This post originally appeared on Wish Momma Told Me.
Wish Momma Told me is Rachel M.’s site. Rachel is a NICU mom to a little girl. Rachel has taken her experience as a NICU mom and what she learned from the doctors and turned it into an opportunity to share advice and helpful information with new moms. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a baby and you want a refresher course, if you know a mom-to-be, or you yourself are a momma to be or a new mom, head on over to Wish Momma Told Me! She has everything from stuff we don’t want to think about, like Caring for Stitches After Vaginal Delivery (eeek!) to How to Keep you Home Clean with a New Baby.
5 Unconventional Tips for New Moms
Being a new mom is a mix of emotions. On one hand, you’re excited that you finally get to meet and hold your bundle of joy. But on the other hand, you probably don’t feel your best, you’re tired, and have all kinds of new and random thoughts running through your mind.
It can be hard to not lose yourself in motherhood. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our new baby and lose ourselves in the process. As a mom of a toddler and preschooler, I would like to share some tips I’ve learned along the way for making sure that you don’t lose yourself in motherhood because it is so easy to do. And often, we don’t even realize it until it’s too late, and we look in the mirror, and wonder who we are and how we got where we are.
Make time for taking care of yourself.
I know this sounds perhaps a little bit obvious, but it is easy to neglect showering, washing our hair, and other basic things that we probably wouldn’t have let go as long prior to having a baby. As hard as it might be, make time to shower and get dressed or put on some lipstick, or whatever makes you feel good, and makes you feel like a human and an adult again.
Another part of taking care of yourself is making sure that you get some sort of movement in each day. So, put Baby in a stroller and go for a walk. If you can’t get out for a walk, walk around your house, do yoga, go to an indoor mall or other shopping center and walk, lift some weights or whatever floats your boat. But, do something to just move. Ideally, outside so you get some vitamin D and fresh air. It’s not about getting your pre-baby body back (there’s plenty of time for that, if that’s your goal!). It’s about being a healthier and stronger, taking care of YOU, and getting good endorphins flowing.
Just say, “no.”
Feel free to tell people, “no.” You don’t have to accept every hand-me-down someone gives you, and you don’t need to take all the advice well-meaning people offer. You don’t have to go to every birthday party or play date. If you don’t feel like it, or it’s not the best time of day for you or your baby, feel free to decline the invitation and say, “no.”
As women, we are often people pleasers, which tends to lead us to saying, “yes,” even when we don’t want to do things. So, do yourself a favor and start practicing saying “no.” Not being overwhelmed, overworked, and more tired than you already are will benefit your baby.
Save time for fun!
Continue to do fun things or go out on dates with your husband or significant other. As moms, especially first-time moms, it’s really easy to get caught up in motherhood and neglect not only ourselves, but our relationship with our husband or partner. In the long run, that is not good for you or your baby. Your baby doesn’t need to have parents that have lost sight of their relationship. Your baby deserves to have happy, loving parents who enjoy one another’s company, so make it a priority to spend time with your partner, doing things that you both enjoy.
Maybe you don’t feel like you can get away from Baby and leave Baby with a family member, friend, or a babysitter, so do dates at home. Instead of just watching TV after baby is sleeping, play a game, put on some music and dance, do with themed movie and dinner night, cook a new dessert recipe… just DO something together that you both enjoy. There are tons of ideas for at home dates, but some of my favorites come from The Dating Divas.*
Along with saving time for fun, make sure you maintain your relationships with your friends. As Baby gets older, going out for coffee or lunch will become a little bit more work than it was when Baby was a newborn, but it’s still worth it. Or, instead of meeting up and sitting down somewhere, go for walks or window-shopping. Baby will be entertained by the sights and snacks or toys you provide and you’ll still have time to talk and catch up with your friend. Of course, if you can swing it, going out without Baby is great too!
Trust yourself and your instincts.
This goes for so many things, but I’ll stick to baby-related stuff. You know you best and you know your baby best. Trust that when in doubt. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion if you don’t agree with a doctor or are unsure about something.
Remember that you are enough. You are more than capable of teaching your baby everything he/she needs to know. When they’re newborns and infants, this is as simple as talking to Baby, playing with Baby, and including Baby in things you’re doing. Reading to your baby and talking about what you’re doing exposes your baby to a lot of new words and sounds, which is great for development. The more you include your baby into your day, the more your baby will be interested in what you’re doing and will be able to help you as he/she gets older. And, when they’re young, play is learning.
Go back to basics- play.
Another excellent way to set your baby up for success is to play with him or her. It helps your baby learn language and new concepts. Using open-ended toys instead of electronics is best because it allows for creativity, problem-solving, greater discussions, etc. Plus, the toys are open-ended, so they usually last longer. You’ll also learn more about what your baby likes, doesn’t like, and your little one’s capabilities.
Refraining from using electronic devices is great for Baby’s development (See, “11 Dangers of Screentime and What you can do Instead”), but it also makes life easier for you as your baby gets older. Why?
- Increased attention span (able to play by themselves longer too!)
- Greater problem-solving abilities
- More creative
- Lowered risk of expressive speech delay
- You’ll learn ways to include Baby into your everyday activities, which makes life with a toddler easier
- Increased independence in your child
If you’re interested in learning more about teaching your little one at home, please hop on over to my site, Lessons and Learning for Littles, where I write about all things related to teaching our little ones through play at home (because, as moms, we ARE enough and we CAN teach our little ones!). You can also connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
*Affiliate link for Imperfect Mom.