5 Mothers On The First Month With A Newborn
Our family is mostly through our first month with a newborn and once again it has been a time of awe, exhaustion, learning, and newness. It’s also a time that can be full of challenges, anxieties and questions. Which is why we wanted to gather five other mama’s experiences with their own first months - some with their first child and some transitioning to more than one. As one of our mothers reminds us - the most incredible part is what we are capable of.
Svenja, mother of two, NYC
Words to describe the first month? Overwhelmed, blessed, grateful (especially after 2 miscarriages before my first), happy, tired, exhausted - pretty much all at the same time!
I think you totally prepare yourself for the lack of sleep but once it happens, it just feels different from what you thought. For me, the first 4 weeks flew by and were doable, but the real exhaustion kicked in after 6 weeks... right when the babies start smiling. Nature is smart!!!!
My mom was here for 4 weeks and was a wonderful help! Prepared meals from friends also helped a lot. Nothing better than over-ready homemade lasagna.
I guess I was/still am able to “enjoy” the night with all the wake-ups; more so the second time around. This time I do know that time flies, they grow up way too fast, and you have to enjoy every single cuddle you can get!
Loved (and still love) the MYLK LABS oatmeal for that first month. Delicious and so good for nursing. Drinking tons of water and taking a deep breath here and there helps, too.
April, mother of two, NYC
First month with a newborn...WHOA!!!
The first month was like a ton of bricks hit me and a big love fest, but I will tackle it from a newborn with an older child standpoint.
The first piece of advice I can give to a mom with a newborn (regardless of how many kids you have) is to not let anyone over without giving them something to do when they get there and making them bring you food. Have people put laundry in, take out the garbage, vacuum, or hold the baby while you nap. Whatever works for you, but don't let them just come over and hold the baby while you entertain.
One of the best pieces of advice I received from my doula was that if you already have a child and are expecting your second, tell everyone coming over that they get to play with the oldest. They will need so much love and attention, and not just from you and your partner. New faces and people can be like new toys, so tell everyone to play with the older child.
We did this with everyone and it felt like the adjustment for our oldest to his new brother was easier because people weren't just coming over to see the baby. They were coming over to play with him. It must have been exhausting and not what our friends and family wanted, but we didn't care - our oldest needed more love from more people than he ever did before.
Leigh, mother of two, Boston area
My overall feelings of that first month - whiplash. I'm only 2 months out and I barely remember.
I had moments of intense sadness missing one-on-one time with my first, overwhelming happiness and love, holy sh** tiredness and a whole lot of, "OK, this is the new norm, let's do this."
Something that was different from the first time around was my patience, mostly my lack of it for my first. I (probably unfairly) started to expect more of him perhaps since he's the "older" one.
But what was the same was how incredible you feel for CREATING A HUMAN. How you can stare at them for hours (well OK not for your second because let's face it…your first) but still, how in awe you are of your new babe!
Advice I have: Lower your expectations. You may not leave the house for a while, you may be late when you do, you may put your kids in clothes you wouldn't dream of once upon a time, and you may not care in the slightest. Enjoy the chaos, live for the sweet moments the siblings have with one another and each has with you and/or your spouse. Oh, and coffee. And wine.
But I wouldn’t change anything!
Some products/services that were helpful:
-a wipe-down changing table. So much easier than washing the cover 1,000,000 times.
-a very minimal diaper bag for carrying around and then 2 individual bins in the car with each child's needs, like diapers, change of clothes, snacks, toys, etc. That way you're not constantly lugging a huge duffel around along with multiple children.
-a wrap for keeping baby close and happy while playing with my first.
-nursing clothes. I got by with regular "training" bras and normal clothes with my first. Having shirts, bras, even leggings has helped with fast, easy nursing without the need for a cover in public.
-the Milkies Milk Saver. Amazing for collecting the excess from your non nursing side to help with engorgement.
-APNO: The holy grail helper for all nursing woes.
Zoe, mother of 2, NYC
The first time you literally have no idea what you’re doing. You don’t understand about milk production and how your body produces milk, when to pump, when not to. How to take care of your nipples. The latches, the creams, the routine.
The first time is so, so hard. You know nothing. I still remember being in so much agony with my nipples and the shooting pains I’d get down my legs every time she latched. I remember asking my friend after 4 days, “how long is this going to last?”... and she said 4-6 weeks. I mean in that moment, I totally understood why some people don’t continue. And fair enough!
The first time you also have so much time. So much time to be with your baby and to learn and understand and watch. It’s properly amazing. I remember crying all the time out of pure amazement and love... and fear. Fear that if that baby was taken away from me for some reason, that I would never recover.
The thing that was more than my expectations was the love. It is so hard to imagine that you could feel that way about anything. It is love on another level. The feelings of protection and purpose and responsibility. To be needed like that and the returner of love. It’s insane. The best feeling in the world.
What helped the most was my husband, family, and one of my best friends who had just been through it. I couldn’t have done it without them and I am forever grateful for that support. They made it such a happy time and one we did together.
My husband’s work wasn’t so crazy at the time and it was the most special time we had together. He loved it as much as I did, and I think I loved him even more when he became a dad.
The MammaBaby app was amazing. It helped me keep track of feeds and which side was up, how long I’d fed for, etc. It was especially helpful when everyone kept telling me the baby was hungry and I had a time stamp of my last feed, so I knew it must be something else.
Tara (More Please Mama) , mother of two, Hoboken, NJ
I remember going from one to two during the first month and thinking, “what have we done?!”. We finally had it down and we added an (adorable) baby into the mix. The mom guilt was real - torn between feeling like not playing with the toddler enough and not sitting and staring at the baby enough. It was like I was letting everyone down a little bit.
My 2-year-old stopped napping once the baby was born (great timing!), but I realized that became special one-on-one time for us.
Then my cousin with older kids (who always gives me the best guidance) told me that things are different and you just have to find your new normal. It was such a simple thought but it really helped my perspective. I was able to slow the days down a bit and realize my older son was learning how to be a big brother as I was learning to be a mom of two.
We were all transitioning and the new loves only made our family dynamic greater. I didn't expect my oldest to love the baby instantly, but he did and it's beautiful to see love continue to grow.
Moms are amazing. We can do anything.