I had done tons of research. I’d prepped my baby’s room, talked to friends who had babies and spent more years than I can count nannying. I thought I was ready. And in some ways, I was very prepared. But nothing can fully prepare you for those first 2 weeks with a newborn. The first days as a mama.
Those first few utterly exhausting and yet terribly beautiful weeks with your newborn.
I am so grateful for all of the help that I had so that I could enjoy those first weeks. But even with my husband, our families and friends coming to help, most of the time, it’s just you and your new baby.
So today I want to share some tips on some of the best things that got me through those weeks. And I don’t just mean surviving them - I mean really enjoying those precious moments that you will look back and think - man they flew by.
(I hated when people told me this, but man, is it true!)
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Find Purpose in Motherhood
Not only did your body and sleeping habits change, but every minute of your day is now preoccupied with a little human. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my little guy, but I don’t think I was prepared for the shift in purpose that I began to feel.
For those first few weeks, you are home with your baby almost non-stop. You can’t eat, sleep or even shower regularly.
I had to realize that my purpose was shifting. Before my purpose revolved around my husband, my work, my friendships, my church. These were the things that filled my time and took my energy pretty much up until labor began.
But now, every ounce of my energy was focused on a baby. And this was hard! As much as I was expecting it, it wasn’t easy.
Taking time to recognize and intentionally accept your new purpose during these first few weeks is essential. There is purpose in this time. You have one of the most important titles of all time as a “Mama” to your little one.
In your arms, they feel safe. In your arms, they can begin to adjust to this new world. They can eat and sleep and grow. Cherish this time (as hard as it is and as tired as you are) where your little one needs nothing but your arms. I’m writing this when my little guy is just 2 months and I already miss those moments!
If you’re looking for a really great book to encourage you in your purpose as a new mom, I’d highly recommend: The Mission of Motherhood (affiliate link)
This book taught me how valuable and important the calling of motherhood is. It also walks you through some of the most important aspects of motherhood. It helped me to prepare for this shift in major ways!
Dealing with the Baby Blues
All throughout my pregnancy, I was worried about Postpartum Depression. And as I write this post, I’m still praying hard and grateful that it has not been something I experienced. But in those first few weeks after having a baby, I experienced the Baby Blues really badly.
I remember just feeling utterly lonely and overwhelmed and SAD. Just sad. The sun would begin to set and I’d be overcome with emotion and I didn’t know why! I was happy to have this little baby.
The Baby Blues are described as just that - feelings of sadness, feeling emotional or anxious and oftentimes for no apparent reason.
Honestly, the best advice I have for you is to just ride the waves. I wanted to find a solution so badly. I searched the internet, tried all kinds of my usual natural remedies and at the end of the day - it is your hormones learning to regulate again.
I found this quote that brought me so much encouragement as I felt so alone in this transition (despite all my support!).
"The baby blues are a natural interlude between pregnancy and motherhood - a bridge to my postpartum life. I know it can be lonely crossing that bridge. But there's so much sunshine on the other side."
Set Yourself Up for Success
Here are some practical things that you can prepare to help you during this crazy and overwhelming time!
Set Up a Nursing Station
I bought a caddy (like this one) and set it beside the chair I would spend most of my time nursing in. It was large enough to fit my pump as well as some other essentials.
You can fill it with:
- Protein-packed snacks
- Nursing pads
- Milk savers
- Haaka Breast Pump (or this cheaper version)
- Water bottles
- Phone charger
- Nipple balm
- Burp cloth
Having all these things on hand were a lifesaver as I learned to breastfeed. It's a lot to remember to get everything you need before you plop into a chair for sometimes 30+ minutes. And then when your little one is sleeping soundly after the feed, you're going to be grateful for your headphones or phone charger!
Ask for Help!
This was one of the most important things I did in those first few weeks. During the first week, it was easier to ask for help. But once I started to heal a bit and eased into coming home, it was harder to ask for help.
One of the best things my husband said to me was, “It takes time and that’s okay.”
It takes time to heal - emotionally, mentally and physically. For some, it's faster than others. If that's not you, that is OKAY. You birthed a tiny human being into this world. And you're now responsible for their wellbeing! It takes a village, welcome that village during this time.
Ask for help - ask for someone to come hold your baby while you sleep. Ask for meals or for someone to stop by the store for you. Ask for help with cleaning or cooking.
We were blessed with family that loved coming over and helping and it made all the difference.
Because of the help I had, I was able to enjoy that time with my new baby. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Being a new mom is a crazy and yet beautiful experience. You’re going to want to give up. But you won’t and that’s what makes you the best mama for your little one.
What things have helped you in these first few weeks as a new mama? I’d love to hear in the comments below!