Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tips for New Mamas

This is especially geared to the first time mamas in the first few weeks so feel free to pass it along to any expectant moms (and add your own suggestions too!). These are some of the things I’m either glad I knew or wish I’d known sooner.

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  1. Let them be little. The number one thing I hear moms & grandmothers say is “Soak it up & enjoy every moment because they’ll be grown before you know it!” And it is so true. It really does go by so fast. Yes, sometimes the days feel long, but the years are short. You blink and they’re at a big new milestone. Soak.it.up mama! Try not to rush through to the next season. Enjoy their sweet newborn smell, that fuzzy head, and soft baby skin… & try to appreciate the joy that comes with each new phase! You’ll probably find that you prefer some ages/phases over others, but choosing to have a grateful spirit and focusing on the positive will help you find joy in each season and enjoy the blessing that motherhood is. Your sweet baby is a precious gift from the Lord! Isn’t it so cool that God chose YOU to be that sweet baby’s mama? And nobody in the world can do that job better than Y-O-U.
  2. Sleep when they sleep. And don’t feel guilty about it! (Especially when they’re brand new.) You probably hear that, but if you’re like me you think “but then I’ll never get anything done!” It’s okay…it can most likely wait. Sleep deprivation causes all kinds of crazy, & broken sleep can be tough.  Yes, it’s par for the course sometimes with a new baby, but a nap can really make you feel like a new woman! I had to learn it’s okay to call someone every now and then and ask them to come over for a couple hours so you can take a nap. I pay attention to my body. If I feel exhausted and feel like I’m short or having trouble thinking clearly, I call for back up so I can take a nap. If you have older kids, maybe ask someone to keep them for a couple hours while you sleep with the baby on your chest. If you really want some good deep sleep, you can probably talk a grandparent, aunt, or good friend to come snuggle the baby for you for a little while. And again, don’t feel guilty about it! It’ll help you be the best version of yourself if you can catch an extra few z’s.
  3. Accept help. People who offer to help genuinely mean it and want to help. Let someone bring you a meal, run some errands, watch your older ones, or do your dishes. If someone asks, be willing to share something they could do that would be helpful. (Just write them a thank you card and know you can return the favor in some way later when you guys are more adjusted.) Most of the time people are more than willing to help, they just don’t want to overstep boundaries. So if you need help, ask. If someone offers, accept.
  4. Keep taking your vitamins. Growing those babies seriously sucks the nutrients out of you, and they continue to take what they need from you when you’re nursing, so don’t stop those prenatals. Pregnancy and nursing are NOT the times to eat junk either, despite what you may hear! (Even though you do get extra calorie allowances.) In fact, your baby and your body needs nutritious food more than ever. You are growing that baby & developing all of their systems, including their entire immune system based on what you feed them! It is SUCH an important job & a huge responsibility. Keep taking your vitamins to fill in the gaps and give your own body and baby best possible support. You’ll want to work with your doctor on a regimen, but I take AdvoCare’s multivitamin (Coreplex with Iron), omega (Omegaplex for baby’s brain development specifically), probiotic (Probiotic Restore Ultra) for regularity and healthy immune system, calcium (Calcium Plus- also has vit D and magnesium), and C-Grams during sick season. I also take a coconut oil supplement to help with milk supply.
  5. Don’t compare. Really try not to compare your baby to others. They all reach milestones at different times, have different tempermants, etc. Try not to compare yourself either. Your body doesn’t bounce right back immediately. In fact, losing weight too quickly can cause toxins to be released into your breastmilk. Focus on nourishing yourself & eating as healthy as possible and drinking lots of clean (FILTERED, not tap) water. Take time to look them in the eye each day, give them little massages, sing to them, talk sweetly to them, and thank God that he created them to be exactly as they are.
  6. Let go of expectations. You do not have to be supermom. I remember someone telling me my only job the first few weeks was to rest, eat and drink plenty, snuggle with the baby skin-to-skin, and establish a good nursing bond/milk supply. Just hearing that really took the pressure off, especially for a “doer” who likes things to be perfect. I remember waking up my first morning back at home after having Kade and doing some cleaning and making breakfast for everyone. Mistake! (You can usually tell you’ve overdone it if your bleeding starts picking back up.) Bond with your baby. There will be plenty of time for chores and chats with others as he/she grows. And by the way, do not feel obligated to entertain when someone comes to visit. It’s okay to have some boundaries (like asking people to wash their hands first and not allowing them to come around if they’re sick), and it’s not rude.
  7. Find some mentors you trust & seek wisdom from them. Most moms are more than happy to share their advice and things they’ve learned. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything just like them (because every family and every baby are different), but it helps to have someone you can go to. Try to find someone whose values line up with yours and who has the same “end goals” when it comes to raising kiddos (even though there is never really an end)…or at least the fruit on the tree (as in they’ve raised kids who are incredible adults.)
  8. Those noises are normal. Babies make all kinds of noises, and for the most part, they’re pretty normal. So just relax! Your baby can sense anxiety/stress, so the more relaxed and confident you are, the more peaceful the baby will be. I do have a Snuza and Angel Care monitor for peace of mind though.
  9. Write it down. If you have a question, right it down. Track their pees/poops/feeds for the first couple weeks. (Your pediatrician will probably ask anyway.) You can use an app to track if you want. Keep track of baths. (FYI- they don’t need baths every day. It’s too much for their little skin.) And grab a journal and write down some notes to the baby- some of what you are thinking and feeling, prayers and verses you’re praying over them, songs you’re singing to them. There are so many things you think “Oh, I’ll never forget this!” But you do. It’ll be sweet for both of you to look back on when they’re older.
  10. Pray! Now is the time to become a prayer and praise  warrior. Pray for the baby all throughout the day. While you nurse. When you’re changing their diaper. (And that’s a LOT!!) When you’re laying them down. When you recognize a quality in someone else you appreciate, pray that over your child. Pray for their salvation! Pray they come to know Christ at an early age and the enemy never lets them doubt. Pray they become more like Christ and hide the Word in their hearts. Pray for their protection, wisdom, blessings, and the Lord’s favor. That they are a man or woman after God’s own heart like David. That they have the wisdom of Solomon. The faith of Abraham. The obedience of Noah. The perseverance of Job. The servant’s heart of Mary. The strength of Sampson. The courage of Joshua. The leadership of Moses. The humility of John. The boldness of Paul. Find Scriptures to pray over them and speak into them. Pray for the Lord to give you parenting wisdom. Pray for him to fill in the gaps for you. The prayers of a mother are mighty and powerful, so never underestimate them. If you feel overwhelmed, pray. He is so faithful to answer! And of course, PRAISE him for the blessing of that sweet baby! You probably won’t even need that reminder because it comes pretty naturally when you look into their face,but I do think it’s important they hear you thanking God for choosing them for you and you for them.

P.S. Coconut oil solves pretty much everything!

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