The second a new mom sees their bundle of joy for the first time, a million thoughts run through their head. Just when they thought “Pregnancy Brain” was over, “Mom Brain” sets in and they realize the chaos hasn’t ended, it has only just started – as cliché as it sounds, it is the truth. They start wondering how the heck they will be able to care for this newborn while also finding time to care for themselves. More often than not, new moms don’t even have time to think about themselves during those initial few days home. Their mind is strictly on their little one and on all the little, specific details that go into being a perfect mother.
Even though there really is no such thing as a “perfect mother.”
On top of having chaotic “Mom Brain,” visitors are often in-and-out during those first few days home – family members, close friends, neighbors, co-workers. No one wants to miss a chance to snuggle up with an itty, bitty human (especially since that itty-bittiness only lasts for so long). On top of non-stop visitors, text messages, and phone calls also comes the need to figure out feedings, which diaper brand works best, and how to work that darn breast pump (if that’s the route mom decides to choose). No matter the scenario, one thing is clear: Motherhood becomes a whirlwind of emotions right from the start.
So, here is a list of 20 things most new moms fumble in their first few days home.
20 Moms Forget: To Get On A Pumping Routine
If a mom decides to breastfeed or use a breast pump, they have a lot more to prepare for than just finding a good pump to use. Pumping means making a routine, sticking to that routine, and not forgetting that routine as the day progresses.
Once a mom starts using a breast pump if they don’t pump every couple of hours or so, they may become incredibly uncomfortable.
Taking too much time between pumping sessions can make women feel not only uncomfortable but also sick or feverish. Since a new mom doesn’t have time to struggle with painful clogged milk ducts or mastitis (a condition that is one step further than clogged ducts), it is crucial that moms stick to a very strict pumping schedule.
19 Moms Do: Downplay “The Baby Blues” – They’re Real
Even though motherhood is an extremely exciting, joyful time, it also can be stressful and emotional for many new moms. No new mother wants to even think they will be one to face postpartum depression (or even be hit with the teeniest taste of those “baby blues”), but it happens more often than women expect.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “baby blues” is “a term used to describe the worry, sadness, and tiredness many women experience after having a baby.” If you do find yourself feeling these emotions, it’s important to remember how normal it is to feel that way. Slow down, ask for help, and find time to confront those feelings.
18 Moms Forget: To Drink The Coffee They Made Two Hours Before
So many moms rely on caffeine to get them through the day. Even if you are a breastfeeding or pumping mom, most medical professionals say that a small amount of caffeine is still okay to have – and new moms often take full advantage of that approval.
Between brewing the coffee, changing dirty diapers, doing the dishes, and soothing a newborn, moms often forget one critical thing: the coffee.
No matter what, a coffee-drinker is a coffee-drinker until the end. If they are allowed that one or two cups throughout the day, they will chug that lukewarm mug of coffee the moment they remember it is sitting there. Coffee to a mom is equal to milk, or formula, to a baby – without it, chaos will ensue.
17 Moms Do: Take Over When Dad Is Trying To Help
Sometimes, maternal instinct kicks in – hard. For many families (however, not for all), mom becomes the primary caretaker and creates a very strict routine for their newborn. Not only does a routine help the baby, it also helps maintain a new mom’s sanity.
And staying sane is very, very important.
With that being said, mom may start taking over without realizing it. She may automatically begin feedings or get the baby ready for bed even though Dad may have wanted to help. Since mom gets into such a routine, she may not realize how it impacts the precious time Dad wants to spend with his little one. Taking a step back and letting Dad have his bonding time is important.
16 Moms Forget: To Check Their Phone – And Answer Calls and Texts
If mom was someone who was always on her phone before and during her pregnancy, she may no longer find herself running to answer every text message every time the ringer goes off. If she always made time to scroll through Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, it may be a few weeks before those applications become as important as they were before.
Why? Because there is now a newborn that takes priority over absolutely everything.
This is not to say that she will not get back to quickly responding to people or posting pictures non-stop sooner rather than later. That first week home is a major transition period and it’s healthy that mom is taking time away from technology to focus on communication with real-life human beings.
15 Moms Do: Try To Lose the Baby Weight Right Away
According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “61% of new moms said they expected to be back down to their pre-pregnancy weight by the baby’s first birthday.” The poll continued to state that “nearly 60% were still carrying at least a few extra pounds” when their children were between the ages of one and two.
No matter how many polls or surveys or questions are asked, one thing is clear: Most new moms are hard on themselves when it comes to losing that baby weight. Before you race to the gym or plan to jump on the next diet bandwagon, remember that your body did an amazing thing and if you don’t hit the weight goal you had originally set for yourself, that’s okay. You have something much better than a beach-ready body: a beautiful baby.
14 Moms Forget: To Make Sure They’re Healing Properly
Whether a woman delivers her child naturally or with a cesarean section, appropriate healing and recovery is needed. There can sometimes be stitches or staples that need ongoing care and if mom neglects her own well-being, it impacts absolutely everything going on around her.
Including the well-being of her little one.
