When you’re having a baby everything seems right with the world. You get lots of attention and you get to bond with that cute, wiggly baby that’s inside your belly. Then the big day gets here and your baby arrives and you’re loving those precious first moments in the hospital room when nurses are there to help you out and motherhood seems like such a blessing.
Then you take your baby home and reality sets in. No one mentions that you’ll be changing a gazillion diapers throughout the day; washing unexpected baby messes constantly and trying to calm your little darling when she’s screaming for absolutely no reason, or so it seems.
This is the time that most new moms start to lose it! They cry a little, call their friends and ask for advice, start to doubt their ability to be a good mom and get the baby blues. The good thing is that if this is happening to you…you’re not alone! Another good thing is that there are things you can do to help make motherhood a little easier during those first few crazy months.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule!
First important thing to do is to put your baby on a schedule. Remember, you brought your baby into your life and she needs to adapt to it, not the other way around. So take some control and create a daily nap and feeding schedule for your baby.
The easiest way to do this is to observe your precious newborn. She’ll most likely start to suck on her hand or fingers when she’s hungry, so feed her and write down the times when she had each meal throughout the day. Later, when your baby starts to get cranky she’s most likely tired, so that’s the time to put her in for her morning nap. Keep track of her typical feeding and napping times for one week then decide on a good schedule. Important Fact: Babies need a lot of sleep because their brains are developing at a very fast pace, so a baby from birth to 6 months may need to take 2 – 4 naps during the day. A baby will usually sleep from 2 – 4 hours during those naps and if your baby’s snoozing, don’t wake her up. She needs all the rest she can get in those earlier months.
Once you learn your baby’s triggers, creating that schedule should be easy. You might want to consider napping when your baby does, so that you’re not too tired out from those late night feedings.
Take Time for Yourself
Moms and dads need to remember that they still need to take some time for themselves, both together and separate. Consider finding a babysitter who you trust, like a family friend, aunt or grandma and do a date night with your spouse at least once a month. It’s also smart for each parent to take at least one night a week where they do their own thing: like dinner with a friend, visit to the gym, walk in a park etc… Realizing that your life doesn’t end when your baby arrives will keep you sane through the tough times.
Be Prepared Before Heading Out on the Town with Baby
When you decide to venture out to a restaurant or a friend’s house with your baby it’s important to be prepared. Get a diaper bag and make sure it’s packed with plenty of diapers, formula, bottles, bibs, burp cloths, rattle or baby toy, pacifier, music box, baby blanket, extra onesie, changing pad, wipes, plastic bags with ziplock for dirty diaper disposal.
When preparing that diaper bag think about everything your baby may need during your time away from home and be prepared in advance. This makes day trips with your baby so much easier. Hot tip: Keeping a bag of diapers and wipes in your car is a great idea. That way if you use the last one in your diaper bag you always have extras close by.
When All Else Fails Turn on the Tunes
The final tip on staying sane as a new mom is enjoying the gift of music. If your child is cranky sing him a song or turn on some soft tunes and hold him close and dance. If you’re cranky turn on your favorite CD, take some deep breaths and give yourself a few minutes to listen to your favorite songs to rejuvenate yourself back into a happy mood, so you’re ready to enjoy your day with your precious baby.