Having your first baby is tough. You have a whole list of new responsibilities with far less sleep and freedom than you’re used to. Feeding your baby might be harder than you ever imagined and the time between feedings is so incredibly short. Plus, you still have to take care of your home, pets, social obligations, and potentially work. Everything may seem new and overwhelming.
Anxiety, stress, and fear are common for new moms. Know that you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to make this time easier. Mental health is something to be taken seriously, and here are some ways to improve your mental health as a new mother.
The most important thing you can do during the first year of motherhood is to connect with other moms. There are mommy groups in most areas that you can join to meet up with other moms in person, such as MOMS Club. There is also an infinite number of online Facebook groups for moms to connect and discuss what’s going on in their lives.
Experienced moms can offer tips for getting rid of a bad diaper rash or cradle cap, as well as talk about the reality TV shows you watch during a late-night nursing session. Simply search “moms group + your city name” on Facebook to find national and local groups to join.
There are even support groups on Facebook for specific diaper brands, clothing brands, and breast pump brands. Connecting with other moms can help you remember that you’re not alone and that you, too, will get through these tough first months of parenthood.
If you do some research into your community’s local resources, it might surprise you to find free lactation consultant services, playdates, developmental assessments, car seats, clothing swaps, classes, storytimes, and support groups.
Many communities have different names for the organizations that facilitate these programs so you may need to ask around. For instance, Baby Cafe is a national program that has free lactation consultant services across the United States.
Above all else, always remember that this is just a season of life and that it, too, will pass. The late nights, colic, and your baby's constant need to be picked up will pass sooner than it seems possible. So will the best newborn cuddles and that newborn smell. Try to take a moment of reflection to memorize these moments for everything will change again in a few short months.
There are many neat baby products available on the market that can help. Whether it’s a baby sleep suit, a comfortable baby carrier, or a new style of bottle, you never know what your child prefers until you try.