. So just go with it and you'll figure it out."
"You get on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. and you get shamed—none of it felt good to me and I was so confused. So I found my own small group and we support each other. I try the advice that makes sense to me, and I have a really chill pediatrician that I go to with the hard stuff. All the 'shoulds' are really hard."
“I wanted to hang out with other moms I could talk to and who knew what I was going through…I made friends and we put our kids together, so we have the same milestones.”
– New Mom
Nothing says “There’s a new baby in the house!” like not showering for two or three days at a time. Even though you know it will help you feel better (and human), sometimes, it just won’t happen. And that’s okay. Eventually, you’ll get back to daily showers and when you do, you’ll know you’ve passed another (clean!) hurdle.
"If you’re at home with the baby, get out. Take them out for walks, even just around the neighborhood. It makes you get dressed, it makes you take a shower." – New Mom
GETTING MORE SLEEPING
For the first couple of months, sleep is usually a major challenge: You’ll never love your bed as much as you do after having a baby. And getting solid stretches of sleep becomes the Holy Grail. But as your baby grows, he’ll start dozing for longer spurts and then one day—boom—he’ll sleep right through the night and you’ll do a big happy dance: Winning!
“At the beginning, you’re so tired and your body just deals with it...That’s where teamwork really comes into play, and you kind of just figure it out with your partner.” – New Mom
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BABY'S CUES
Like meeting anyone, it takes time to get to know this new little person in your life. Slowly but surely, you’ll start to recognize your baby’s cues for sleepy, hungry, over-stimulated, or “Mommy, I need a walk!”
“In the beginning, you’re just kind of guessing what your baby needs—going through a mental checklist of things. But then, one day, you realize you can tell by a certain sign that your baby’s getting tired or needs some fresh air. It’s really subtle, but it definitely happens, and it’s such a relief!” – New Mom
FIRST TIME OUT: JUST YOU AND BABY
It’s hard to believe running an errand with your baby will feel like a big deal but it does...What if she cries? What if my milk leaks? What if the stroller won’t open? Having someone with you that first time will take the edge off and give you a sense of security. Pack diapers, wipes, a blanket, a change of clothes, and food (that may be you!) and keep it short but sweet. Once you’ve got the first outing under your belt, the second one is much easier and soon you’ll both love getting out of the house.
“It's so important to get OUT. It will do so much good for you, and it's a good thing to do with your spouse or partner, just getting out with the stroller.”
– New Mom
(SECOND!) FIRST DATE WITH DAD
With a new baby on board, it’s easy to put your relationship on the backburner. Before the birth, get a date with Dad scheduled (you can always move it if need be). And don’t plan a long evening for this first one; just getting out of the house together is a big win. Leaving the baby with someone else, you’ll likely feel a mix of things—excited and anxious—and may end up checking your phone a lot—everyone does. The second time out, you’ll know what to expect and it will get easier and easier.
“I kept making excuses, because I was so nervous about leaving the baby, but we finally just did it and went out to dinner. It wasn’t exactly the most relaxing evening, but it was good to have that time together and to re-connect.”
– New Mom
GETTING SOME OF YOUR PRE-BABY LIFE BACK
This one’s tough. We put so much guilt on ourselves that we hesitate to take time off from the baby, even when we know it’s important. Eventually, you’ll get back to doing things you enjoy—an exercise class, working on a hobby or degree, or having time to yourself or with friends while Dad’s with the baby.
“When my son was about three months, I decided to go back to work part time, just ten hours a week, because it was something I loved. It made me happy and it made me a better mom, having that time for myself.”
– New Mom
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“It’s helpful to plan ahead in general. One thing is to have a lot of frozen food. When you’re sleep-deprived and getting up every two hours, you probably won’t feel like cooking or even getting take out. So it’s good to have a supply on hand of canned food and frozen food to heat up and eat.”
– New Mom
“I honestly got good advice, and that was to let others help you. That was really what kept me sane when I wasn’t getting much sleep. Your mother-in-law, well at least mine, became my best friend. Your mother and older woman in your family are full of wisdom and they want to help. Even just letting me sleep, and letting go so I could nap. We agreed that we would let people help.”
– New Mom
"I feel like I’ve learned a hundred things. I’m kind of a type-A and plan every minute of every day, and I was really worried about anything to do with babies—picking the best diaper and the best way and the best cream—and everyone told me, 'You’ll get over that.' And I thought. 'You don’t know me; I will not get over that.' But you really do. All that anxiety when that baby pops out, it will all go away and there’s something inside of you that will just know, so have confidence in that."
- New Mom