Mom Essentials To Surviving The Newborn Season
As you may or may not know, we just had our first born son (birth story and updates to come) and we're still in the midst of newborn season. However, even though I'm only two months into Motherhood, I feel like I've learned SO much and have so many things I want to share and encourage other new mamas out there with. So I'm excited to share a few really simple, but powerful things that have been really helpful for me in this season of newborn motherhood.
Before we get started, I wanted to take a quick moment to thank Mr. Coffee® for sponsoring this blog post with their Mr. Coffee® HotCup! Please know that all words and opinions shared here are my own.
So without further adieu, let's get into the tips!
#1. What you hear is definitely full of truth & wisdom: Sleep When Baby Sleeps!
This is probably the #1 tip any seasoned mother will say to you, and if you're like me, you'll roll your eyes a bit when you hear it (pre-baby, that is).
However, there is SO much truth and wisdom in this statement (well, more so when you do the action). Sleep is super important.
And with a newborn? Sleep is pretty limited.
So I decided that whenever he's sleeping and if I'm tired, no matter what's on my to do list (other than prioritizing eating - which we'll get to that in a second) I sleep.
I know, I know - it's hard not letting the million things you want to get done take priority; however, I've found that no matter how many times I do the dishes, laundry, catch up on orders, etc. - there's always more to do.
But getting that sleep? I never regret that. My mood is infinitely better and I definitely think I'm a better mom because of the extra sleep cycles I snag in when I need to and can.
I've further helped justify it (during the moments when the house is particularly messy and I need a little more convincing) that sleep is a form of self care (which it is) and that I can't pour out from an empty vessel. When I take care of me and get sleep (which will still be chopped up, naps or no naps) then it really is helping me be the best mom, wife and friend I possibly can be.
Also, it keeps me healthy and from getting sick... Cause being sick in the newborn season really doesn't sound fun.
And let me say a quick encouragement if you're still having a hard time sleeping: it does get easier. In the beginning, I took several naps throughout the day. Now, two months in, I only occasionally take one nap a day if I'm tired (esp. if the previous nights sleep wasn't great).
So listen to your body and an honor it!
#2. Don't forget to eat! Make this another top priority.
I have never been the kinda person that doesn't eat. I love food and I don't do well without eating. Even when I'm sick, I've never been that person that "doesn't feel like eating."
However, somehow since becoming a mom, this has fallen to the bottom of my priorities. With limited time to myself, I suppose I simply don't feel like taking the time to make a full meal, because it's inevitable that as soon as it's ready and I sit down to eat, he wakes up. #epitomeofmotherhood #alwayseatingmealscold #butImgratefulthough
So what I've found to be extremely helpful are these three things:
- a) Have a friend set up a meal train. Our community group did this for us and it was game changing, especially in the early weeks when cooking a well-balanced and warm, nutritious meal was not on my mind (the early weeks are pretty much just survival mode as you figure things out). So a meal train was great for enjoying hot meals and an added bonus? No messy kitchen to clean up afterwards! Just leftovers in the fridge.
- b) Cook and prep freezer meals (beforehand, if possible). I did this before Malakai was born and I'm so glad I did! When the meal train ran out, or there were a few nights between visits, this was nice to pull out because again... minimal dishes, effort and eating a hot, healthy meal. Now that we're getting out of the early newborn weeks, my plan is to start bi-weekly meal prepping to keep the freezer stash up for rainy days when we don't feel like cooking. It's just really nice to have easy, healthy meals basically ready to go.
- c) Lastly, and possibly most importantly: healthy snacks! If you're breastfeeding, this is especially crucial as you need to eat every few hours to keep up with your milk supply. But even solely bottle feeding, newborn stage is crazy and can feel like an endless cycle of eat, change, sleep (for baby) and like I mentioned, cooking/eating isn't always a priority. So having healthy, high protein/fat snacks for you to hold you over between meals is great!
#3. COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE!
I'm a big coffee drinker, and that definitely hasn't changed in motherhood.
What has changed, however, is how we've been brewing our coffee.
Right before Malakai was born, Daniel and I got into roasting our own coffee and brewing it every morning on a scale with a pour over. But since Malakai was born... It's been the coffee pot life with bagged coffee. That's just our reality in this season.
So when Mr. Coffee® reached out to talk about their Mr. Coffee® HotCup, I was definitely down for it! This machine makes 6, 8, 10 or 12 ounces of coffee, so I can easily make myself a single cup to the size I want (usually based on the previous nights sleep). It's pod free, which I love, because we aren't wasting any plastic and can compost the grinds (which my garden loves).
