Going from partners to parents can be an exciting time! You’ve heard the first year is the hardest, but with a little insight, you can make it through with your sanity intact. From spoiling your newborn to the scoop on poop, check out this new mom’s guide, including advice from real moms, to help you through the good, the bad and the ugly.
You can't spoil a newborn – Despite the old adage that you can hold her too much, cuddling, carrying and responding to your sweet pea will build her self-confidence and strengthen your bond.
Swaddling – Also known as the fourth trimester, life outside the womb can be a lot to take in for a newborn. Learn to swaddle your little one and the transition will be a lot easier for her, and for you.
Must-have baby aids – When nothing else seems to work, getting your infant from fussy to content can be easier when armed with the right baby gear, like swings, bouncers and carriers.
Binkies – Although pacifiers are often given a bad rap, experts agree that it's okay to give your darling one for soothing, as long as breastfeeding is well-established.
High expectations … for yourself – Give yourself a break and recognize that your priority is to take care of your little ones. Words of advice: "Let the house go. You're going to be so busy with your baby that you won't have time to clean it as much as you want. Enjoy your baby and forget the dust bunnies on the baseboard." -- Leilani Haywood, leilanihaywood.com.
Breastfeeding can be challenging – Not all babies latch on automatically, but the good news is that lactation consultants and organizations like La Leche League offer support.
New roles – "I wish someone had warned me that a baby (or two, in our case) would put a strain on my marriage. You wake up one day and realize that you have been job-sharing instead of life-sharing." -- Jennifer Marshall, HappyMamaGifts.com
Visitors – You're a mom now, not Superwoman, so if you have family and friends lined up to see your little angel, accept their offers of food, bottle-feeding and giving you time for a quick nap. But don't be afraid to speak up when your family needs alone time, too.
Meconium – You know that poop happens, but you may not expect the tarry black surprise awaiting you in your newborn's first dirty diaper. Relax -- it's normal, has no odor and is expected in the first few days of your baby's life.
Soreness – "I wish someone had told me how much a mom has to heal in her nether-regions." -- Michelle Nicholasen, mom of five. Whether recovering from a C-section or a vaginal delivery, you need to give yourself time to heal in the midst of feeding, changing and bonding with your bundle of joy.
Emotional overload – "The one thing I have learned that is completely common -- but that no one tells you -- is that you will have a breakdown within the first two weeks of being a new mom and ask yourself 'Can I do this?' Almost every mom I talk to has experienced this, but no one tells you to expect it!" -- Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia.com. However, if you think you might be suffering from more than just that overwhelmed feeling and moving into post-partum depression, be sure to seek help.
No matter whose advice you choose to follow or which methods you prefer, go-with-your-gut parenting is the latest advice parents are following today. Ultimately, you should follow your instincts and enjoy the ride!
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