Becoming a parent is incredible. You’ll experience a rollercoaster of emotions that range from love and affection to insecurity, sadness, and fear — sometimes all at once. Your baby will have something to say about this as well. One minute your baby will seem like this angelic bundle of joy, only to turn into a wailing tyrant later on. Surviving the first week begins with your own expectations.
During the first few months of your baby’s life, expect the unexpected and try letting go of preconceived notions. You and your baby are just getting to know one another, and this takes time and patience. It’s an adjustment, to say the least. Set realistic goals and take every day, bit by bit.
Keep necessities on hand
A little preparation can go a long way, especially at first. Even before your baby comes home, make sure you have enough diapers, baby clothes, diaper rash ointment, natural and medicated colic relief drops, sanitary pads, and breast pump accessories. Sterilize everything you plan on using, including baby bottles, pacifiers, and your breast pump accessories.
Compile a list of important phone numbers, and keep it somewhere where you can find them. This includes numbers for your baby’s pediatrician, your OB/GYN and midwife, your lactation consultant (if you’re using one), and family members.
Plan easy meals
Stock up on freezer-friendly meals that are easy to pop in the oven. Having a variety of meals handy when you don’t have the energy or brain power to cook will save you a lot of frustration.
Set visitation hours. It’s important to have enough time and limits for when you want to introduce your baby to the world. That way you know you’re getting some rest.
Ask for help
Don’t be shy — many moms feel terrible about asking for help. You are not expected to do everything, let alone do it right. Your priority right now is to take care of yourself and your baby. So if you need help, ask!
Take a break
Leave your baby with your partner or someone you can trust so that you can take a walk alone outside. This helps break up the longer days and helps give you a sense of fresh air.
Let out whatever emotions you’re having. Whether you’re overwhelmed, sad, frustrated, ecstatic and happy, talk about it with someone. This will help you normalize your emotions. If some of your thoughts and feelings scare you, let someone know because you need support during this time.
Get plenty of rest
You’ve probably heard of the advice “sleep when your baby sleeps,” and although it may work for some, other moms can’t sleep. Still, try to relax by reading a book or magazine or watching a movie. What’s important is that you get your rest. This time flies by, and before you know it, you’ll become a pro at helping your baby develop and thrive.