I have heard many describe new motherhood as the “most” of everything. For me, in my 9 short weeks of experience, being a mother has been the most beautiful, most exhausting, most testing, most hilarious, most humbling, most emotional, most transformative, most haphazard, most sacrificial, most meaningful, most intriguing journey into a new layer of my life, my marriage, and the new life God has blessed us with, our daughter Townes.
Beautiful because what could be more so than the most precious, God-given gift of a new life ?
Exhausting because newborns know no “circadian rhythm” so days and nights inevitably blur together into one giant stumble…to the fridge…for what again…? Why am I here? Nope, dry shampoo isn’t in here. (But we’ll get back to the dry shampoo.)
Testing because what could be more challenging on a marriage than multiple hungry, tired, dirty, hormonal (ok maybe that
was is just me) beings under one roof? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Who does what? Who gets up when? So much grace is needed for one another during this transition.
Hilarious because there’s no distinguishing between newborn farts and adult farts. And an 8 pound little baby girl farting like an old man is nothing short of hilarious.
Humbling because perfectionism (while it was always an illusion) is positively banished when a child is born. No more controlling, well…much of anything. When I shower. When I sleep. When I can finish this blog post. My rank has been drastically lowered. And that’s
so hard to deal with omg I’m no longer the center of the universe! perfectly ok.
Emotional because hormones. You are a crazy b, hormones, not Amanda, hormones.
Transformative because I will never not be a mom again. A dormant layer of myself I never knew existed began unfolding the day my daughter entered this world.
Haphazard because newborn life is all fits and starts. Half folded piles of laundry. Half unloaded dishwashers. Half formulated thoughts.
Sacrificial because my time and my body are no longer fully mine.
Meaningful because what could possess greater meaning than being allowed to steward this most precious gift? My heart has never experienced such boundless love and my soul, such wonderment and awe.
Intriguing because so.many.baffling.questions. And while there is an overwhelming amount of information and advice out there, I have realized that trusting my momtuition is, above all, the only way to maintain sanity and garner self-confidence in this new role.
With that said, below I’m sharing some essentials that have saved me during these most days of new motherhood… While these are things that have worked for me, I encourage you, above all, to do what works and feels best for you and your new babe!
- Help! // Whether it’s your hubby, mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, postpartum doula or friend, enlist a plethora of help in the first couple of weeks. Don’t let your pride get to you like it did me. You will be recovering from a MAJOR physical experience/surgery (not to mention are probably very emotional and hormonal), so activity is very limited. Also, have a friend set up a meal train for you! Leave an ice chest outside the front door in case you are sleeping or not up to having visitors that day. (Thanks to my doula for this tip!)
- Lactation consultant // While you are at the hospital, be sure to ask to see a lactation consultant if one doesn’t pop in. She’ll check baby’s latch and any possible issues that could hinder breastfeeding (ie tongue and lip ties). If, when you get home, nursing hurts like absolute hell and you’re tempted to throw in the towel, or just want peace of mind that all is well (like me) call a lactation consultant to stop by.
- A great therapist // I am a FIRM believer in the powers of therapy, especially during a monumental life transition!
- Several good nursing bras // I’ve tried at least 5, but my absolute favorite is this one by Bravado. It’s comfortable enough to sleep in but provides enough shape to be able to wear any time. For a nursing bra that covers all your bases (pretty/supportive/pumping friendly) I love this one by The Dairy Fairy.
- Boobie pads // Trust me on this one.
- Regular pads // Several sizes. Take the ones from the hospital too! (And mesh panties. Mmhmm, I said panties.)
- Round ice packs // Multi-purpose. For ALL the areas that need relief. Including tired/crying eyes.
- Postpartum herbs // Sitz baths are like heaven.
- Long/button down shirts and dresses // Clothes that are comfortable and have easy boob access are key in the first several weeks.
- Big water bottle // I love my Yeti and Hydroflask. If you’re planning on breastfeeding/continuing to breastfeed, your water bottle will be your best friend for a while. Hydrate constantly.
- Podcasts, Netflix // To stay awake during those late-night feedings. Sometimes I wanted a motherhood or baby-related, informative podcast. For those I love The Fourth Trimester, and Mom and Mind. Other times I wanted to just zone out with Netflix shows like Stranger Things, Parenthood, Grace and Frankie, etc.
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding // A friend/lactation consultant (Thanks, Kay!) recommended this book to me and I loved the insight!
- Wireless Headphones // So you can listen to your podcasts and shows with ease!
- Coconut oil // This is my stranded-on-a-desert-island product. I currently keep a jar of this in the shower. I used this for pregnancy (ZERO stretch marks) and then for cracked nipples and dry skin during those early breastfeeding days. I now still use it for moisturizing, removing makeup, oil pulling, and more. Reminds me of the way the dad in Big Fat Greek Wedding put Windex on everything. I do that with coconut oil. Cut? Coconut oil. Broken heart? Coconut oil. Boss driving you up the wall? Coconut oil. Let your imagination run rampant.
- Bedside Touch Lamp // This night light touch lamp is THE best. It has saved my toes and knees during nighttime feedings. I even ordered another for the nursery. It charges with a mini USB and will serve well into toddlerhood, I’m sure. It even comes with cute little face stickers.
- Breastfeeding Pillow // I love how structured this one is. It even has a little pocket!
- Manual Breast Pump // I love my Spectra hospital grade pump, but honestly, this manual pump is my favorite! Way less cumbersome if you are on the go. Also, be sure to use this website to see if you qualify for a free breast pump through insurance. They take all the footwork out of it!
- Easy grab-and-go snacks // Especially during the first several weeks when you are up around the clock, your body needs nourishment around the clock to sustain your energy and milk production. My protein-packed energy truffles were like little life-saving nuggets of chocolatey goodness. Extra bonus points for the oats and flaxseed that boost lactation.
- Multi-Use Cover // Great for nursing on-the-go, covering up the infant carseat, etc.
- Dry Shampoo //Whoever invented this stuff must have been a mama. Life. Saver.
- Undereye concealer // I’m not a big beauty product aficionada but this.stuff.works.