It’s easy for a new mom to forget about herself when she is focusing everything she has on her newborn.
However, it’s important mom really pay close attention to her postpartum recovery. By taking the time to make sure you are healing appropriately, you will be able to back to your “old self” quicker than if you were to neglect yourself altogether.
13 Moms Do: Post A Lot Of Pictures On Social Media
Many soon-to-be moms see moms posting photo-after-photo of their baby on social media and say to themselves, “I will never post that many pictures when my baby gets here.” Even though some moms end up following through with their word, more times than not, that mom ends up jumping on the bandwagon.
I mean, who can resist sharing pictures of their bundle of joy with the rest of the world when they’re just that darn cute?
If a parent is careful with their posts and is comfortable posting (simply knowing how many people really may see those pictures), then who cares if other people “get sick” of seeing continuous baby pictures pop up on their timeline? In truth, more people often would rather see an adorable baby than read political or negative statuses – so post away!
12 Moms Forget: To Buy More Diapers… Well, “Mom Diapers,” That Is
One of the terrific things about baby showers (on top of getting necessary, and usually pricier, items for the baby) is that parents often get gifted diapers on top of diapers on top of diapers. Mom usually doesn’t have to purchase diapers or wipes for a month or so. Plus, sometimes “Diaper Parties” will even get thrown for Dad if the baby shower isn’t “Jack and Jill.”
Diapers for baby is important, but so are diapers for Mom.
Maybe the correct term isn’t always diapers, per se, but rather than the largest, thickest, craziest looking pads women have ever seen. Depending on the hospital or place that a mom delivers, moms are given diaper-like underwear or thick pads to help with the healing process. Though the hospital will give them a few extra to go home with, mom sometimes forgets about her need for these items and focuses on the diapers for baby. Don’t forget your diapers too, Mom.
11 Moms Do: Compare Themselves To Other Moms And Their Baby To Other Babies
It’s human nature to compare yourself to others. Even the most confident person still may find themselves comparing their body or hair or skin to someone else. The same goes for new moms – and, unfortunately, sometimes their little one gets thrown into this.
Twin moms especially compare one twin to the other because, well, it’s hard not to. If one baby is babbling and the other isn’t, mom may start growing anxious. If a friend’s baby is starting to crawl and your baby (who is the same age) isn’t even close, you may immediately wonder why.
Moms – you need to stop comparing. Every single baby is different and will hit milestones at different times. Of course, this is easier said than done – same with moms comparing themselves to other women. It’s natural to compare, but it’s healthier to focus on your own self-confidence rather than focusing on comparisons.
10 Moms Forget: To Change Their Own Clothes
During pregnancy, some moms love trying to dress in cute maternity outfits – especially to improve self-confidence regarding their ever changing body. On the other hand, some moms absolutely despise dressing in anything but a t-shirt if they are home all day and ready to pop.
When baby arrives, mom tends to put all her focus into providing for that little one.
They also sometimes treat their newborn like their favorite little doll and continuously change their outfits throughout the day because, well, it’s fun.
What isn’t fun is looking down and realizing you forgot to change your own spit-up clad clothes for two days in a row. Even though it’s not as much fun to change your own clothes and focus on yourself during that first week home with baby, try to make time for yourself. If self-confidence is lacking, putting on a nice outfit or doing your hair for the first time in days can help.
9 Moms Do: Talk About Their Baby During Social Outings
When new parents finally get the chance – or finally allow themselves – to take a break from their little one to either grab coffee or ice cream, they have a hard time focusing on anything but the baby. This is normal and even though it’s healthy to talk about family, it’s also healthy to try to talk about something different.
However, this is much easier said than done as with most of parenting.
When out with friends, somehow every conversation unintentionally turns into a discussion about your baby. If a friend brings up work, you bring up how hard that sponge bath for Baby was. If a sibling discusses an argument they had with their significant other, you bring up how you and yours couldn’t agree on something for baby.
Try hard. Try really, really try hard to focus on something else for just that time spent apart from your little one. It doesn’t mean you love your baby any less.
8 Moms Forget: To Ask For Help When They Need It
After a woman delivers her baby, no matter the delivery method, she is drained and uncomfortable. Even though she feels this way, she typically wants to get up, get moving, and be with her baby as much as possible. If a new mom has a strong family support system, family members are often around to help during that first week home with the baby.
New moms – don’t ignore this help.
Take full advantage of it. It’s hard for new moms to fully grasp this because they want to do as much as possible to help their little one. If there is support available, it’s so important to take it. If you’re recovering from a c-section, you will want to rest and heal as much as possible. If you don’t take this time to rest, you could become feverish, overtired, and burnt-out.
And your little one can’t have their mama feeling that way.
7 Moms Do: Get Major Separation Anxiety
Just like babies, parents get separation anxiety when it comes to taking time away from their little one. Sometimes, the separation anxiety parents experience can be far more intense than that of their baby. According to Family Education, “if you have continually intrusive thoughts about your baby during the day, consider talking to your doctor or midwife. Some medical help may be in order.”
