It’s really overwhelming bringing a little human home, the one that had been growing inside of you for the past nine months.
I was back home from the hospital with my little peanut in my arms, undying love in my heart, and an absolute blank in my head. I had no clue what was I going to do, what kind of a mother was I going to be.Fortunately, I did not have enough time to dwell upon that feeling, because you got to start learning and get going.
Throughout my pregnancy I was busy reading about “being pregnant” and completely forgot about “what’s next!”
The first year has been a roller coaster ride, but as they say at the amusement park, when you sit in a roller coaster you have two choices – you either shout your lungs out and let fear take the better off you OR sit back, scream in excitement and enjoy the thrill.
During the first year as a mom, I had my fair share of good and bad days. But there are a few things that I’d categorise as Hacks that helped me keep my sanity in place or atleast get it back sooner :
#1 Cry like a baby
Expect the unexpected and be okay with it! Ahhh! Easier said than done, I agree. But here’s a little thing that works for me. I cry it out. When I am mess, sleep deprived, yearning for a little peace of mind, I cry it out. When you cry you allow yourself to express your feelings instead of suppressing them.
#2 Make connections
I had a few cousins and friends who became moms before me, and yet being a new mom felt lonely sometimes. As much as I cursed social media, it came to my rescue then. I made new connections with like-minded mums through mommy groups. It’s easier to let out without the fear of being judged.
#3 Being more confident than ever before
Gathering advice from family, friends, neighbours and others can be beneficial, but no one really knows your situation or your baby better than you. And so what really helped me was to hear all the advice and have an ultimate say. I’d sometimes second guess or doubt my decisions. However I learnt, at the end, you have to trust your choices because you decide basis what’s best for your child.
#4 Accept help
I could have been born with motherly instincts, but they did not teach me how to nurse a baby, bathe her, feed her, pacify her, etc. I learnt them after becoming a mom. I learnt a few things from my mom and the others in the family. If there is well-intentioned help available, you must grab it.
#5 Formula is not an evil
No, I am not advocating formula feeds. Every mom has her own reasons to choose what she chooses for her baby. And that is her own decision with no room for another person’s opinion. There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of formula-feeding a baby.
#6 Nurse like no one’s watching
I decided to exclusively breastfeed my son for the first six months of his life. I was initially apprehensive about nursing outdoors. I’d carry expressed milk, or use a nursing cover to feed my son. A while later, it was just me, my baby, and my breasts (read milk supplies) If you get comfortable there is no one who can stop you.
#7 Take some me-time off
Even if it is only a few minutes a day, taking time out for yourself will help you bounce back as a better parent. Indulge in an activity of your choice, do it when your baby is asleep or you have help around.
#8 There is no such thing as a “silly question”
The sooner you accept this the more comfortable you will get asking all the doubts and queries you have. I’d say the paediatrician is the best person to answer all your questions, otherwise you could ask your friends and family you trust. I’d make a list of topics I wanted to discuss with my paediatrician a day before our scheduled visit. He’d patiently have elaborate conversations on all the topics. I guess he knew exactly how significant it was for me.
#9 Accept that it is okay for babies to cry
I had a colic baby and I know exactly to what extent babies can cry. I would rush to the doctor the next morning and he would calmly explain – if all his needs are met, just hold him close and he’d be okay. I would hold him but he’d cry and eventually go off to sleep. Soon I realised the best thing to do when a baby cries is to hold him upright and be there for her. Cooing, bouncing, making noises doesn’t really help, or atleast was of no help to us.
#10 Caffeine is okay but there are better choices
Now that your baby is counting on you, you have to take care of yourself to take care of her. Caffeine may make you that instant shot of energy, but try fresh air, good food and lot of water, they are way better energisers
#11 Use the digital world as a boon
A smart phone, google, Amazon, firstcry, babycenter, are all life saving with a kid. I have made the most crucial decisions on Amazon at 3 am with my baby in one arm and the phone in the other.
#12 Chill when your baby sleeps
This one works way better than “sleep when your baby sleeps”. I was very anxious, stressed, tired and worried to sleep during the first few weeks of being a mom. When my baby would fall asleep, the thought that I should sleep too weighed too heavy on my head. And ironically I could barely sleep. Instead, curling up in the blanket and chatting with a friend or watching my favourite show on television made me feel better.
#13 trim your nails
I realised in the first year of motherhood, that a baby’s nails grow at a rapid pace. But trimming my nails is as important as trimming his. The nail marks on his tender skin would hurt me as much as they hurt him.
#14 Don’t spend too much on baby’s clothes
I mentioned this just so you don’t feel as terrible as I did when I had to giveaway clothes my boy barely wore twice.
This one has not just been a survival hack but a game changer for me. There are different opinions about Babywearing that float around, but I strongly suggest you must not reject it unless you try it.