Once upon a time I was a new mom. Eleven years ago in the middle of hurricane Rita, I became a mom for the first time. My daughter was born at the military hospital on Fort Polk, LA. It was 110 degrees outside with no air-conditioning or running water. The hospital only had emergency power. With only emergency power the hospital couldn’t run the air-conditioning.
Let me tell you, giving birth for the first time in 110 degree heat and very little lighting is quite an experience. Despite all the complications due to weather, I brought a healthy baby girl into the world.
When it was time to leave the hospital, we had no where to go. I couldn’t take a three day old baby home to house with no air-conditioning or running water. Not knowing where to go, my husband and I drove around in our air conditioned car for over an hour. Later that day we moved all of our belongings into a new house. So, within three days I had my first baby and moved into a new house.
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Since then we’ve welcomed two more girls into our family. With the birth of each of my daughters I felt somewhat like a new mom. I had the basics down, like changing diapers and feeding, but still had that new mom feeling.
I’d like to put my years of mom experience to good use and offer you some tips and advice. You can take my advice or leave it. Every mom must figure out what works for them. What worked for me may not work for you, and that’s fine. Do what you feel is right.
As I just said, do what you feel is right. No amount of advice or tips can prepare you for the journey your starting. Your mom instincts will kick in and you’ll know what to do, and if not just wing it.
Sleep when your baby sleeps. This is advice I heard over and over, it’s worth taking. Naps will be your best friend. Not only will you be tired from lack of quality sleep but your body is still healing.
You need to decide if you’ll formula feed or breastfeed. Don’t let anyone tell you should do it one way or the other. Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you decide to formula feed.
If breastfeeding isn’t working for you don’t feel guilty for quitting. Your baby will be healthy either way, and it’s important that you’re happy too.
The days after you have your baby you will encounter every emotion under the sun. I remember sitting and crying for no reason. Just ride the emotional roller coaster and know that it won’t last forever.
My daughters all loved to be swaddled at bedtime. Having their arms wrapped up tight helped with startling and kept them asleep longer. We loved using these swaddle blankets.
Create and area at home that you’ll nurse or feed your baby. Keep your phone, a book, some water and a snack handy.
Don’t freak out if you wake up in the middle of the night with your boob hanging out. Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. There’s something about feeding a baby that puts me right to sleep.
If you need help, ask for it. Because we are a military family, we live across the country from most of our family. Luckily for me I had some amazing friends that were willing to help out once my husband returned to work.
You may not feel an immediate bond with your baby and that’s fine, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. With my first daughter I didn’t feel that immediate bond, but with my second and third it was love at first sight.
My most important piece of advice is to be gentle with yourself. You’ve gone through a major life change and your body is still recuperating. Give yourself time to heal and adjust. Pamper yourself when you’re able to and remember that you’re a mom now, an amazing mom.