How to Survive Your 1st Year of Motherhood

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How to Survive Your First Year of Motherhood

It’s very overwhelming bringing your precious, little peanut home from the hospital for the first time.

Where’s all that “motherly instinct” everyone talks about?

You mean to tell me that we don’t magically know exactly what to do for our child the moment we give birth?

What’s this huge binder the doctor just handed us? Are we going to be tested on this?

It’s enough to pull your hair out (try not to though, it’ll start falling out in clumps soon enough).

Yes, it can be a lot to take in. I spent my entire pregnancy reading about being pregnant, completely ignoring the rows of books titled,

 Ah! Help me with this baby!

Fortunately, there’s no time to dwell on the fact that you have no clue what you are doing. You just have to get out there and start learning and laughing as you go.

Seriously, laugh.

…when you are on your way home from the hospital and a car in the other lane grazes yours with your fresh, out-of-the-womb NEWBORN in tow.

…when you realize that you greeted the UPS guy with your top hanging wide open, exposing your brand-new nursing bra.

…when your baby lets a magic stream of pee fly that soars directly into your face, bounces off the wall, then lands into his own eye.

One of the best sounds in this whole world is the sound of a baby’s laughter- don’t forget to lead by example.

Cry

How to Survive Your First Year of Motherhood

As a new mother, there are times you’ll feel overtired, overwhelmed, and a strange connection to diary cows.

It’s okay to let it out! A good cry can do wonders, and your sweet baby won’t judge you for it.

Speaking of babies, what a bunch of cry babies! I guess it makes sense when you consider that’s the way they communicate.

Yet, every article you read online warns of the terrible dangers of allowing your baby to cry even a single second. Parents are told to bounce, rock, pat, shush extremely loudly directly into baby’s ear, anything to prevent crying.

Good Papa and I spent hours a day bouncing W on an exercise ball until I went to a talk held by the fabulous Andrea Elovson, a sleep consultant that gives talks to new moms once a month at Ali’s Wagon located in Philadelphia (Check her out at The Sleepy-Bug).

Andrea suggested simply holding your crying baby when you know that all their needs are met. She said that babies often cry when they are tired. Instead of giving baby the chance to just let it out and fall asleep, parents often do whatever they can to suppress the crying.

After listening to Andrea’s advice, I went home held W in my arms when he was tired, he cried for exactly 20 minutes and went to sleep. It was difficult listening to him cry, but I felt reassured that I was there holding and comforting him.

Laughter can certainly lift your spirits, but sometimes mommy and baby need the opportunity to cry and express their feelings.

Get Out & Make Connections

How to Survive your first year of motherhood

It can be extremely isolating to stay at home with a baby, especially in the beginning when the thought of leaving the house can be likened to a trip through the Amazon.

What if a sick toddler comes up and sneezes in his face?

What if I lose control of the stroller and it goes flying out into the street?

What if my arms suddenly go numb and I drop him on the concrete? 

I learned quickly it was more likely that I would go insane cooped up inside than any of these outlandish “occurrences.”

Get out of the house as often as you are able. Don’t worry about your hair, make up, or clothing. All of the stress will fade as you feel the fresh air on your skin.

I also discovered how wonderful it is to have “mom friends;” women experiencing the same roller coaster ride as you.

How do you make these “mom friends?” Are there secret clubs all around the world filled with moms doing mom-like things?

Actually, yes! Well, there aren’t really any “secret” mom clubs- at least I have been invite to one…yet.

MOMS CLUB is a non-profit organization just for moms and their babies. They set up “play dates,” trips to parks/zoos/aquariums, parties and more for children of all ages and their moms. They have chapters all over the country- find your local chapter!

Accept help

So many parenting websites/books say the same thing, “Trust your instincts.” Well, I’m sorry, but we’re not sharks (shark week anyone?).

There were so many things that I learned how to do after becoming a mom: feed my baby, put my baby to sleep, strapping him into his car seat, etc.

Humans are social creatures. We work together and learn from each other.

If you have well-intentioned family and friends offering their help and advice, there is no shame in taking it.

Be Confident in your Choices

Although gathering advice from your family and friends can be beneficial, ultimately, parents have the final say.

I struggle with this sometimes. I second-guess my choices and decisions after reading an article or talking to another mom.

Luckily, I have Good Papa to remind me that we know our child best and, no matter what anyone else thinks, we decide what’s best for our child.

Make Time for your Spouse and Yourself

The first few months of motherhood can be very draining. A new, tiny person comes into town and completely takes over. All of your focus and energy are now devoted to meeting the needs of this small human.

Even when you finally get the baby to sleep, you may spend your time plotting and scheming of ways to get more sleep.

You may spend your time trying to figure out ways to feed your baby pain-free.

You may even spend entirely way too much time analyzing the contents of your baby’s diaper (don’t ask).

Don’t forget your spouse, and don’t forget yourself.

Schedule date nights, movie nights on the couch, or even spend time talking about subjects that don’t involve baby.

Take a girls’ night out, read a book, exercise, or just take a few minutes sitting quietly by yourself.

Relax & Enjoy the Ride

How to survive your first year of motherhood

It’s too easy to compare your baby to others.

Look at that baby. She’s only 4 months and she’s already walking, talking in full sentences, and sleeping through the night. 

Relax, every baby learns at their own pace.

It’s not a competition.

In fact, I wish I could press a button and slow it all down a bit.

If there’s one thing I have learned my first year of motherhood, it’s to be present and live within the moment.

I can’t believe my baby is already a year old! Happy Birthday, W!

 

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How did you survive your first year of motherhood? What tips and tricks would you offer to a new mom? Leave a comment below!

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