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Being a first-time Mom can be overwhelming in so many ways. Whether you’ve just given birth or grown your family through adoption, those first few months that baby is home can be an emotional roller coaster. In the blink of an eye, your life has been turned completely upside down. You suddenly find yourself responsible for this tiny, fragile little human being, which can be wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. While there is no “magic book” that will give you all of the answers, you CAN develop your own #FormulaForHappiness early on. Here are a few tips that I wish I could go back and tell myself as I came home from the hospital.
- FORGIVE – First and foremost, don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go exactly as you want them to. I can promise you – the little things won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. So what if the diaper wasn’t on exactly right and baby wet her pajamas? It’s going to happen. Shampoo in the baby’s eyes? It’s okay – it’s not the end of the world. Practice forgiving yourself for what seems like the unforgivable early on and you’ll be in MUCH better shape.
- SLEEP – If you’re anything like me, the thought of not always “doing” is scary. But when the baby is asleep, YOU need to sleep. I know it’s tempting to try and put her in her crib when she falls asleep on your chest after she finishes eating so you can get housework done. But the reality of it is the dishes can wait. Baby can watch you fold laundry from her bouncy seat. But when she’s asleep, take that time to catch up on your sleep. Being well rested is so important – you need to be on your A game so you can handle all of what your bundle of joy may throw at you.
- CHERISH – The thought of 3:00 am feedings may be intimidating. But trust me – they don’t last for long. Cherish those moments – take a minute to breathe it in. Bonding with baby when she’s this small is SO important – make her feel safe, secure and loved. And remember: she won’t be this small forever. One day, you’ll wake up and seemingly overnight, her short, chubby baby legs will have been replaced by the long, muscular legs of a toddler. Enjoy that one-on-one time with your baby while she’s too young to argue with you about sitting in your lap.
- INDULGE – Okay, so maybe eating out or ordering pizza isn’t your most favorite thing to do. But believe me – those first few weeks after the baby’s home, you’ll be so busy trying to find a routine that dinner will be the furthest thing from your mind. And those dishes I mentioned above? Cooking will make the amount of dishes you have sitting in the sink grow exponentially. Order a pizza or have your significant other pick up takeout from your favorite restaurant so you don’t have to stress! You can get back to your old habits after you and baby have developed a
- ACCEPT – For some of us, accepting help from others is HARD. But take my advice – accept all of the help you can get!! If someone wants to bring a meal, let them. If your mother wants to come over to do laundry or cut the yard, let her. If your mother-in-law offers to watch the baby so you can go to the grocery store, let her. It doesn’t show weakness. On the contrary, it shows a great deal of strength of character for you to admit you can’t do it all on your own.
While you can read all of the baby books and hear all the advice in the world from your friends and family, sometimes it’s better to call in an expert. Gerber has an awesome program called Gerber Good Start where you can make a free appointment with Gerber® Good Start® Gentle’s new certified baby sleep consultant, or with their nutritionist or certified lactation consultant if you have any more concerns and/or questions you would like to be answered by a professional! You can find all the information on this wonderful program at www.gerber.com/experts.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to raising a child. All you can do is make decisions that are the best for baby and hope she understands it when she gets older. Just remember to love unconditionally, be patient, and don’t blink – you’re liable to miss some of the best moments of your child’s life!!