Nothing prepares you more for life as a mother than the arrival of your precious one. The sudden change in your life can cause you to feel overwhelmed, helpless, and stressed. However, each day gets better, as you learn more and more. You become an expert in your own right.
Being the nerd, ultimate “Googler,” and inquisitive researcher that I am, the past 30 days my Google Search box has seen every kind of newborn inquiry there is.
Some of the things I included made me wish that I had a list like this to read 30 days ago. I hope for this list to inspire, entertain and maybe even motivate you to react in whichever way feels right.
I make no claims, nor am I an expert, but the following are 30 of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my first 30 days as a mother.
1. Your pediatrician doesn’t know it all about your baby and neither do you… yet. Pay attention to your baby’s cues, their actions speak louder than words.
2. It is a pure gift to be a mother, your baby should be the main priority and don’t apologize for it. Other obligations can wait. “Behold, children are a heritage and gift from the Lord, The fruit of the womb a reward.” Ps. 127:3
3. Your healing is equally as important as taking care of your baby. If you aren’t working towards a speedy recovery for yourself, you can’t give your baby your best.
4. Being superwoman doesn’t gain you a reward at this stage. Healing is a factor of time and a concerted effort. You cannot do it all. Ask for help and take the help you get.
5. The Know-It-Alls you complain about to your girlfriends (grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters) may actually KNOW it all. Experience is the best teacher; appreciate them and hear them out.
6. BUT…don’t let anyone make you think you don’t know your own baby best. Don’t let anyone make you think you’re not doing a good job. There are many ways to be an excellent parent.
7. Bring your husband in closely to you and the baby. Don’t push him away. He wants to also bond with the baby and be there for you. If this is your first child, it’s new for him too; he’s learning – remember that.
8. Eat good food and plenty of it. If you are breastfeeding your baby, he/she needs their mommy to eat often and eat well. A gallon of water plus some, everyday, does your body real good. That parched dry feeling in your mouth, while breastfeeding, isn’t fun.
9. Mothers milk tea is the clutch! I know it seems ridiculous that tea can help you produce more milk, but give it a try. Buy it, consume it and make yourself a cold refreshing glass of iced tea – it doesn’t need to be consumed hot
10. Breastfeeding is HARD. It is emotionally and physically draining but it’s worth it (if you can). You will likely feel a sense of accomplishment.
11. Exclusive breastfeeding is on another level of tedious. Besides adequate nourishment, keep a mentally free mind. Stress has an adverse effect. Sounds impossible, but you can do it.
12. The changes that occur in your female region after pregnancy aren’t pretty. Google “lochia” before you have your baby. That’s one of the Google searches I greatly appreciated post delivery and wished I did it before hand. No one told me about this before delivery.
13. Never say you don’t want a baby shower (that was me). Grateful for my surprise baby shower and all baby boy’s gifts received. Babies are expensive!
14. You know the side eye you give, and feeling you have, when you get ANOTHER gift of diapers? Trust me you’ll need it! Appreciate them.
15. Going through 6 or more diaper changes a day causes you to become a pro quickly (not so bad after all). There should be a competition for the fastest and cleanest poopy diaper changes!
16. If your baby needs a pacifier and it works for you both, use it. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on you or your baby. Everyone has an opinion, but do trials.
17. Some babies LOVE food more than others. The “Feed every 2-3 hours” mantra isn’t always right. My baby is a milk guzzler – he eats almost every hour to hour and a half, when he’s awake and that’s perfectly fine.
18. Pump, pump, pump! You may feel like a cow using a manual pump, electrical pump and using your hand to express, but it helps to establish your milk supply and increase it. Plus, knowing how many ounces your baby is actually eating, is a smart idea.
19. Buy a pumping bra! Being able to pump from both breasts and have your hands free is a major win. This invention is a genius one.
20. It’s perfectly normal to worry about whether your milk supply is adequate, especially when your baby is always eager to eat. Don’t be hard on yourself. Remember, sometimes your baby just wants to comfort feed. Put him or her on your breast; it’s better than a piercing cry.
21. Your pregnancy hormones are still at play after birth; your emotions may be in disarray. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to experience the ups and downs; but always seek help when you need it.
22. Buy plenty of baby sleepers “snap pajamas” (the one piece zip or button down clothing that has sleeves and legs). It’s the easiest thing to put on the baby and very comfortable and efficient for quick diaper changes
23. Confide in your husband; tell him how you are feeling and be open. He’s not your enemy during this period. He can be your greatest help.
24. Johnson’s & Johnsons may potentially have the biggest market share for baby stuff, but I’m not a fan. As a natural enthusiast, coconut oil and natural soaps and shampoos have been my go to. I only want the best for baby boy
25. The nursing pillow “boppy” was a great purchase. Being able to use my laptop and phone while the baby is feeding is an accomplishment, aided by this accessory.
26. Take lots of pictures/videos and try to get in them when you can. These memories will serve you well in the future- plus you can tease your child with them in later years.
27. In the past 30 days, I’ve barely used a water thermometer (you can tell if the temperature is ok by your finger) A baby tub works best for us when I’m carrying him and sitting in the tub. A bassinet (baby boy hates it; although we are working on changing this. You need to figure out what works for your baby) and baby shoes/designer clothes. All these are cute, but I want him comfortable; plus, these little ones grow so fast, is it worth it?! You can probably do without some of these.
28. Griping, gas and hiccups are all normal for your newborn. As hard as it is to watch your baby uncomfortable, it comes with the territory and this phase will pass. Keep gripe water on hand, and if you are breastfeeding, monitor what you eat to see if it triggers these things. Spicy food is NOT a good idea.
29. He/She is not weird or abnormal for twitching, smiling while sleeping, or fighting your boobs – even though it’s clear they are hungry. Your baby’s brain is developing and he’s getting acquainted with what his limbs can do. Also, it’s different being out in this world, after almost a year in your cozy womb.
30. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. God in his infinite wisdom equipped us with all we need to take care of our babies. Trust God and trust your instincts.
Joycee Awosika is a wife to a King, an entrepreneur, economist and a new mother. Her mission in life is to create tangible impact in any and everything she does. www.JoyceeAwosika.com