What It’s Really Like as a New Mom- How to Overcome New Mom Challenges
Every pregnant mama wonders what life is going to be like as a new mom.
Will I love my baby?
Can I care for a new baby and myself?
Will I be an over-protective mom?
You’re going to figure this mom thing out just like every other mom before you.
There are some incredible blessings and sometimes some difficult struggles, but often, as long as you know what could happen, chances are, you’ll do just fine.
Some of the new mom challenges you may face have to do with you, while many others revolve around your baby.
It’s my personal belief that enjoying this new season of motherhood is 50% knowledge and 50% attitude. Are you able to take what you know, apply it, and then make the best of the outcome?
If you can do that, you’ll make the most of this incredible journey of motherhood.
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7 Things to Remember as a New Mom
This is just a season of life
If there is one thing I can share with you about life, it’s that every season will come and go. The season of being a new mom is no different.
Being a new mom is hard.
There’s no way around that.
Even the moms who have the most incredible babies are likely to struggle in one way or another.
The emotional, physical, and psychological changes that happen as a new mom are a lot.
But, the first few months with a new baby represent a season of life you’ll NEVER get back.
Even in the darkest of days when one of our babies had colic and literally slept for 1 hour at a time, I did my very best to find moments every day that made it all worth it.
Now let me tell you…. That season of life was HARD, MISERABLE, and most days, the sleep deprivation made me feel like I was LITERALLY losing my mind.
BUT it was worth it. We survived, and our one-time colicky baby is such an incredible little human being who loves everything about life.
This is a season of life not to be taken for granted. Breath in every moment.
It will get better
I feel like I could type this 100 times and it wouldn’t be enough.
No matter what you’re facing, it will get better.
Struggling with breastfeeding? It will get better. And if it doesn’t figure out how to be ok with formula.
Struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. Seek out the help you need. There is NO SHAME in taking care of yourself and your baby no matter what that looks like. But even still, it will get better.
No sleep? Even that will get better.
Being a new mom is hard. Figuring out how to best care for your new baby is hard, but it will get better.
You will sleep again
Even though sleep may seem elusive, it does still exist.
Other people do it every day, and that should give you hope that it does still exist, and it will happen for you again… one day.
And that day my friends, may not be for a long time. But it will happen.
With that said, sleep is of utmost importance as a new mom. Let people help you. You are not superwoman. Don’t try to be. Allow people to come in and help you get to sleep if you’re really struggling.
At the end of the day, remember that you will sleep again. It’s one of the greatest new mom challenges to deal with no sleep, but you will sleep again.
And even now, our baby who once had colic and NEVER slept is the best sleeper in our house.
You can go do things
I think this depends on where you live and what the weather is like, but please know that just because you have a new baby, doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house.
If you need fresh air, take a walk. If it’s cold outside and you need out of the house, go to the grocery.
Leave the handle of the baby carrier up, drape a blanket over the top of it so people won’t try to touch your baby, and get out of the house.
Once you’re cleared from your doctor to drive, there really is no limit on getting out of the house.
If you’re struggling because your baby is challenging, go out and let people tell you how cute and amazing your baby is.
That was one of the greatest pieces of advice I was ever given.
When you can’t see through the fog of sleep deprivation, frustration with feedings, and the constant fussing, let someone remind you of how amazing and beautiful your baby truly is.
You choose how much you want to share on social media
So, I’m going here.
Make no mistake, everyone is going to want to see your baby.
That can be a blessing, but it can also come with some peer pressure.
It’s obvious that the simplest way to do this is to share 100’s of your baby’s pictures on social media. And if you choose that, it’s totally cool.
For us, we knew before we had kids that we had no desire to put their photos out there for all to see.
Much to our surprise, people totally respected that.
It was our mindset that if someone wants to see our kids, then they needed to come actually see our kids. It was as simple as that.
Your body will be changing- a lot!
Newsflash- in case you haven’t notice, your body looks nothing like it did before you were pregnant.
Ok, so clearly you know this.
Your AMAZING body just grew this tiny human to beautiful perfection and it’s going to need some time to heal.
And know this- it may NEVER look how it did before.
This can be a struggle for sure.
I’ve been there too.
For me, it was one of the hardest new mom challenges to think that I may never be the person I was before. Or wear the clothes of bathing suits I once could.
