Holding your baby in your arms for the first time is one of the most beautiful moments new moms and new dads experience.
But after you take your baby home, you'll find you need to make many life adjustments, and it's not always easy.
These challenges can feel overwhelming for new moms at times, and it feels like everything in your life has changed.
You're not alone.
Here are 7 common struggles new moms face and some advice on how to cope with these challenges to relieve some of the stress.
1. Breastfeeding Can Be a Struggle for New Moms
You've probably heard from every family member and friend that you should breastfeed your baby. They say it's healthy for babies and they are right.
Research reports that breastfeeding is healthy for your baby's brain function and helps babies bond with new moms.
To you, it might not feel like the best way you want to bond with your baby. You may prefer singing to your baby rather than pulling out your breasts every other minute. Or you may also have the expectation that breastfeeding is so easy and wonderful. Sometimes new moms feel like their breasts are a 24-hour drive-through restaurant and would prefer to have scheduled feeding times, but this isn't always realistic. Babies can get hungry anytime of day!
When you first begin breastfeeding, it can feel unnatural (ironically) and take a bit of time getting used to. This often makes new moms feel tense and frustrated. Not to worry mama, take some time to listen to your baby's cues for hunger and if you can, set up a nursing area to get used to nursing. The more relaxed you become, the more happy you will be when nursing, and the more oxytocin your body creates, the more milk!
If you're worried you might not be nursing correctly, you can always find a lactation consultant to show you how to nurse properly. She will also let you know when you are doing a good job, which can provide some added comfort. Getting the right latch and knowing some ways to boost your milk production will be key in your breastfeeding success.
If you feel confined and want to get out of the house, there are many outdoor places to get some oxygen and nurse your baby. The fresh air will do you both good. Add some comfortable and stylish nursing friendly clothing to your wardrobe so you can nurse in public and feel completely confident in those beginning days if you are unsure how to start.
2. You Expect Yourself to Be a Supermom
Many new moms expect too much from themselves. They feel like they have to be perfect in every way and don't take any time out to relax.
They sing to their babies, read to them, nurse them, change them, clean the house, and perform an array of household tasks and other responsibilities.
New mothers often think if they're not doing something for their babies at every moment of the day and night, or if their house is starting to look a mess, that they're not being good mothers.
If you find yourself doing this, you need to stop the insanity and make time for you!!
Toss that guilt away!
Everyone needs a break. Put your baby in the crib, or baby bounce seat to play. Babies love them.
Take time out to shower, wash your hair, elevate your feet, read a magazine, and relax. Use your baby monitor. Babies cry a lot. You'll learn you won't have to get up everytime your baby starts crying.
Another idea is to talk to an experienced mother. She can tell you what to expect, what to let go of, and what to be concerned about.
And by all means, ask your spouse for help! There are plenty of things dad can do for breastfeeding and new mothers to get in more self care time.
If you are frustrated and feeling bad because you are going back to work, which is so very common for most moms, know that you can still provide your baby with nurturing and breastmilk while being a working mother.
3. New Moms Feel Fatigued From Lack of Sleep
Before you had your baby, it's likely you slept through the night. This often changes when your baby comes home.
Babies wake up at different times of the night and some stay up all night. No doubt, this causes new moms to feel fatigued.
You'll have to learn to adjust to your baby's sleep and wake times. Don't clean the house when the baby's sleeping.
It sounds crazy, but that's your time to sleep! Have your partner step in for a "shift" in order for you to get a little shut eye. If that isn't possible, consider hiring outside help like a mother's helper, even for a just few hours, or have a family member help out, so you can get some rest.
Eat healthy, nutrient dense foods in order to help with not feeling even more tired. Junk food is a tired maker! Take a stroller walk when you can and fill up on something like a milk boosting acai bowl to give yourself the needed energy, especially when cat naps are not really an option.
4. You Blame Yourself When Your Baby Isn't Happy
New moms are big worriers. When their baby cries, experiences gas, or spits up, they think it's their fault--that they've done something wrong. They've eaten something that's hurting their baby.
These baby actions are normal, so you can relax. Though, if you want to eat healthier, here are some foods to avoid when you are breastfeeding.
A tip to help baby feel cozy is to buy a baby wrap to put around both you and your baby. You can still breastfeed while baby wearing. It also helps baby feel more comfortable after leaving the womb.
Your baby is making adjustments too in this big wide world.
5. Romance with Your Significant Other Has Vanished
You thought that your baby would bring you and your spouse closer together--and it will, but sometimes things aren't as you expected. A new baby can be the cause of riffs in your relationship. You're not going out on Saturday nights, anymore. There's no time.
New mothers sometimes get mad at their partners for being unsympathetic to the amount of work they do to take care of their new baby. Let's be real...your partner is fast asleep next to you as you sit there nursing your baby on your lap.
This can be the cause of arguments; this surely puts a damper on carving out the time for romantic date nights.
On the other hand, many new fathers feel neglected. You're spending 'all the time with the baby' and your husband 'never gets any attention'. New fathers often feel ignored, miss your smile, or a soft kiss every now and then. Never mind taking time out for sex. This can be a topic for an argument.
Some partners are clueless as to how much energy the baby takes out of you. Others do understand and help with the responsibilities of your baby, but still feel the romance is really lacking. These are some of the challenges new mothers experience with a new baby.
So what to do? The important thing is to communicate with each other.
Building a positive relationship during this time of transition takes honesty and assertiveness. Holding your feelings inside because you are too tired can backfire into a problem.
It's important to still have fun with each other and your newborn. Give your partner bath time duty, skin to skin time, and play time with baby so you can get a minute to refresh, he gets bonding time, and in turn both of you will have a bit more energy and rise in endorphins from the happy time both of you get with baby. Get your partner involved so it's a team effort and make if fun!
Even if you are breastfeeding, your partner can get skin to skin time and if you pump, mix it up with who feeds the baby. Sharing these moments will surprisingly bring out even more love between the both of you.
Get outside...walking with your significant other is so therapeutic. Wrap that baby up and go for a long stroller walk in a park, beach path, or other setting that isn't the house. This allows time for you and your partner to see other human beings! Hold hands, talk, and just breathe the fresh air together. Go get some pizza and hang out while baby is content in his/her carrier.
And while at home, order some food for delivery along with a good movie, a few candles, and get cozy on the couch. Maybe this won't be everyday, but once in a while this relaxing moment will do wonders for bonding time.
If you can swing it, try some grocery delivery so neither one of you need to leave the house because any relief in chores will be a positive in bringing you two closer together.
In conclusion, remember to communicate with your spouse, take time out to rest and do self care, seek advice from experienced mothers, and find lactation support as needed.
Keep going! You're doing great mama!