1. Slow Down!
Respect that this is a time for healing. Your body has just been and is going through so much, from birth to making milk, and you simply cannot resume your normal pace in those early weeks home with baby. Give yourself permission to let the laundry go or leave the house a mess and simply be with your baby. Better yet, assign those tasks to a willing helper.
2. It’s all about the baby!
A wise doula once told us your baby is completely unaware that you don’t know what you are doing. They need to be fed, sleep, kept clean and held. That is it.
3. Prepare in advance!
Make and freeze meals, load up online grocery delivery orders with easy to prepare foods, staples, and grab and go, protein-rich snacks (Some good ones are nuts, cheese sticks, veggies, and hummus, rolled up cold cuts, etc). Also, arrange to have help either from family or through hiring. Postpartum doulas are an amazing support for new moms and surprisingly affordable.
4. Trust your instinct!
You are connected to this baby in a way no one else is. If something feels right, but a well-meaning passerby tells you otherwise, trust your instinct.
5. Be kind to yourself!
You are new to this and you will only be able to do so much. Put away the guilt about what you feel you ‘should’ be doing to achieve super-mom status and just focus on loving your baby and keeping yourself in a positive place. Your baby is going to be more settled if you are content. It’s a virtuous cycle!
6. Lean on your friends!
Your friends – whether they live near or far, exist in online communities or live in your neighborhood – will be a crucial support in these early weeks and months. They provide a sanity check on everything from illness, loneliness, marital problems, to the run of the mill baby drama. And if they live locally, they can also provide companionship during those sometimes endless and monotonous days with a newborn. Seek them out and make those connections. It will make life so much easier!
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Jessica is the co-founder of The Parent Collective, which offers prenatal classes designed to help pregnant couples find a local mommy and daddy friends. Classes in NYC and Fairfield County CT offer expectant parents both education and support in an open, social and judgment-free setting. By attending this class series, parents will build friendships with families living in close proximity and delivering babies at around the same time, to help them through those first few months with baby and beyond.