Even if your body doesn’t look the way it once did, you still need to do your best to slowly begin getting back into shape with exercise and a healthy diet.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll notice your breasts are going to be changing often. Even if you’re not going to be breastfeeding, your breasts will be changing because they’ll still produce milk right after giving birth.
One suggestion I give to new moms is to create a postpartum wardrobe. This doesn’t mean going out and spending a small fortune, but rather buying a couple of clothing items you’ll be comfortable wearing until your body settles into its new self.
Do your best to embrace your new body until you’re cleared from your doctor to start getting back into shape.
Mommas, if you get nothing else from this, know this- TIME FLIES!
It is totally cliché, but 100% true.
You’re going to blink, and your baby is in kindergarten.
These days as a new mom are hard. You and I both know this.
But they are special, beautiful, and one of a kind. No one else will ever get to experience this season of life with your baby. You are their mom. There’s only one you and one them.
Breath in Every. Single. Moment.
Every single sleeping baby moment.
Every single smile.
Every single poopy diaper. (Ok, so maybe not this one.)
Time isn’t going to stop for you.
Embrace every moment and love it for what it is.
5 Things to Do for Yourself
Take a shower every day
One of my favorite tips for new mommies is to do something for yourself without fail every single day.
For me, this was taking a shower.
After every single baby, the one thing I would do for myself was to take a shower.
Even if the baby was sitting in the baby seat outside of the shower curtain screaming and crying, I took a shower.
When I got out of the shower, I felt refreshed, like I could continue doing the new mom thing and be OK.
For you, it may be something like leaving the house or having someone over to help.
No matter what it is, find one thing that you can commit to doing for yourself every day.
Then, make sure you have your support system on board, not only to help but to also hold you accountable.
Just because you’re a new mom doesn’t mean that you as a person ceases to exist. In fact, it’s never been more important to take care of yourself because now, someone else is relying on you more than ever.
Wear clothes you’re comfortable in
I think one of the most common new mom challenges is finding clothes you can wear after having a baby.
Find clothes you’re comfortable in and wear them.
Mind you, your nightgown likely isn’t going to be ideal for the long term.
But if you aren’t in your typical day to day attire right away, that’s totally fine.
No one is expecting you to be on you’re A-game right after having a baby.
I encourage you to check out my suggestions on how to create a postpartum wardrobe so that you look forward to wearing some new clothes and embracing your postpartum body for a while.
Eat healthy foods
I’m going to be really honest here- when you’re a new, exhausted mom, it’s going to be easy to fall into the “I can eat whatever I want because I am tired and emotional, and who’s going to stop me?”
OK, so maybe that was just me. Add onto that breastfeeding, and you can a clear-cut case for eating whatever you want.
But, take it from someone who has been there, although eating that pint of ice cream may have made me feel better in the short term, I know that long-term I would’ve been better off not eating it.
Finding the right balance of keeping up with your growing appetite, as well as finding foods that are able to be quickly prepared and consumed is of utmost priority.
If you’re struggling with this, enlist some people to help you grocery shop if that isn’t your thing. Ask some of your mom friends what their favorite foods were that were quick and easy to eat after having a baby.
Only allow visitors when you’re ready
I seriously can’t scream this one loud enough!
If you aren’t ready to have visitors, then say that.
We didn’t have anyone visit at the hospital, with the exception of a few immediate family members, until we were ready.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want their love and support, but when you’ve just had a baby, you can be a hot mess. I had a c-section with my first and so I was literally recovering from a pretty serious surgery as well as trying to figure out how to breastfeed, as well as take care of my own self.
The last thing I needed was a line of people coming to visit.
Once we were settled at home, we slowly let people come to visit.
I love them all, and because they love me, they understood and waited to visit until we were ready.
Keep a list of gifts and write thank you’s
I hope that you’re blessed with incredible gifts and amazing support once you’ve had your baby.
One thing I learned after my first pregnancy was that trying to remember what people did for us and the gifts, they got for us on top of all the new mom stuff was literally impossible.
I started a list and then when I felt like I had a moment (literally, sometimes a moment) to write a thank you note, I would.
I tried to not let the list get too far ahead of me.
I was incredibly grateful for the people who took my hands and told me that they didn’t want me to write them a thank you note.
