If you’re a first-time mom, you might feel overwhelmed with everything baby. What can and can’t you do? What are the best practices? How can you care for your little one in the best way? These thoughts might whirl around in your head, and you’re not quite sure where to settle.
Being a new mother is overwhelming. There are a lot of things to remember, consider and keep in mind. Fortunately, every new mom goes through these stages. But with the help of a partner, fellow moms and of course, every book, article and YouTube video under the sun, you can find your way along this new path of motherhood. To get you started, here are some helpful baby tips we put together for first-time moms.
Ask for help.
The first piece of advice sounds easy, but can actually be very challenging to execute. Simply ask for help. This is your first time caring for a newborn baby around the clock. Chances are you will have plenty of questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. Ask your doctor, ask your family, ask other experienced mom-friends. Text, call or video chat everyone you know when you have a question, until you feel fully comfortable.
Wash your hands.
Newborns do not have a strong immune system yet, and can often be susceptible to infections we might easily avoid otherwise. Protect your little one by consistently washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before handling the baby. Additionally, make sure everyone who holds the newborn has clean hands, too. (We’re looking at you, Grandma!)
Bond with baby.
Bonding, intimacy and attachment are critical to a newborn’s emotional growth, which also affects their development in other areas, such as physical growth. Bonding occurs during the first few hours and days after the baby is born, and establishes a strong emotional connection through physical closeness. Bond with your little one by cradling the baby, gently stroking him or her and having “skin-to-skin” contact.
Learn how to swaddle.
Like bonding, swaddling is another soothing technique that’s useful for first-time parents. Wrap your newborn in a light, soft blanket, with only the head peeking out. Keep the baby’s arms close to the body, while allowing for some movement of the legs. Swaddling mimics a baby’s environment in the womb, making him or her feel safe, calm and comforted. It can even limit the startle reflex, which can wake a baby.
Set a schedule.
One simple, yet effective strategy for first-time moms is to set a schedule for your baby. During your maternity leave, be sure to bond and relax with your little one, but establish a daily routine the baby can adapt to. Include habitual times for feeding, playing or going for a walk, and the baby can also adjust to regular times with pooping and sleeping. As your little one grows, you will be grateful for having a set schedule from the beginning.
Sleep when baby sleeps.
The cardinal rule of early motherhood: sleep when the baby sleeps. Fortunately, newborns sleep an average of 14 to 16 hours per day. Unfortunately, these tend to be for short increments at a time. So, be sure to take advantage of every opportunity you can to catch some ZZZs. Lie down immediately after you put the baby down, and sneak in little naps whenever possible.
Being a first-time mom is a daunting responsibility. There can be lots of thoughts, questions and emotions running around in your head as you try to care for the little life in front of you. Thankfully, you are not alone in this. When in doubt, turn to your resources and feel free to ask for help. Keep these tips in mind as you explore the new wide world of motherhood, and help your baby thrive.