Your Postpartum Experience - 35 tips for 35 days
*By Melissa Moog, Founder of Itsabelly Baby Concierge,* www.itsa-belly.com
Congratulations, you survived the wonderful miracle of birth! Now you face the hardest job of all in becoming a new mom. Every woman knows the physical part of labor is really hard and the first few months with a newborn is even tougher. So, here are 35 practical tips for your first month to help you survive your already sleep deprived life as a new mom.
1. Sleep when baby sleeps - this is the most common piece of advice anyone will give you, do it!
2. Limit visitors - everyone will want to meet your bundle of joy but its best to schedule visits when you're ready and feel rested.
3. Create a support team around you - have your mom help out or hire a post-partum doula or sitter who can help with baby and give you a few hours to yourself
4. Don't turn away help - don't think you can do this alone. Accept help from friends and family that offer!
5. Meal preparation - try Dream Dinners, Dinners Ready or Super Suppers, order in or have easy to grab food (like salads, sandwiches) because you won't have time to cook.
6. Use a baby sling or Bjorn like carrier - having your hands free when you need to do things around the house or run an errand will be key
7. For the first few months have baby sleep next to you in a bassinet or pack & play so that you can easily feed her at 3 am
8. Realize the baby weight won't come off immediately - it took 9 months to gain the weight and it will take a while to shed the pounds so don't be hard on yourself!
9. Have your significant other bottle feed - Allowing yourself a few extra hours sleep while dad bottle feeds will be the best decision you make.
10. Forget the dirty dishes
11. Make regular date nights
12. Accept that the first 3 months will be the toughest
13. Work as a team with your significant other to take care of baby and the household
14. Take some time out for you - take a few hours during the weekend when your significant other can help with baby. It will also help your partner build a bond with baby.
15. Eat healthy, exercise at least 20 mins a day, drink lots of water and take your vitamins
16. Use an easy on-line service for your baby announcements like Snapfish.com or TinyPrints.com
17. If breastfeeding use an industrial type breastpump, buy comfortable nursing bras and easy access blouses
18. Hire a cleaning person temporarily if you really want the house to be in tip top shape
19. Create diaper changing areas in the house where you plan to be in the most so you don't have to haul everything all over the house
20. Have a well stocked diaper bag ready to go when you're out the door
21. Carry extra diapers, wet wipes, formula, bottled water, binky and extra baby clothing in your car in case you're out and run out of supplies
22. Join a baby & me group or mom group that allows you to meet other women in your shoes so you can share, vent or just hang out
23. When you're about to pull your hair out from the stress as a new mom and baby is crying take a break (its ok to leave the baby in a safe place like her crib while you take a breather)
24. Use your resources well (lactation consultants, advice nurses, your doctor etc). They can answer almost any question you'll have or at least point you in the right direction.
25. Do not isolate yourself - being stuck at home with a new baby can make you feel like you're isolated so make sure to go out at least twice a week
26. Remember it's ok to cry - you've entered new territory and it's natural to feel overwhelmed. Make sure you vent as you need to.
27. Take a deep breath & enjoy the simplest moments - your baby will only be this tiny for a short time and it will go by fast so enjoy they way she looks up at you or gives you that adorable smile.
28. Have your camera and video recorder ready - for those special moments when your baby does something memorable it's wise to have your camera at hand
29. Be kind to yourself - you're doing your best, don't have high expectations and be realistic about your transition into motherhood. Talking to other moms can help.
30. Keep a journal - life will be a blur so keep a journal to jot down when baby shares her first smile or when she's able to lift her head up
31. Get a post-natal massage. This is a must-have treat at least once in your first three months after the baby is born.
32. Do what feels right - you'll have so many people telling you what you should and shouldn't do, but if it doesn't feel right to you, don't do it!
33. Keep track of your baby's feedings by writing it down in a book to help you better decipher whether the baby is crying because of hunger or something else
34. Use Mylicon drops for baby's gas - it will work wonders when she is still too young to get her own gas bubbles out.
35. Use a swaddle blanket for baby when she's sleeping. The Happiest Baby on the Block is a great resource to help you with swaddling and calming your baby so she can go to sleep.