I have it rehearsed. When I’m asked about being a mom the answer out of my mouth is almost always, “I love it now. The first three months were brutal. I was just in survival mode.” Some people, like my mom for example, are just newborn people. They love the squishy babies that are so easy to hold and sleep in your arms. I, on the other hand, found the first three months to be exhausting. No doubt because being a new mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through – breastfeeding, food schedules, lack of sleep, lack of adult interaction.
Time has since left me wondering why I thought it was so hard. Finn is mobile now, and I mean really mobile. He wants up, then wants down, then wants to climb the stairs or shut the door in my face. He throws food off of his high chair and is starting to throw tantrums. Why oh why do I prefer this to those early days?
I think the most obvious conclusion is that in those first few months, everything was new. My life changed drastically the moment Finn came into this world. I was learning everything, and most of the time on very little sleep. Even after Finn started sleeping better, I was waking up to pump to ensure he had enough to eat the next day. Breastfeeding was another challenge in and of itself, which only added to the stress.
I’ve put together a list of tips that helped me get through the first couple of months with a newborn. I like to be honest about this type of stuff, because reading about how much women love every moment of being a mom is straight up bull shit.
Newborns give you really good days and really, really bad days. Try to keep it all in perspective. I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed on a bad Finn day fairly early on. Suddenly, I looked at him and thought ‘I may be learning how to be a mom, but he is learning how to be a human’. He had it tougher, no doubt. Cry away little human.
Put Others to Work
Ask them to make you food. If your mother-in-law wants to vacuum, let her. Let your dishes pile up. Ask your husband to take a night feeding. Your body is going through a lot – let it heal!
I found that others wanted to help me and my little family in those first few months. I was reluctant, because I felt like I had to do it all. However, my body let me know that I was doing too much and told me I had to sit down and relax. It was hard for me to loosen the reigns, but once I did, life got easier. Let your family and friends help – and as a reward, let them snuggle the baby 🙂
Get Some “Me” Time
There will be an internal struggle each day between wanting to get sleep, wanting to get things done, and wanting to just chill and watch Netflix. Be sure to relax and give yourself some alone time. I remember getting my nails done with my mom a week after having Finn. David had the baby and that hour was pure bliss. Throughout the next few months I allowed myself to stay up way later than I should have because I simply needed some time alone. I wrote a lot, and caught up on some television shows. It was only a few hours at a time, but it was exactly what I needed.
Break Out of Your Routine
Each new day can blur together in those first few weeks home. Get out of the house, even if it’s just for a few hours. Go for a walk. Go shopping. Plan a trip!
Plan a trip?! Don’t call me crazy! There’s no better time! Baby will never sleep more than they do those first few weeks. Traveling may be a little more extensive, but Baby can fly for free and you don’t have to take any PTO since you’ll be on maternity leave!
Forget About the Baby Weight
One of the hardest things for me was the extra belly weight I was carrying around for months after giving birth. Everything I read said that with breastfeeding, the weight would melt off. That wasn’t the case for me. I had an extra 10-15 pounds on me most of last summer, and I had to buy a lot of new clothes once I went back to work since I was no longer my pre-baby weight nor in maternity clothes.
The Virginia heat made it more difficult for me since all I wanted to do was wear a bikini and sundresses. I had never felt more uncomfortable in my own body than I did those first few months postpartum.
Now that I’m a year out, my body has bounced back better than I could have ever imagined. I weigh less today than I did on our wedding day. If I had known this last summer, I wouldn’t have given the extra weight a care in the world. My advice to you? Relax! If you are breastfeeding, you need those extra calories to feed your baby. Your body just went through a huge traumatic experience, give it the time it needs to recover.
What I would give for a little extra Finn snuggle right about now. He is such a busy boy, and even though he gives plenty of hugs, he will hardly sit in my lap for more than a few seconds. Take it in! Cherish it! Your baby will grow right before your eyes.