15 Absolute Essentials For Life As A New Mom
No two women, pregnancies, labours or babies are the same. Of course, there are some common experiences but it’s important to remember that you are on your own journey with your baby, writes Sinead O'Moore.
You might feel like you’ve got it nailed or that you are completely winging it, but as long as you are listening to your gut feeling, responding to your baby's unique needs and making sure that you are maximising your own self-care then you are amazing!
If you feel like you might need a few extra tips and tricks for life as a new mom, read on!
1. Your Gut Feeling
Don’t ignore it, don’t doubt it, don’t belittle or silence it. It’s your inner Momma Compass helping to lead the way. Remember your body built this baby and did a mighty fine job, don’t discount its powers now just because baby is here.
READ NEXT: Did You Miss Being Pregnant After Giving Birth?
2. Your Partner
Having a child together changes things. For perhaps the first time you are no longer simply choosing each other, you NEED each other. Share the highs and the lows with your partner. Learn how to do this together, equally, with a sense of humour, low expectations, no criticism or judgement.
And remember your partner doesn’t always have to be the baby's dad. Your partner might be your mom, dad, sister or friend. So in those early weeks lean on someone you love.
Okay, fine. You need nutrient-rich food and LOTS of it. But while you are fuelling yourself with the good stuff forget any ‘bouncing back’ nonsense and for a few weeks at least just be kind, park the guilt and eat the cake.
4. New Sheets
Why? Well because you should be in bed as often as you possibly can be. Plus there’ll be leaky boobs, nappies, mini baby pukes, crazy night-sweats and postpartum bleeding. Nice! You might not get lots of sleep, but you can get lots of rest. So have lots of new comfy sheets ready to go, indulge in as much skin-to-skin newborn cuddles as you can and just let the days drift away.
READ NEXT: Registering Your Baby’s Birth In Ireland
5. A Giant Water Bottle
Never have I ever felt the thirst that comes from breastfeeding. And once baby latches you are trapped. So stay prepared and hydrated by investing in a large refillable water bottle, make sure it’s re-filled regularly and always have it within arms reach.
6. A Sense Of Humour
Your baby absolutely will have an explosive up-the-back nappy when you have forgotten to pack a change of clothes and have one wipe left. It’ll projectile puke on you as soon as you make an effort and put on something ‘fancy’. Your baby will cause you untold cringe moments. And you’ll perform an array of complete mom-fails. When faced with a laugh or cry moment, try to imagine that it’s happening to your best friend and laugh until you cry.
7. Travel Coffee Cup
Babies and hot drinks are not a good fit, which is really frustrating as you are likely to be relying heavily on your favourite tea or coffee. Buying a keepcup sounds basic but was a revelation as with a lid it stays warmer for longer, it didn’t leak everywhere while pushing the buggy & coffee shops now offer discounts when you use your own cup as it's better for the environment. Winning.
The joy of having two hands should not be underestimated. From getting stuff done around the house to making it so much easier when leaving the house, using a baby carrier gives you untold independence while your little one is comforted, safe, snoozy and close to you at all times.
9. White Noise
Since we realised the noise from the hairdryer was lulling our newborn into a sleepy trance, we have relied heavily on the magical powers of white noise. Expensive toys and machines are no longer needed – you can play it straight from YouTube, like 5 million other viewers!
Any item you could ever need or want, delivered to your door, purchased any time of day using just a scrolling thumb… what’s not to love! Plus you get to play, ‘What did I order during the night feed?!’
11. Feeding Station
Your little milk monster will keep you captive for many, many, MANY hours. Make sure you’ve gathered together your supplies in a handy basket and have it within reach before you sit down.
Lanolin, compresses, nursing pads, haakaa pump, snacks, water, phone battery power pack… whatever it is you need.
12. Safe Sleep
You’re so exhausted you would assume nothing could possibly keep you awake while baby sleeps. Wrong! The panic and anxiety over whether or not your baby is ok while asleep can wake the most sleep-deprived mother. Make sure you get as calm and contented a slumber as possible by following the safe sleep recommendations, use a monitor for peace of mind and sleep solutions that uniquely suit you and your baby.
13. Momma Care Kit
Your body went to war and has the scars to prove it. And your bathroom now needs a whole new set of supplies. Giant absorbent sanitary pads, nipple cream, breast pads, witch hazel, tea tree oil, the best eye cream you can afford, root boosting hair products… you won't know what you need until post-delivery but stock up on these essentials just in case.
It’s a rollercoaster with unbelievable highs and crashing lows. You’ll feel like a superhero followed by crippling self-doubt. You’ll compare your body, your sleep, your patience and ability to other moms you meet and on a bad day, you’ll think you’re completely useless. So please, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed, snappy, hormonal or balling your eyes out. Forget perfection and know that we are all winging it.
15. A Village
Becoming a mother can be lonely. But being part of Motherhood doesn’t have to be. Joining groups, asking if anyone wants to go for a coffee after a class, saying hi… they can all make you feel as awkward as you did chatting someone up. But that mom you are eyeing up might desperately be seeking company too. Online and social groups like the eumom Facebook community are amazing ways for you to share your triumphs and concerns.
Raising a child isn’t a solo sport. It takes family, friends (old and new), it takes a village. Build yours.