Let’s face it, those first few weeks (and months) with your newborn can be intense. To help, we’ve put together 10 New Mom Survival Tips. It’s everything we think you need to know that the books don’t tell you. We hope these new mom survival tips give you the confidence and reassurance to survive and thrive through the fourth trimester and beyond.
Trust your gut. You may be new to this Mama and feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, but here you are, and even if you don’t believe it, your mother instincts know just what to do. Your body knows, just as it did these last nine months of carrying your little one, exactly what your new BFF needs and wants. It’s biological, its instinct. It’s motherhood. Quiet the noise of social media and friends and family members that make you second-guess yourself, so you can hear what your gut says and get in tune with your baby.
Awake windows are your best friend. Arm yourself with some baby sleep information. If you can, link up with a sleep consultant in your area. New Mom School has access to the best consultants, with tried and tested methods. (You’ll meet them in our Newborn Class series.) We’re yet to meet a family our trusted sleep experts haven’t been able to help.
Practice the art of one-handed EVERYTHING. There will be a babe in your arms all.of.the.time. Sure, you can still go about your day, but it will be one handed! Put the kettle on, brush your hair, heat a bottle, load the washing machine—these things you are now capable of with one hand, Mama. It will surprise you just how adaptable you become. But please, take care of your muscles. Try not to favor one arm over the other. If you are patting your babe to sleep, try changing arms mid-session. It’s more than likely your arms have now had to sustain such repetitive movement at an angle that pre-baby you never had to think of. Baby elbow (think tennis elbow but without the glory) is a thing. And it is quite painful, so best to avoid if you can.
Create bedtime routines to bring consistency. But remember, this only applies from about 4 months on. Our guides and resources can help you here, but also our NMS community of like-minded Mamas can help you get through the fourth trimester with lots of coffee and camaraderie.
Accept any offering of food or help. And while we are on the subject, in turn, if you have a visitor— ensure their visit is a useful one. Don’t be afraid to put your visitors to work. You’ll actually find they enjoy knowing they were able to do something practical to support you during this time. Keep a written to-do list handy so when someone asks what they can do to help, you can hand them the list and ask them to pick something. My go-to items were laundry, dishes, dinner and groceries.
Be a team with your partner. Don’t make the mistake of doing it all! Because guess what will happen in a few months time… you will be the one doing it all! Also, Dads can feel a little redundant in the fourth trimester if you’re breastfeeding, so be sure to share the load with easy jobs they can do to support you. They’ll want to help you — but sometimes it can be hard to know what you need, so tell them. Hint: utilize the to-do list above for dad too.
White Noise. White Noise will be your best defense against household grumblings, on-the-go nap necessities and noisy siblings. Invest in a plug-in white noise machine for your baby’s sleep space at home, but don’t forget the portable battery operated version (or the app on a phone!). You will create a sleep space wherever you are. Perfect for naps on the go.
Keep meals stockpiled. Or better yet, organize a meal service or a friends and family meal train. It will be the saving grace on those nights (two words: witching hour) where you have every intention of having dinner prepped, but your little one that skipped their last nap has other ideas.
Let the baby sleep in your room. Your little one has existed for nine months in the comfort of your womb, feeling your feels, hearing every heartbeat, all tight and compact and safe. So it makes sense that when you place them in (what feels like) a gigantic empty crib space to sleep they are not going to exactly feel it. There is plenty of time to transition to their own room once they grow and your little one has “woken up” to their surroundings. At this stage, when your babe is feeding, sleeping and not accomplishing much else, just be kind to yourself. With the maternally exhausting 2-hour feed schedules of the newborn phase (that eventually pushes out to a much more respectable 3-4 hour feeds), just remember to be kind to yourself and save your steps! You don’t want to be pulling the body that is still recovering from birth in between bedrooms if you don’t have to.
Register for the New Mom School Newborn Class! Here we give you exactly what you need, and a lot of what you never knew you needed! We offer a space to connect with experts who can guide you every step of the way on your motherhood journey. Because it is such a transformative journey! But what cannot be understated is the support and solidarity you will find within our community. We match you up with Moms in the same stage of motherhood – within a 2-4 week range – so everything is relatable. Motherhood doesn’t have to be an island. Learn more here or get in touch to register and secure your spot now. Remember, Mamas, every stage is temporary. When it feels really hard—just remind yourself that you can do hard things! And that this is just a moment in time that is only temporary. But always remember you are not alone. The New Mom School will help you find your community.