And one of the other benefits? I can make my coffee one handed and quickly! Malakai is in my arms first thing in the morning for cuddles and feedings, so it's been great to be able to make coffee quickly and enjoy it hot (well, at least the first few sips are hot - I never realized how accurate it was in motherhood to reheat your coffee 5x a day).
Anyways, coffee is a big deal for me in the mornings (it's one of my favorite things about mornings) and I'm grateful to use this Mr. Coffee® HotCup machine whenever I need to quickly make a single cup of coffee.
If you're interested in purchasing one of these machines for yourself or a new mom, just click the link here.
#4. Give yourself grace & lots of time.
Whether that's grace on your body during the somewhat awkward transition from pregnancy to post pregnancy, realizing that your baby has been crying cause he still needs something basic (and you only just figured out what it was), or whatever it is... Motherhood has a lot of ups and down, and I think the most important thing is to be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.
There's definitely a learning curve with motherhood (and with each child) that no amount of research, advice, tips, etc. can prep you for. You just have to experience it to figure it out.
Figuring out your routine definitely takes time. Getting your body back in shape again takes time. Juggling all the things and letting go of things that doesn't matter takes times. The hormone rollercoaster takes time to even out.
It's all a process, and the important thing is to give yourself (and your spouse) grace to be a newbie at all of this and not have all the answers... because they don't magically appear overnight. It takes patience and experience to continue on stronger than you were before.
But that won't happen well without being gracious to yourself and those around you, first.
And I encourage you to find joy in this season and all that comes with it. The stretch marks, sleepless nights, the rollercoaster hormones, all of it.
Someday it'll be just a memory - whether it's a fond one or one that proved your toughness (or both) it'll definitely be one for the books.
#5. Ask for help.
This one was (is) still hard for me, but it's crucial. While you probably could attempt to do all the things yourself, you don't need to. And you shouldn't.
Like I mentioned above, it's important to give yourself grace and let go of things that don't matter. However, there are plenty of things that DO matter that do need to get done (like you do need to eat, shower, etc.) and if that isn't feasible on your own, ask for help!
I know it can be hard to ask for things, big or small, but if you're wanting to ask it - then I encourage you to go ahead and do so!
Whether it's a question you've been having, needing help with something, or literally having someone hold your baby just so you can have a minute (and your body) all your own for a second... You know in your gut what you need and what would be helpful for you.
You don't have to do this on your own. So don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help wherever you need to.
And goodness, if someone offers to help without your asking - take them up on it!
While we are notorious in America for offering things half-heartedly, I would be surprised if someone offered help and then you said, "Actually, could you come over sometime this week to help me with X" that they would fight you on it.
You're no less of a mom for hiring a babysitter, someone to clean your house, dropping babe at daycare, having a friend or relative come over, etc.
We need others to thrive, and I think this is especially true in motherhood.
So give yourself grace and a small slice of humble pie that you don't need to be a one-woman show. Asking for help is brave, mama.
#6. Last, but not least: Make time for you.
In motherhood, this looks different for everyone.
Big or small, it's important to find time to do things that fill you back up. I'm sure you've heard the saying, "You can't pour out from an empty vessel." Or when you're on a plane, and they say you need to put on your oxygen mask before putting anyone else's on, because you're no help passed out (harsh, but true).
So let's talk examples:
For me, a small "me time" moment is getting my cup of coffee in the mornings. I love and cherish that first cup and enjoying my "quiet time" (though that definitely is less quiet now) with Jesus and coffee. I prioritize this because it fills up my tank to get me through the day. Plus it's a little thing that truly makes me happy.
I also really love grocery shopping and missed it during the first 4 weeks when I was pretty much housebound. So that's another small thing, silly as it sounds, that fills up my cup.
I've learned to go out to hang with friends (with Malakai as an adorable tag along) or ask friends to come over to visit, because these things also fill up my tank. Plus it's nice talking with other moms who understand this season, or friends who genuinely ask how we're doing.
Maybe for you it's taking the time to work out (after the 6 week/doctor approval mark). Maybe it's asking someone to babysit so you can get a pedicure, or take a really long bath and actually shave your legs.
Whatever it is, make yourself a priority. And do so regularly.
Sure, this will look different than before and might be less frequent... But I've found that little things (like showers and coffee) can feel like big things in this season.
Don't feel guilty about taking time for you.
Remember, you can't pour out from an empty vessel (or help without oxygen).
Well, that's it! Those are my top tips for surviving the newborn season well.
Is there anything that you would add to this list? If so, comment it below - I'd love to hear what you found to be helpful!