Preparing for Baby: The Baby is Here
I have already written extensively about what I have done with my babies in my baby stories, sleep stories, schedules, and secret to sleeping through the night. I have shared resources for pregnancy, registering, and how to organize the nursery. But I needed to add this for the mama who is 39 or 40 weeks pregnant and feeling a little uncertain about what is to come…
Throughout my experiences, getting my kids to sleep and eat well was not as easy as I thought it would be. I had to adjust and re-adjust my expectations constantly. And looking back, those moments that were full of sleep deprivation and worry passed more quickly than they felt like they were going to. In the early days, it’s easy to worry — is he eating enough, is he sleeping enough, is he crying too much, am I doing all of this right? What am I even doing?
Remind yourself that you can do this, that you were designed to do this, that you are going to be an amazing mom! Let go of how you thought it would be and soak up every moment as it comes. Don’t worry about the little things or even the big things — focus on eating and sleeping for both yourself and your baby, and try to let everything else fall into (or out of) place without too much worry.
And if you do find yourself in a place of extreme worry, anxiety, sadness, or depression, find someone to talk to and seek help from a professional. Your doctors and nurses are there to support you and help you find your way in your new role as a mother. The road can be hard, but it is uniquely beautiful for each mother who travels it!
Know that your feelings are normal, that all moms find themselves wondering how they ended up covered in post-birth battle scars wearing mesh undies — barely able to take care of their own basic needs yet fully responsible for taking care of someone else’s. Motherhood is a tough job, but you will rock this mama!
But in all seriousness, these are the practical tips I have to offer for those early weeks of motherhood:
- Soak up all you can when you are in the hospital. Ask questions, learn from your nurses, consider it “baby boot camp” in learning how to care for a newborn. Let the nurses help you, but pay attention to what they do so you will know how to do it all on your own once you go home.
- In the earliest days, feed your baby as often as he wants to be fed. It will feel like all you are doing is feeding the baby, but that is how they grow so fast! Don’t worry about a schedule or routine. If you want to eventually get into a routine, think about it as: Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeat… this routine will work through toddlerhood! As a baby, the play part usually is just long enough for a diaper change and a quick cuddle before baby will want to sleep, but as they get older they will stay awake longer (newborns can sleep up to 20 hours a day!)
- Your baby’s doctor will talk to you about how many times you need to nurse or feed in a 24 hour period. Mine started out at every 3 hours around the clock. What I did was once my doctor said I no longer needed to wake the baby at night to feed was — I made sure to still wake every 3 hours during the day to encourage more eating during the day and less eating (and more sleeping) at night
Good luck, you can do this!