As promised, this week I am starting a new blog series, called SMALL TALK, in which the focus is going to be on what YOU, the new mom, or YOU who are about to become a mom, would like to know as you head into the very exciting, somewhat daunting world of parenthood!
The First 6 weeks with a newborn
To kick off, I hope to be able to give you some useful hints so as to be able to cope with feelings of self doubt which will surely creep in and the feelings of failure that come with motherhood. Having a baby can take a huge toll on your marriage and your self-esteem if you let it. That being said, here are 6 tips which I hope will help you survive the first 6 weeks of being a mom:
1: Go with your instincts!
There is so much information out there on the internet, it’s easy to become caught up in thinking that all these outside sources must know better than you do. Don’t believe that. If you feel your baby is hungry, feed him – even if you fed him an hour ago and the “books” say you must only feed every 3 hours. Trust in yourself. Your heart and gut instincts will be right 99% if the time so go with your gut feeling. Always.
2: Watch and learn
Babies communicate by crying and body language. In those first few weeks it’s important for you to watch and learn what all those signs are telling you. For example, long before your baby will cry with hunger, there will be cues that he is starting to get hungry – he may suck his fingers or make sucking sounds. It is up to you to notice these little cues and feed him before he starts yelling his head off! When your baby gets tired and needs to sleep, he may pull at his ears, yawn repeatedly or make quick jerky movements. If you pay close attention to all these special cues your baby gives you, you will soon be able to decipher exactly what your baby wants….and your life will become instantly easier!
3: To breast feed or not?
As someone once said to me, breastfeeding is not just “plug and chug” – nursing is hard work. It takes practice to get a baby to latch on properly and sometimes it is very uncomfortable too. If you have decided to breastfeed, ask for help – consult with a lactation specialist if you feel the need. And if you have decided that breastfeeding is not for you, that is OK!! Your baby will survive! And you are NOT a failure just because you choose not to breastfeed.
4: The Perfect Mother
There is no such thing as a perfect mother. You can only be the best mother to your baby by doing the best you can. Don’t be afraid to accept help. If someone comes over and makes your supper, accept graciously! If you haven’t made supper on time, so what?? The world won’t end and maybe you were spending quality time with your baby instead of trying to prepare a meal!!
5: Time for your partner
It is time for the two of you to pull together and not apart. Thankfully, nowadays more and more men are getting seriously involved in all those little baby tasks and they are sharing the sleepless nights and exhaustion along with the new mom. It is still hard though, to make quality time to spend with your partner but it is vital that you do so. The key is not to build a new life around your baby, but rather let your baby fit in with your lifestyle.
6: Time for yourself
This is probably the most difficult thing to accomplish! But it is important that every single day you get a chance to take your shower (and enjoy it!), eat at least 2 wholesome meals (one with hubby, hopefully!) and get out of the house for at least a little while every day. If you can leave your baby with a minder (or hubby) and just go for a walk around the neighbourhood, it will do you a world of good! If not, put baby in the pram and go for the walk in any case!
Motherhood is a journey of ups and downs. None of us are perfect, and mistakes will be made. If you listen to your instincts and follow your child’s needs, the first 6 weeks will pass by with less hassle than if you try to do everything by the book. Rather than trying to be the perfect mother, try to be the best mother, just by doing the best you can for your baby.
Yours in newborn photography,