Making It as a New Mom
Also, it’s important to remember that you need just as much nurturing as your new little bundle. As a new mom, you need to make sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and eat nutrition-laden calories. Prioritizing your own self-care makes an enormous difference. Kristen Mindardos, a busy mother of two, took the challenge of self-care seriously. “I knew the first month was going to be tough, so I mapped out a strategy,” she says. “I did the ‘sleep when your baby sleeps.’ I made sure I was eating ‘clean:’ fresh fruit, lots of salads and small snacks of nuts or a smoothie every time I nursed. That’s what gave me the energy I needed.”
In order to heal and recover, a new mom needs to minimize the pressure and criticism. “Successful new moms are the ones who put all their expectations and their Superwoman costume in the cupboard,” says Diane Ellen, registered nurse and personal childbirth trainer at Personalchildbirthtrainer.com, which offers individual services and licenses Ellen’s methodology to other nurses looking to start their own businesses. “They keep the negatives to a minimum and do the best they can.” Staying relaxed and positive doesn’t just benefit the mom: Ellen points out that babies are sensitive to their mothers’ stress level and that letting go of your anxiety can be liberating for both.
Learning the New Mom Strategies
Most women are daunted by how much they don’t know about baby care. There’s feeding, burping, diapering and soothing. There are a host of decisions, including which baby gear to use, cloth versus disposable diapers, breast- versus bottle-feeding, the circumcision question and baby-soothing methods. New moms often feel anxious to do the right thing but are unsure of what’s right in the first place. To make matters worse, there’s plenty of conflicting advice from relatives, friends and experts.
Although there are many skills to learn as a new mom, the most important fundamentals are built in. “A mother’s natural instinct is to hold her baby as close as she can and fill her baby up with love,” says Laura Sobell, infant sensory integration expert, educator and owner of Calmbaby.com. “This connection is the foundation for everything else.” New moms usually thrive when they trust their innate ability to mother. Lydia Terrill, mother of one, says, “Despite the mistakes I made, I surprised myself with how motherly I was—rocking, singing and just stroking his head for hours.”