5 Helpful Hints for New Moms
Like any first time mom, I was riddled with parenting advice since the day we conceived. Some of the opinions were helpful and others…totally useless. While everyone and their mother will smother you with opinions, whether or not you ask them, ultimately it is up to you and your partner to chose the best path for your baby and family.
Before our son was born, I dove into researching sleeping and feeding schedules, breastfeeding techniques, baby development and whatever else I could think of at 2:00 a.m. I found multiple online articles promising to provide the “best advice” for new moms. The advice included lots of common cliches like sleep when the baby sleeps and accept help from others.
While I personally disagree with those two particular suggestions (which is another story), I didn’t find the majority of these “best advice” articles helpful. In fact, I found many of them redundant and useless. What I did ultimately find useful, were the opinions of friends and family, observations by families in our circle, and my own “mothers intuition.”
Here are 5 lesser-known pieces of advice that have dramatically helped us as new parents.
1) Set Babies Circadian Rhythm Immediately & Extend Nighttime
Newborns have no concept of day or night, so they need to learn and have their circadian rhythm “set” during first few months of life. This means making sure they are getting the majority of their sleep at night versus the day. Research shows parents can help set their babies circadian rhythm by making a clear difference between day and night.
During the day, our son napped in the living room where it was lighter and wore clothes (not pajamas). At night he would sleep in his crib with the room dark, in his pajamas. It also really helped us to extend “nighttime” as long as possible! After those early morning feeds, keep babies in their pajamas with the lights low and put back down for sleep. Get your newborn into the routine of going back to sleep after feedings when it’s nighttime. Once it’s time to get up for the day, change their clothes, turn on the lights, etc.
During maternity leave, our son and I wouldn’t come out of the bedroom until 11:00 a.m. At 6 months he no longer would sleep until 11:00 a.m., but he did sleep until 8:30-9:30 a.m. This was great advice that was given to us and it worked, but each family needs to set up the ideal sleep situation for them.
2) Go out!
Yes, enjoy those first precious few weeks relaxing, snuggling and getting to know your new baby. However, it’s important to get back to “real life” situations as soon as medically possible. Waiting for your baby to turn 8 weeks before going to the grocery store is only going to make going to the store harder. Challenge yourself each day to get a little outside your comfort zone. Try enjoying a dinner date before baby’s 2-week birthday and get a babysitter within a month. Just do what makes you feel like normal, pre-baby you! This will help your confidence and attitude as you adjust to having a baby in the home. Real life is going to hit you harder if you stay cooped up inside your house for baby’s first 6 weeks.