As I write this I almost feel guilty. You don’t need one more piece of advice. You have too much information available at your fingertips. Think back through your pregnancy, or even before your pregnancy, when you were flooded with different apps about due dates and weekly progress reports. The ads started kicking in and all of a sudden your social media changed from vacation ideas to cribs, strollers and ALL THE STUFF YOU NEED WHEN YOU HAVE THE BABY!!! It’s a lot. I know. So I want to talk specifically to the mamas who are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information and go back to the basics of what you HAVE to do and what you WANT to do. Both are important, but maybe realizing how to split up your lists will help you enjoy this transition into motherhood.
- Call your insurance company and ask about their mom-to-be programs. You may have full access to a nurse that will walk with you throughout your pregnancy and can talk to you about how to increase your water and caloric intake, how much to exercise, comfortable sleep practices and when to call your Ob. She may call you monthly, then weekly, but is available any time to answer all your questions. This is a service your insurance company is providing for YOU, specifically geared with your needs in mind, and will help you stay off the GOOGLE and lessen the amount of stuff you are cramming into your doctor visits so you can just enjoy the baby’s heartbeat and getting your belly measured!
- While you’re on the phone with your insurance company, talk to them about lactation consultants. Most insurance companies will pay 100% for a lactation consultant to give you prenatal education, post-partum assistance and all the questions in between. A lactation consultant can come to your home and help learn how to best feed your baby and it is COVERED!!!! Again, there is a reason. Breastfeeding a baby isn’t the same for every mama. You have needs that are specific to you and so does your baby. Why not use this service that you have already paid into and find a consultant that will help you meet your goals.
- Learn how to say thank you…and mean it! But just because you said thank you, doesn’t mean you agree. Or that you plan to follow the advice. It just means you are genuinely grateful that this friend, coworker, family member, random old lady at the grocery store, and your weird uncle care about you. Examples: Friend: “You HAVE to get this book on sleep training! My kids were sleeping 12 hours a night by 7 weeks of age! It is a game changer!” Mama “Thank you!” See how easy that was? Aunt: “Are you going to breastfeed? I hated it!!! It was so painful. People say it’s the best, but you’ll see! I brought you some formula so that you can get some rest at night and let your husband feed the baby.” Mama “Thank you.” No other words are needed. I could give you a million different examples of when a thank you is plenty, but I’m guessing you’ve already thought of a few.
- Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength! Think about a time when a friend asked you for help and you felt amazing being able to help her. She provided you with an opportunity to make a difference. So your postpartum period is a chance for you to let people feel needed. It isn’t just about you…it’s about giving them purpose! I know that is an odd way of looking at it but it is so true. When friends call me with nursing questions and then are happy with my advice, it makes me feel good. So let that friend make you a meal train or drop you off some gift cards. It will help pamper you so you can pamper that baby…pun intended!
- When you aren’t certain that things are normal or going as you planned, don’t immediately grab your phone to look up information. Arm yourself with knowledge of who to call and under what circumstances. When you are discharged home with your baby, each of you have packets of information being sent with you. But let me try and simplify. Is something off with you? Swelling, pain, headache, bleeding, sadness??? Call you Ob/Gyn. Is your baby not sleeping, eating, peeing, burping, acting how you think they are supposed to be acting? Call your Pediatrician. Questions about what products to buy for baby wearing, nursing, supplements, sleeping, exercising, etc? Ask your new besties in your online support group. Chances are that same question has been asked previously and the other mamas are happy to give you their thoughts. It’s a part of ‘paying it forward’. And finally, do you have questions about your baby’s eating? Is he getting enough? Are you making enough? How do I know????? Call your lactation consultant and she can help guide you through a plan that is specific for you and your baby.
Above all remember that all your baby needs is you, mama.
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