Five Tips for New Moms

Written by: Jocelyn Alt

As a doula (Jocelyn) and a lactation consultant and therapist (Peggy), we’ve worked with hundreds of women as they have become new moms.  Here are our top 5 tips for making the shift to motherhood as smooth as possible:

1.     Blaze your own path.  Once you have a baby, it seems everyone has an opinion about parenting.  “Let him cry it out.” “Never let him cry.” “Go back to work.” “Don’t leave your baby.”  Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the often contradictory advice, try instead to get in touch with your intuition.  When you allow yourself to listen to it, you’ll often find you know innately what is right for your child and your family.  As Jill Churchill said, “There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.”

2.     Bring it down a notch.  Many women feel that they should be floating along in a constant state of bliss after they have a baby.  Well, let us be the ones to break it to you.  No woman is in a constant state of bliss after she has a baby.  Bring your expectations down a notch – or two.  It’s ok and normal to have a range of feelings.  Recognize that in meeting your baby’s basic needs you are fulfilling your job as a new mother, regardless of how difficult it is sometimes.  In the words of Rosanne Barr: “I feel that if the kids are still alive when my husband gets home from work, then hey, I've done my job.”

3.     Let yourself watch Gossip Girl.  It may look a lot different from other jobs you’ve done in your life, but being a new mom is really hard work!  And it doesn’t usually have predictable times built in for rest and rejuvenation.  So give yourself permission to watch that episode of Gossip Girl while you breastfeed.  Take a slow walk around the block.  Hire a babysitter and get a pedicure.  Your time for yourself may have to be in smaller chunks than it was before, but it’s vital to make sure you get it, so that you can return refreshed for yourself and your baby.

4.     Give them a grocery list.  Before the baby is born, start identifying people you can rely on in the first months for help with grocery shopping, cooking, childcare, etc.  When the baby arrives, follow through.  Give them a grocery list, call them to babysit, ask them to do the laundry.  Many people want to help and you can show them how.

5.     Make some mommy friends.  In Australia, every single mother has the option to sign up for a Mom & Baby group as part of her national health insurance benefits.  Here in the U.S., you usually have to take more initiative to make connections with other new mothers in your area. You may have heard the adage that “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Starting early to find your own “village” can help you find camaraderie and support for all stages of parenting.

For more information about Jocelyn Alt (a certified doula and the founder of Ohana) and Peggy Healy (lactation consultant and therapist), visit www.OhanaParents.com. What tips would you give a new mom? Comment below. 

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 8:57 AM