By John Eisenhoffer
Being a new mom brings so many joys and challenges. You may feel like you’re barely done with the stress of baby showers, pregnancy, and everything else that comes before the delivery. You now start worry about your baby’s health, if he or she is developing according to “schedule,” and your own skills as a new mom. Once the bundle arrives and you see, hold, and smell him or her for the first time, you will probably be surprised that you could love something so much.
When you take the baby out into the world and people hover, you may feel pricks of protectiveness. Does that person have a cold? Will they drop the baby? Remember you’re the mom. If you feel like you need rest or don’t want visitors, simply say, “No.”
The process can be overwhelming, but we offer seven things new moms shouldn’t worry about:
1.) Keeping the house clean Kids equal clutter. And we all know a cluttered home is not necessarily a dirty home. Sleep deprivation, breast feeding, and tending to the baby will keep you busy enough. Instead of worrying about pillows on the floor, dishes in the sink, or laundry, sleep when the baby sleeps. Everyone will tell you to do that, by the way, but listen. If you sleep when the baby sleeps, you get the rest you need to be an attentive mom.
2.) Losing the baby weight While you’re breastfeeding, you will be hungrier than usual and you might as well eat. Your body has fat stores during this time to make sure your baby is getting the best benefits and nutrients from mom’s milk. It is not a time for crash diets. Ignore the movie star moms you see on TV who look like they never carried a baby. What’s most important is that your baby is healthy and fed. Focus on your new and delightful little person instead of your figure. You’ll have plenty of time to attend to that later.
3.) Hurting the baby Babies are very durable and can withstand the clumsiest of parents. If the baby is your first, you will probably feel overwhelmed. But it will be very difficult for you to hurt your baby during the regular everyday things like feeding, bathing, and taking him or her out into the world. Stuff happens, but don’t waste your time imagining the worst. Enjoy your baby.
4.) Looking like a million bucks You have to think: if I’m staying in the house today, taking care of the baby, do I need to worry about putting on make up or rushing out of my bathrobe? Your baby loves you for you, not what you look like. And unless you’re going to a new mom’s beauty contest, relax. Oftentimes new moms are lucky enough just to get a shower or wash their hair. Take advantage of staying home and having downtime.
5.) Comparing your baby to other babies It’s easy to fall victim to the neighbor who comes by with their baby who can memorize presidents and count to ten. This of course is an exaggeration, but it can feel very real. Every baby is an individual, and while there are milestones in human development that describe when your baby will roll over, crawl, and start to walk, try to avoid seeing your baby as disadvantaged because he or she hasn’t hit a milestone. Some babies walk as early as nine months and others as late as fifteen months. Most of these milestones were set by approximations. Appreciate your baby for who he or she is. If you’re truly concerned about what you may see as delayed development, talk to your pediatrician.
6.) Your baby sticking things in her mouth A baby explores its world through his or her mouth. Obviously, you want to be mindful of her ingesting harmful items like poisons or cat feces, otherwise, try to relax. Your baby will build immunity as well as learn about his or her environment. And when your baby locates his feet and starts to suck his toes, keep in mind that they are indeed baby toes–they are pretty clean and won’t cause any harm. Snap a photo or two!
7.) Whether you will be a good mom If you’re worrying about being a good mom, you probably already are. If you respond to your baby’s cues–crying, cooing, and screaming–you’re a good mom. Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and you will learn so much about motherhood through trial and error. Often, just being there is all it takes. Remember: just as your baby is an individual, so are you, with strengths and weaknesses. You don’t have to be perfect.
Try to be flexible with your baby, your schedule and your self. Ask for help when you need it, and take care of yourself first. Taking care of a new baby has ups and downs, and you will fare better being agile instead of rigid.