Whether it’s for the first time or even the fifth time, becoming a mom will put you into all sorts of new experiences. Some may be daunting, and others will be precious moments that you’ll want to hold onto forever.
To help ease your mind, check out these 10 things new moms should know.
1. It’s Okay to Choose Formula
You’ve probably heard over and over that breast milk is best for your baby. Breast milk does provide a ton of nutrients that cater to your baby. It’s why the woman’s body produces milk during pregnancy.
However, getting your baby to latch on isn’t as easy as some people make it seem. Be prepared to switch to formula if breastfeeding isn’t working for you. Your baby needs food, and if feeding them formula is the way for them to get it, then that’s okay!
2. Take Care of Yourself, Too
As a new mom, you’re going to put your baby first, which is entirely understandable. Those motherhood instincts kick in, and you want to be there for your baby at every cry and movement. For some, caring for a baby is a lifelong dream.
Remember to take time for yourself, too. Your health is just as important as a baby’s. Shower, brush your hair, change your clothes every so often, eat a healthy meal — take care of yourself, especially during your pregnancy and within those first few weeks of having a newborn.
3. Gather a Support System
Whether it’s your spouse, friends, family members or a support group on social media, make sure you gather a solid support system for you and for your baby. The best way to get support is by reaching out and saying “yes” when someone offers to help.
Additionally, you can join an in-person support group of new moms. Your baby is portable. You are allowed to get out of the house. Sometimes all you need is a group of people who know exactly what you’re going through as a new mom.
4. Know Your Body Will Experience — Weird — Things
Your body experienced new changes throughout your pregnancy. You have or had another human inside of you, shifting your organs and making you run to the bathroom every hour. Some women even experience so much pressure that they get hemorrhoids.
Know that your body will continue to change post-birth. You’ll likely sweat a lot, have a drastic change in hormones, have some constipation, and you might even lose some hair. Know that these are all normal changes.
5. Bonding Takes Time
Every baby is going to take their own time to bond with you. For some new moms, this happens immediately. For other moms, this can take a few weeks. Bonding always happens, though, no matter how long it takes.
Hold your baby often and give them all of the love and snuggles. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you if you don’t have that instant bond.
6. Your Body Will Still Look Pregnant
As much as moms wish it would, your body won’t snap right back to your pre-pregnancy body. You’ll have to give yourself a few months for your body and your hormones to go back to normal.
After giving birth, you need time to recover. The gyms and parks will still be there once your body is ready to take on any form of exercise. Just focus on you and your newborn for a while and that new mom glow!
7. Your Experience Will Look Different From Other Moms
It’s challenging not to compare yourself to other moms, but remember that your experience will look different. No two people are exactly the same, so no two moms are the same either.
Do what’s best for you and your baby. Additionally, all of those books you read about milestones are just there as a rough estimate of when babies will start to lift their heads, eat baby food or begin walking. Babies are going to reach those milestones when they’re ready.
8. Sleep Deprivation Is Real
Newborn babies sleep a lot, but they also eat a lot and go in their diapers a lot. Every few hours, you or your partner will have to get up to tend to the baby’s needs, meaning your sleep will be interrupted often.
Also, sometimes, new moms can’t sleep out of worry for their baby. Whether you have a calm or fussy baby, you likely will have an irregular sleep schedule, so you might as well wait a few months to get you and your baby on a sleep cycle.
9. You Will Learn to Love Motherhood
Motherhood, just like life in general, has its ups and downs. There will be days where you’re frustrated beyond belief. There will be days where all you want is a few solid hours of sleep.
There will also be days where you look into your baby’s eyes and fall deeper in love with the life you created. And there will be days when all you want to do is snuggle your baby. Not much compares to what it means to be a mother.
Becoming a Mom Changes You
All of these things are part of the journey of motherhood. The truth is you won’t know everything there is to know about being a mother as soon as you give birth. Motherhood is a journey. Enjoy every precious moment of it.