Ellie’s going to be 8 weeks old tomorrow. I know that’s not really 2 months, but in my mind 4 weeks = 1 month. Either way, it’s a long time. One thing I found really hard was not know what to expect in general (or each day). I spent the first few weeks of our daughter’s life crying, questioning everything and totally doubting myself. Looking back, I wish I had just chilled out and let things happen on their own instead of trying to fix or analyze everything. So here are a few things I’ve learned over the past 8 weeks. Some are major and some are not so much. I hope these tips for first time moms – & moms-to-be – can save at least a few people from the roller coaster during their baby’s first few weeks at home.
1. Giving birth is really, really hard on your body.
Don’t expect to be able to do anything for at least 2 – 3 weeks after delivery. Take all the help you can get. It doesn’t make you a lazy person. You need to rest if you want to recover. So let people do things for you, even if you normally wouldn’t.
2. Don’t waste money on cute newborn outfits.
Trust me. It’s not worth it. They’re only going to get worn once or twice – if at all. They’re probably not very comfortable and will make it really annoying to change diapers (especially little dresses that require tights). Keep it simple and opt for a one-piece or simple stretchy-pants-onesie combo.
3. Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing.
Have some formula on hand. Even if you don’t want to use it. You’ll feel better knowing that it’s there. Plus, you never know how you’re going to feel at 3 AM when you’re convinced your baby is starving and all you want to do is sleep. If you think you’re baby needs a pacifier, give it to her. Don’t worry about the fact that “not supposed to” (see #5).
4. Don’t worry about getting your baby on a schedule.
At least, not yet. Let your baby sleep on your chest or in your arms (chances are they’ll sleep a lot better this way anyway). Enjoy it now because it doesn’t last for very long, and worry about getting in a routine later. Most likely a schedule will happen naturally over time, and if it doesn’t you can figure it out.
5. Trust your instincts.
Just like the pacifier thing, go with your gut. Try not to overthink everything and definitely stop googling (I know it’s going to be hard!). If something is really wrong, you’re going to know it. It’s pretty much impossible to be a perfect parent, especially in the beginning. You have to get to know your baby before you can really know what to do, and it’s okay to not have the answers for everything just yet.