It’s important to take steps when you do feel anxiety coming on. Check in on your little one, but not to the point where it’s overbearing for the sitter. If you haven’t already, make the background of your phone their picture or watch videos now and then to maintain that sense of closeness, but try not to obsess.
But for a new mom, how can’t you obsess over your little one? It’s natural – and that’s okay.
6 Moms Forget: To Show Their Significant Other Affection
Before a couple has their baby, they often promise one another nothing will change between them. They promise they will still find time for one another and make sure they don’t just treat each other like roommates once their little one makes their appearance.
Even though many couples still do make time for one another after the baby has arrived, it is true that things do change.
Instead of cuddling at night, passing out before “I love you” or “goodnight” tends to happen. Instead of going out for dinner, a quick bowl of cereal tends to do the trick. This isn’t to say that the love stops or those emotions disappear, life just changes and those changes should be seen in a positive light. Finding a time once or twice a week to really focus on your relationship as a couple is important. Seeing each other as parents is a beautiful thing, but being able to still see each other as a couple in love is just as crucial.
5 Moms Do: Google Everything And Freak Out Over The Answers
The moment that baby is set into your arms, every question you thought you had the answer to seems to get fuzzy. When a new mom has access to the internet on every device they own, even though they know they shouldn’t, they will find themselves Googling everything (and if you’re a mom, you know that could literally mean everything).
If your baby isn’t eating enough – you probably WebMD it. If your little one’s poo is a funny color – you probably scroll through Mayo Clinic. Even though there are legitimate websites out there, the safest bet is to call the pediatrician. More often than not, the doctor or nurse will gladly answer your question or make time to see your baby if there really is a concern. Instead of Googling and searching every website or blog out there, try calling the professionals first.
4 Moms Forget: To Stock Up For Their “Friend’s” Return (AKA – Period)
According to Dr. Amina White M.D., “women who don’t breastfeed typically find that their period returns four to eight weeks after childbirth. For women who breast and formula-feed, it may take weeks to months for it to resume.” Moms typically do not expect their period to return for quite some time after the birth of their little one for the exact reasons stated above. Even though breastfeeding and pumping are huge factors in when that “special friend” returns, it truly is different for every woman.
So moms – be prepared.
For most new moms, a year has almost gone by before they have to think about their period coming back. Since new moms need to wear lovely adult diapers or super-sized pads during recovery, when they go back to purchase more of those wonderful items, purchasing supplies for when their period returns is also probably a good idea.
3 Moms Do: Focus On The Umbilical Cord
A newborn’s umbilical cord is definitely not their cutest feature and new parents often don’t really know what to do with it. They must awkwardly clean around it and make sure it doesn’t get caught in the top of the diaper. If a piece falls off, mom struggles with whether or not to keep it for memory purposes (yes, many moms do this) or toss it out so the family pet doesn’t see it and think it’s a dried ramen noodle for them to eat. And what happens if there is an infection or the stump is on far longer than it should be? What happens next?
“Most (pediatricians) recommend leaving the stump completely alone because alcohol is believed to irritate the skin and sometimes delays the healing. It will take some time (approximately 1-2 weeks) before the stump dries up and falls off,” states American Pregnancy. Therefore, new parents should do their best to wait that time out and not over-analyze the oddity that is curling from their newborn’s belly button.
2 Moms Forget: They Still Are Their Own Person And Not Just “Mom”
When a woman transitions into motherhood, they often forget about the person they were before the baby arrived. They sometimes push aside their interests because they have to focus on feedings and breast pumping and pediatrician appointments instead. Though most women are ecstatic to become mothers, it can be tough figuring out how to mesh their past in with their new, exciting future.
Even though you are now a mom, that shouldn’t mean you forget you are still your own person as well.
Finding time to squeeze in moments for the passions that pushed you in the past is important. Try to find time a few times a week (whether it be physically or mentally) when you can focus on who you are outside of being a mother. This doesn’t make you a bad person. This shows you have the strength to wear numerous hats and still maintain your sanity – something that can be incredibly tough to do for a mom.
1 Moms Do: Need To Make Time For Themselves
Once a new baby is in the picture, mom is often hooked. She wants to snuggle with her little one and learn everything she can about them before those precious newborn days are over. When someone offers to watch the newborn so mom can run out and grab a quick coffee, a new mom may decline the offer because, well, they don’t want to leave their little one’s side.
Even if this is the case, it’s important for new moms to accept offers that come their way. It’s healthy for new parents to take time away from their little one to close their eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. Relaxation for a new mom is sometimes visualized with their little one cozied up in their arms at all times. However, it is important to relax away from everyone else – including your beloved baby. This may mean taking the time to go through the Starbucks drive-thru or walk the dog for fifteen minutes; taking a bubble bath or napping when baby does.
Whatever it may be – it’s healthy and necessary for new moms to make time for themselves amidst the chaos known as motherhood.
References: Women’s Health Magazine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Baby Center/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Family Education, Parent/Dr. Amina White M.D., American Pregnancy