These 10 tips will help you survive and enjoy the early weeks as a new mom.
1. Go slow. We live in a fast-paced world. Babies move at a very different pace, as do new parents. Give yourself permission to move on "baby time."
2. Limit your other obligations. You will only be a new parent for a few months of your entire life. Think about how you can make the most of it.
3. Sleep whenever you can. Try to rest whenever baby is sleeping or being cared for by someone else. Rest can sometimes feel like a waste of time when there is constantly something to do, but keeping yourself as refreshed as possible will make everything else much easier.
4. Nurture yourself. You are putting out an enormous amount of energy as a new parent. It is important to recharge your batteries. Even a 30 minute hot bat, a short read or a walk with a friend could help you to rejuvenate. Think about two or three things you could do in less than an hour to nurture yourself and make it happen.
5. Think of your baby's crying as communication. Your baby needs to learn that his world and the people in it are trustworthy and reliable. His sense of trust is an essential building block for all other learning he will do. There may be times when nothing seems to help and you may just need to stay close, relaxed and supportive until your baby is done crying.
6. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Many parents who work outside the home before they have a baby expect that being home with baby will afford them many opportunities to get things done around the house. If you can keep your expectations to a minimum you may feel less overwhelmed and unsuccessful. Projects and chores can wait, so be willing to set them aside.
7. Accept offers of help. You will be giving others the gift of feeling included and helpful and you will be giving yourself the gift of help.
8. Ask for help. Many people around you might be interested in helping, but may not know how or what to offer. You can gently inquire if they would be interested.
9. Get together with other new parents. One of the hardest things about being a new parent is believing you are the only one feeling overwhelmed and confused. It can be very supportive to spend time with other new parents. Look for new parent support or activity groups through your local hospital, community center, adult education center, or La Lache League.
10. Expect to feel vulnerable. Bringing a new baby into your life changes you forever. Your feelings are simultaneously deepened and closer to the surface. You might find yourself wet with tears or spontaneously elated at a moment's notice. If you know that this rich emotional life is a natural part of being a new parent, you may be able to relax, tolerate or even relish these new feelings.