When you were an expecting mom, you likely researched and read books on what to expect when you’re expecting.
But when you’re a new mom with a new baby, you likely forgot everything you read, now only thinking in your sleep-deprived mind, “What now? How, what, when and how will I care for this new little one?”
Or even little ones, for those of you lucky enough to have multiples like I was.
Just consider this: Many women have babies. You can do this.
As a postpartum doula, I have helped many new families though this new parenting phase.
My mantra is “You do what works.”
Really, at the end of the day, you need to feel good about yourself — and your new baby needs to be cared for.
So many of us new moms immediately feel a brand new feeling we later (after the newborn fog has lifted) understand to be Mom guilt. I often remind moms about this: Guilt implies you have done something wrong. Get over it now. In my experience, these feelings can take you down a dark path. As a new mom, you only want what’s best for your family, baby and you. So don’t feel guilty. You do what works. And remember, you’re learning.
Here are a few quick observations that you’ll want to remember as you approach this time in your life:
- We never stop learning as moms.
- We as moms never stop learning from other moms.
- Finding other moms for support is critical for your mental health.
- As early as when you’re pregnant, seek out other new moms. Look in places like mom groups, neighbors, pregnancy classes and online.
- We as moms face many trials and tribulations, but in the end, you do what works.
So what exactly does “You do what works” mean?
Is your baby fed? Feeding sometimes is automatic, but most times it’s not. Lucky for all of us, we have an amazing community that specializes in this. If you plan on breastfeeding, consult a lactation expert before your baby comes. Have this resource available once your hungry newborn has made an entrance.
If you plan on bottle feeding, be prepared. Have the supplies for pumping. Have plenty of formula for the baby. Know how much Intake baby will need to get along. These things — if you research before baby — makes the mom transition smoother.
New moms only sleep if baby is sleeping. As a postpartum doula, this is by far my area of expertise. Sleep is so important for the family. And while it may seem impossible to get everyone sleeping as they need to, it just takes time to figure out what will work for you and your family. When you’re able to figure out your baby’s sleep schedule, you’ll be able to fulfill your need for sleep. Trust me, it is possible to have a new baby learn to be awake in daytime for an hour or so then nap, and it’s also possible for baby to stay in sleeping mode in the night — even with 3-hour feeds. As a new mom, you’ll quickly learn to sleep when baby does. It won’t be sleep like before, but it can be sleep to function mentally and physically.
Remember: You do what works. It’ll take some time, and it’ll take patience for yourself, your family and your newborn — but it’ll all be worth it as you watch baby thrive.
After having twins, Heather McCreary discovered a great need for new moms who needed help with their new roles. In 2006 she became a Certified Postpartum Doula with DONA Doulas of North America. Working full time as a postpartum doula, she has worked with more than 100 families locally as well as out of state. Postpartum doulas provide families information and support on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from childbirth, infant soothing, and coping skills for new parents. Heather can be reached at Takecaredoula@yahoo.com or 775-722-7083. Visit TakeCareDoula.com for more information.