After reading a pile of pregnancy books, attending your childbirth preparation classes, and even touring the hospital delivery room, you think you’re ready for your baby’s arrival. You’ve got all the baby clothes, toys, and paraphernalia ready. The crib, mobile, baby bouncer, and even your breastfeeding clothes and bras are all lined up—just waiting for your little one to finally pop out and use them.
But have you stopped to think about how much of a rollercoaster ride the first few weeks are going to be for you and your baby? Real moms share what they believe will get you through those trying yet very exciting days.
1. Get help at home. Most Philippine households have help to do the laundry, dishes, meals, and even a yaya to help with the baby, but it’s also important for you not to worry about your household while you’re focusing on your newborn.
Rhea Bautista, mom of two-year-old David says, “It really helped that I stayed with my in-laws because I didn't have to think about running a household.” Rachel Tuason, mom of one-month-old Liam agrees, “Don’t be shy to ask for and accept help from your family, relatives, and friends.”2. Breastfeed. Justine Tajonera, breastfeeding consultant and mom of Badger, five, and Clea, one, says, besides being the best nutrition for your baby, “It's one of the best ways to get to know your baby.” Also, it’s the most sensible way to feed the little one. You won’t need to worry about bottles, sterilizers, and how much formula costs after that exorbitant hospital bill. At the same time, it will help you lose the baby weight because your uterus contracts while you breastfeed. We know it’s not as easy as it looks, but it gets easier when you know it’s the best thing for both of you at this stage in your newborn’s life.
3. Sleep when baby sleeps. You’ll surely have visitors dropping by at different times of the day, and the gracious hostess that you are, you’ll want to be ready for them. But take our advice and have your hubby handle the socializing. Both Tajonera and Treena Ongking, mother of five-month-old Carlo, agree: “Sleep when your baby sleeps. It works!”
4. Focus on your baby. Isn’t this what you’ll be doing the whole time anyway? Yes, but Tuason suggests taking it one step further. When you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed, she says, “Cuddle, kiss, and look at your baby's face often to help you remember that it's all worth it.”
5. Let go. If you’re like most moms, you’ll want to control everything and make sure the first few days with your baby will be perfect. The first lesson in motherhood is: you can’t control everything. And it is followed by the second lesson: because you can’t, then learn to accept.
“Don't be so OC (obsessive compulsive),” suggests Tajonera. “I realized that being OC doesn't achieve anything other than getting you worried. Enjoy being with your baby.”
6. Find a support group. Your husband will be your loudest and most loyal cheerleader, but only fellow moms will understand and coach you through what you are experiencing. Ongking says, “Outside of your husband and parents, you’ll need a support group comprised of girlfriends and a lactation consultant to whom you can turn to for advice and support.”
Tajonera says you don’t even need an entire gang. “Have your mom or your best friend at home with you. You don't have to surround yourself with a lot of people. In fact, you might be tempted to isolate yourself. But have one person baby you and take care of you too,” she shares.
7. Eat healthy. When you become a mother, you’ll find yourself putting your baby’s needs ahead of your own. And this is perfectly understandable, but what happens if you get sick or depressed? Who then will take care of your baby? Bautista says, “Find someone to make you healthy meals!” Tajonera adds, “Take Omega 3 which are fatty acids from fish. Your hormones will go haywire so prepare ahead and push away the baby blues.” Eating healthy will also increase your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding. And don’t forget to drink lots and lots of water.
8. Take a break when you need it. As much as your baby will need your presence, it’s important to remember that you need some me time too. Anne Santos, mom of three-year-old Tiago says, “It is definitely going to be overwhelming on so many levels, so take time out to breathe, pamper yourself, and take a break in whatever way you can—get a massage at home or watch a movie. You'll see, it'll make a big difference.”