Raising a child is not easy. There is sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, postpartum depression and what not. The transition into motherhood can be overwhelming. Things often don’t go as per plan, and you’re forced to improvise. It’s only normal for new mothers to question their parenting choices and a few honest tips and advice from real moms (and not society) can take them a long way. It surely helps them realise that they are not alone.
If you’re a new mom and have been struggling lately, here are seven great tips to make your life easier:
Trust your instinct
No one will spare a chance to give you their oh-so-valuable advice. They might not even be mothers or parents! Whether you solicit it or not, you are going to receive it. You can listen and learn from their experience, but do what you think would work best for your baby. What might have worked for your friend might not work for you, and vice versa. Nobody knows your baby as well as you do, so if someone’s suggestion doesn’t sit well with you, trust your motherly instincts.
Be kind to yourself
The joy of motherhood comes with an unfathomable amount of stress. No matter how much you have been looking forward to it, things can feel different when it all actually unfolds. Don’t be scared if you don’t feel an instant connection with your baby or you don’t love every minute of it. The concept of an ideal, perfect mother is a myth, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
In the chaos, it is important to also be aware of how you are feeling. If you’re not feeling like your usual self and have been experiencing baby blues, don’t be ashamed to reach out to a qualified professional. Postpartum depression is as real as it can get, and it’s time we normalize this aspect of a woman's health.
There is no right or wrong way
Breastfeeding is ideal, but if for some reason you switch to supplements, that’s okay too. If your baby sleeps better beside you or without you, it doesn’t matter as long as they are sleeping well. There are no rules and you need to stop worrying about breaking them. Essentially, do what you think is best for you and your baby.
Take some time out for yourself
No, you do not need to spend every waking moment of your life with your newborn. Take that stroll in the morning or an hour of reading, remember to take some time for yourself every day. It’s easy to get lost in the humdrum of motherhood. Use this opportunity to get your partner to bond with the baby while you enjoy your alone time.
It’s okay to make mistakes
Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs in the world – and if you think you are going to do it without making mistakes, sister, you are mistaken. If you do make some mistakes, do not beat yourself up. Learn to laugh at them instead. Chances are, your child will grow up to be just alright. Nobody’s perfect, and while this might sound pretty cliched – you truly do learn from your mistakes.
Ask for and accept help
As the adage goes – it takes a village to raise a child. Asking for help does not make you a bad mom. Ask your partner to step in when you’re overwhelmed. That friend who offered to babysit? Take them up on their offer and use the hours to catch up on your sleep. Just because you can do everything does not mean you should. It is perfectly okay to ask for help now and then.
Have a support system
Build a close-knit group of people who you can call at the drop of a hat and vent to or ask for advice. It could be your parents, or your friends, or even other moms. Having someone to vent to can make all the difference. After all, when a mother feels supported, she can take better care of the baby.
(Edited by Neha Baid)