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I absolutely love your website and your snaps! So thank you for sharing your life with the public.
I have a question regarding newborns – I am a very new, first time mum to a three week old adorable boy – but oh my, it is so very hard.
My question is how did you get through the newborn stage with Lowie? Do you have any helpful tips or ideas?
I wanted a baby for so long but now I’m so exhausted!
Exhausted Mum (from Australia)
Dear Exhausted Mum,
Oh boy. Have you come to the right place for this question! (cue maniacal laughter)
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You’re a Mama!!! That is very exciting, and obviously comes with a lot of other things as well. I know exactly what it feels like to want a baby for so long and then feel completely shell shocked once the baby is actually here. It’s no secret that the first few months were very challenging for me as a new Mom– and that three week mark…Wowza. You are in it, my friend! I know you just wrote to me a few days ago, and I decided to answer your question right away in case I can be of any help immediately. Remember this is only one person’s experience/advice. Take whatever parts seem helpful to you and ignore the rest.
- Get your baby on a schedule. This was the absolute best parenting advice I ever received and it made all the difference for our family in putting the pieces back together after the whirlwind of welcoming a child. There is an amazing book called “Cherish The First Six Weeks” that really helps with this. You obviously can start whenever– even after a few weeks of Mamahood! I also wrote a post about our Baby Bedtime Ritual with Marlowe that might be interesting to you. For me, getting a schedule together helped me find more time for myself as well as knowing what to expect a bit more. Kind of like driving a piece of heavy machinery with a manual in hand…instead of blindfolded.
- Leave the food to somebody else. Another overwhelming part of those first few months was figuring out what our family was going to eat. On top of everything else, it just felt so complicated to prepare meals, shop for meals, and eat healthily for me and my breastfeeding baby. If you can afford a meal delivery system, do it. If you can’t, ask your friends for help. See if your closest friends or family members can drop off food sometimes. Even a couple times a week really makes a difference. Also don’t forget to snack! You are so busy right now that it’s crucial to make sure you are drinking enough water and eating throughout the day in order to keep your mood and energy elevated. Keeps snacks nearby wherever you breastfeed! Maybe even consider making these freezer Smoothie Bags for when you need a fast and healthy snack!
- Let your house be messy. Really. Nobody cares.
- Find a new TV show to watch. Record it, and watch it while you breastfeed. It will make you feel like you are getting some “Me” time in, and it will be exciting to discover a whole new cast of characters and Story Lines. I got in to “Game Of Thrones” right when Marlowe was born and it saved my spirit on multiple occasions. There are dragons in that show, right? Because I also might have been hallucinating…
- Get breastfeeding help. If breastfeeding isn’t going great, if it’s painful, difficult, or just bad– ASK FOR HELP. Difficulty breastfeeding is totally normal, but also isn’t something you need to “endure” to be a good Mom. In most towns, and in every city, there is access to Breastfeeding Groups, Classes, or personal Lactation Consultants. Invest the time or small fee to get coached by an expert. It is so worth it. (Also: if you are pumping, make sure you are using the right sized breast shields for your nipples! The breast shields are not one size fits all, and come with a rather big set. I ordered the smallest size online and my experience with pumping changed dramatically.)
- Get your nails done. Leave your baby for an hour and go do something for yourself. By yourself. You deserve it, and it will make you feel A LOT better.
- Above all, realize this period of time in your life will move forward. Your baby will not be a newborn forever. In fact, in about a year, you will barely remember when that he was a newborn at all. In a few months, you will be having a MUCH different experience with your child. It’s OK to be exhausted, frustrated, spread thin right now. It will change. Take it one day at a time, and hang in there Mama!!!
I wish you all the best!
P.S.- In solidarity, here is a selfie I took when Marlowe was ten days old. Look familiar? Ha!