Caring for a newborn is a lot harder than I thought, and probably harder than you thought as well. When friends or family have a child you mostly get to see the good parts or only snippets of the bad parts, and then you get to go home.
When you are a new Mom, you are 100% submerged into a completely new life, one with a very demanding infant. An infant that can only communicate with different types of cries that you desperately try to decipher to help make your child content and happy again.
You attempt new tasks that life has not really prepared you for. You learn to breastfeed or bottle feed, how to burp, how to rock, and how to multi task like never before. You may have done some of this before but somehow it’s totally different when it’s your baby.
You question yourself constantly, wondering if you’re doing the right thing for your little love. Uncertainty and doubt creep in. You get some help from your significant other, family or friends, but you are the primary one taking care of your child. You are exhausted and have very few breaks. There’s a huge amount of pressure you put on yourself. You assume all that responsibility.
Am I right? Even if you said yes to parts of that, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Most new mothers feel that exact same way!
Don’t be too hard on yourself!
My first bit of advice is not to be too hard on yourself. All new mothers feel overwhelmed. Some may seem to have their act together more so than others, but I guarantee that they have had moments of uncertainty as well and chances are that they’ve broken down and even cried about it.
Do you remember the shows called Supper Nanny and Three Day Nanny? They make things look so easy when it comes to parenting and being consistent with children. They help distraught parents who need help getting their children to listen and act appropriately.
Well… I just read an article about how Kathryn Mewes, the star of Three Day Nanny, is having a tough time as a new Mom. She admitted that it’s a lot tougher than she thought it would be. Who would have guessed? She has tons of experience, yet she hired her own Nanny! If you’d like to read the article, you can check it out here.
My point is… don’t think that you are alone in the way that you feel.
Focus on the Good
Accept that your life has just changed. Accept that there will be a lot of uncertainty and lots of learning on the job. But try to see the good in all scenarios.
Try to laugh at yourself and at unpredictable events that will happen.
Like our first outing at the mall where I breastfed standing up in a bathroom stall.
Yep, real classy huh. But hear me out…
My daughter wouldn’t drink the ready-made formula I packed because it wasn’t warmed like she was accustomed to. I couldn’t find a private place to breastfeed and PANICKED because she was crying LOUDLY due to hunger!
At first I was pretty proud of myself for meeting her feeding needs even though it was a bit awkward…
and then someone flushed…
Ugh! It was so loud, she started crying all over again!
Yeah, I obviously didn’t think that one through, but had the best intentions. The good news is that we got out of the house, we survived, and I learned from it. That night my husband and I laughed about it. I then did some research and found a different mall that had a special family bathroom with breastfeeding chairs available.
You will have a lot of trying moments. Times where you will panic, times that you will wonder how you will get through it. Remember the saying “This too shall pass”. Believe it or not, they will all be memories that you will look back on as your little one gets older. Even though the days/nights seem to last forever at times… especially when sleep deprived, know that when you do look back you will wonder where the time went.
So, when you’re in that moment when it’s really tough. Focus on the good and know that the bad parts are temporary.
Be Patient and Take Deep Breathes
Recognize how much your child is learning in such a short period. A child goes from hardly being able to move at all, to lifting their arms, legs and head. Then comes turning, rolling, reaching, grabbing, scooting, crawling, and walking all in a year’s time. That’s just the physical part of it!
You and other family members, the room that they are in, the sounds they hear, the scents they smell… it’s all new to them. They are learning to adapt.
The amount of unfamiliar things that attack their senses along with strange feelings of unknown emotions that come from within, it’s understandable that they cry, and get exhausted easily. They are confused and overwhelmed too.
I believe you should be consistent with what you expect from your child, but be realistic. I know I struggle with this one lots, even to this day, but I keep reminding myself that my daughter doesn’t know what is expected of her until I teach her.
Babies and children need lots of examples and consistency, and as hard as it might be, your patience. One day it will click and they will learn. Let them know that it’s okay to cry and feel frustrated because we feel that way at times too. Comfort and love them during these times. I ask my daughter if she needs extra hugs when she’s upset.
Be proud of all that you are accomplishing.
Don’t minimize what you’re doing.
You’re not just taking care of a baby. You’re showing that baby what love means. You’re taking care of their needs, but are also teaching them and encouraging them. They are soaking it all in whether you realize it or not. You’re setting a good example. You may not do everything or even most things right the first time. You’re learning something new and so are they. You’re doing it together and learning and growing together. Be PROUD of yourself and your child and you’ll exude more confidence and happiness and your baby and partner will pick up on that.
Final Bits of Advice
Creating some type of schedule/route is a huge help. Print my free daily baby schedule template here.
Work out a schedule with your significant other – if you’re not a single Mom. Maybe your husband likes to stay up late? If so, go to bed early and ask him to watch the baby until 11 or 12pm. This will give you a few solid hours of sleep each night.
Look into getting a co-sleeper. It will allow you to get more rest because you’re not leaving the bed each time your baby wakes.
Slowly add in housework. It’s almost impossible to do all the household chores you used to, plus care for an infant. Do the best you can and use a sling to carry your baby or use a bouncer to help entertain them while you get cleaning done.
Have any advice of your own? Share with comments below! I’d be happy to hear from you.