Those were the people who genuinely knew what being a new mom was like and they understood and knew how grateful I was.
5 New Mom Challenges to Expect
Little to no sleep
I know this seems like a given, but even your wildest of college experiences can’t compare to the level of sleep exhaustion you can experience as a new parent.
It can be overwhelming at times.
If you end up being one of those BLESSED parents whose baby sleeps from the get-go, please know that you have been touched by the hand of God himself.
Sleep deprivation is brutal. And at times, it can literally be dangerous.
That whole mantra of sleep when the baby sleeps, it’s totally legit.
Who cares about the laundry, the dishes, or anything else for that matter.
Everyone has an opinion
My favorite part about being a new mom was the people who had never had kids giving me advice on how to be a mom.
I get that they thought they were helping, but they weren’t.
In fact, at times, I may have wanted to punch them in the face.
Unless I am asking for your help trying to figure something out with my baby, I really don’t need your advice. And I mean that with all the love in the world.
I know that everyone has an opinion about everything.
But, unless that advice is going to help me out, I don’t need it.
There are some great ways to help a new mom, but always giving your unsolicited opinion is not one of them.
As the new mom being given all of this advice, try to be kind. Those hormones can be brutal, and your filter might just disappear.
You can always apologize later. Sometimes you just need to ask people to keep their advice to themselves.
Everyone wants to hold your baby
One of my favorite things to do with new babies is to wear them in a baby carrier.
This puts you in total control of who can see and touch your baby.
Even in their car seats, people, even COMPLETE STRANGERS, seem to think they can just touch your baby.
That baffles me.
And even still, I had people who would come up to me when my baby was all snuggled in tight and they would try to touch them.
Try to be polite and ask them not to touch.
Sometimes, it may feel easier to carry a sign around that says, “Please Look, Don’t Touch!”, like what you would find at a trinket shop.
Much like everyone has an opinion, everyone wants to hold and touch your baby.
But I mean, who can blame them, you DID just birth the most beautiful baby into this world!
This is for sure one of the biggest new mom challenges if you’re struggling with this with your family.
It can be tricky because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, but there are baby hogs in this world who think they’re entitled to hold your baby nearly every moment of the day.
My greatest piece of advice on this is to discuss it with your spouse before having your baby.
They need to be willing to support you in this. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself frustrated, mad, hurt, and likely sharing your baby more than you want to.
Nighttime takes on a new meaning
The term “nighttime” may as well just go out the window.
Just because it’s dark doesn’t mean you’ll be sleeping like you once did.
Sometimes, your baby will go through a growth spurt and want to eat all the time.
Other times, they’ll just want you to hang out with them and pull an all-nighter.
My personal favorite is gas.
Your baby will be screaming their sweet little head off, then, all of the sudden, they’ll pass gas and go right to sleep.
For real? All of that for a …. FART?
Yes, friends, nighttime is no longer going to be what it once was.
Being Scared You’ll Hurt Your Baby
When you’re a brand new mom, everything is scary.
Their bath is scary, the car seat is scary, doctor’s appointments are scary.
Everything is scary.
You’ll find yourself creating horrific scenes of things that aren’t going to happen.
You’ll be scared you’re going to break them if you look at them the wrong way.
You’re going to question every single decision you make for the rest of your life because you know someone else is now going to be affected by those decisions.
Life is going to be different, and at times, things are going to be scary.
But, you’re going to do fine.
Things that you’re worried about now aren’t going to even matter when you have your second, third, or even fourth kid.
As with any other thing in life, you’re going to learn. And you’re going to be amazing.
You’re Right, You Aren’t Ready for This. But Who Is?
Fellow mommas, at the end of the day, you’re going to be amazing. These new mom challenges will quickly fade.
God designed you specifically for this purpose to be your baby’s mom.
Take each day just as it is and do your best with it.
You won’t be perfect. EVER.
But you were perfectly made to be a mom.
You won’t ever feel like you have enough knowledge to take care of your baby.
Your instincts are going to be right 99.9% of the time. Always go with your instincts.
When you find yourself wondering, “When does life with a newborn get easier?”, it just will. You’ll start to feel more comfortable in your role as a new mom, and it just gets easier.
Ask questions, ask for help, share your thoughts with people who frustrate you, take care of yourself and your baby and the rest will all fall into place.
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