ONE // This is the #1 piece of advise you will receive when you are pregnant. Please heed this advise: Sleep when baby sleeps. This is something I really struggled with, especially after my 2nd son. My labor and delivery went a lot better than expected, and physically, I was feeling pretty awesome (in comparison to my first birth). But even if you feel OK after the birth of your baby, your body is still healing and needs a lot of down time to recover from childbirth. You will feel the urge to "be productive" when the baby is sleeping, but believe me, the chores can wait. Your physical health is important!
TWO // Don't push yourself. This kind of goes along with the first one. If you are feeling tired, please, sit down and take a break. Again, this is a big mistake I made. I was taking Percocet for the pain after my births, and it worked well. So well actually, that it masked what was really going on with my body. I would feel totally fine and vacuum, play with the kids, go up & down the stairs.. so on. But then by the end of the day, I would feel like I was hit by a bus. So although the post-partum meds are awesome, don't be fooled into thinking you're superwoman. You just pushed a baby out of your body, don't push it!
THREE // Get out of the house. With your family or by yourself. I know that I just said to take it easy, but after a week or two, or three, being stuck in the house with your Husband and baby(s) (if you have multiple kids), you will all be going a little stir-crazy. Don't worry about getting dressed or putting on make-up, just go in your comfy clothes and visit your local park and take a walk, albeit a short one. Go grocery shopping alone, go get a pedicure. Whatever! But it is so important to get out and stretch your legs a bit, it's amazing how refreshing it will feel! But like I said in #2, don't push yourself too much.
FOUR // Ask for help. Not only will you be sore and exhausted, but you will be emotional and hormonal for a little while. Of course, you will be in love and amazed at your little human every day, but things are overwhelming when you first bring the baby home. Don't feel like you have to handle things by yourself. Ask your family, friends or even your older (capable) children for help! You are not a failure as a Mother if you need to rely on others for those first few weeks! It's normal to need help, and you will find that the people that love you are MORE than willing to snuggle your bebe for a little while, or do your dishes so you can rest.
FIVE // Embrace your postpartum body. This is less about the baby, more about you. But your confidence and self image matter a lot. So listen up! When I was pregnant with my first, I was under the impression that after the baby is born, POOF!... my tummy would just shrink back to the way it was. That is so far from the truth. Chances are that when you leave the hospital, you will still appear 6+ months pregnant. And it takes weeks (if not months, depending on the person) for your uterus to contract all the way back to the size it was before. Breastfeeding definitely helps with that, but even then, it takes a bit. So just embrace your body and that amazing job you did. You just birthed a tiny human!!!
SIX // Don't always believe what you read, follow your motherly instinct!! <---- This one is SO important. There is a ridiculous amount of trends & reading material out there on newborns and parenting. And while it can be really informative and helpful, it can also be contradictory and confusing and turn us new mom's into anxious, crazy lunatics. I truly believe that at the end of the day, our own instincts are often the right choice for ourselves and our baby. It's definitely okay to seek advise, but follow your heart when it comes to how you choose to do things.
SEVEN // Make time for your spouse and other children. A new baby at home is a big deal, no question. And as Mothers, we are usually the ones tending to them, nursing them, and soothing them. But through all of this, we are still wives, our spouses still exist ;-) When you're comfortable, plan a date night with your Husband/Significant other. If that isn't possible, try spending time together when the baby is sleeping. I mean really spend time together. Your marriage will thank you.
If you have other kids, they will most likely act out at some point after you bring the baby home. My oldest definitely did. And this is totally normal!! They are learning to share you with the new baby. Make special Mommy/older sibling dates. I had a really hard time with mom guilt in regards to my oldest son when I first brought Easton home. I felt like I was neglecting him (even though I wasn't). So I decided to take him out, just him and I, on trips to the park or to get frozen yogurt... whatever!... it doesn't really matter what you do, but you and your oldest will benefit from this greatly!
EIGHT // Less is more. People have this mentality that they MUST HAVE ALL THE BABY THINGS. And that can be quite daunting. Truth is, you don't need that much. Newborns needs a car seat, safe place to sleep, clothes to keep them warm, diapers & wipes, and food (whether it be breastmilk or formula). And that's it. Truly, that. is. it. Everything beyond that are luxury items and are NOT must-haves. Regardless of what you see and hear. So if you can't afford all those fancy shmancy baby rockers, strollers and swings.. don't let that stress you out! You will do just fine with the basics. Besides, all the extra stuff is expensive and most times, you won't end up using the things as much as you thought.
NINE // Take lots of pictures. You'd think this is a no-brainer, but when you're all caught up in your brand new baby, you might forget to take photos. Is this really a survival tip? Maybe not immediately, but it will be when your precious newborn turns into a stubborn 3 y/o and tries your patience at every turn. You will look back at their perfectly adorable button nose, and their squishy baby fat, and all the reminiscing will save your sanity when you're in the midst of toddlerhood. Trust me. ;-)
TEN // Soak it all up. I saved the best, most important thing for last. Now that we've covered the nitty gritty. Snuggle that baby every single second you get the chance. Don't feel bad to smell them often (because let's face it, babies smell amazing), hold them, sing to them, rock them, kiss them, and just love on them constantly. Cherish the tender moments with them and savor the brand new life you just created.
Hey Mama's, what would you add to this list?!