10 Survival Tips for The Expecting Mother:
(1) Try not to be too nervous or afraid of what is to come (I know easier said than done) just remember you are made for this. From labor to being a Mom - you are literally made for it. That being said, expect the unexpected. Birth plans are great but no one can plan how things will actually happen. Be flexible and open minded.
(2) Don't be afraid to accept help and do not be afraid to ask for it. People will say "is there anything you need?" Say YES or "Is there anything I can do?"" Say YES YES YES!!! And don't be afraid to utilize tools. Go to friends or family for advise, call the Dr if you have any questions (who cares about the number of times - it is your peace of mind we want) Find GOOD online resources such as thebump.com they have a wonderful new mom survival resource section; check it out here. Also, I love a good parenting book. A book called "The Happiest baby on The Block" by Harvey Karp is a wonderful resource, in my opinion. And for a good price on Amazon, you can find it and read reviews by clicking here.
(3) Identify what you really need vs what you just want. You might want that expensive new cool baby gadget, but do you really need it? Take time and research. Baby stuff can get very pricey and you do not always need the bigger and better addition. Also, do not take the tags of any of the clothing, or open every package. So you can return them if they do not work for you and baby. I really wish someone had told me not too (or did I just not listen?) My daughter was born in late August so she received tons of the cutest sundresses and summer outfits I had ever seen in size 0 to 3 months. I thought she would definitely fit in them so I ripped off all the tags, washed and hung them in her closet. But when she was born she was tiny and did not fit in 0 to 3 months. So I had 2 outfits she could actually wear and by the time she fit in the dresses it was too cold to wear them. I also opened all of her pacifiers (I received 6 packs of the same kind!) and she hated pacifiers from day one. And I opened all of her bottles. Including both packs of the expensive Tommee Tippee ones she received - and she hated them!
(4) Take time to get used to it. Get used to being pregnant, get used to Motherhood. Some women make both seem like all sunshine and rainbows. Some women are overcome with overwhelming joy and love and such the moment they see their baby for the first time. Some women aren't. That doesn't mean you are not a good Momma it does't mean their is anything wrong with you - give it time. Everyone has a different experience. Do not do yourself the injustice of thinking you need to be like, think like, act like, feel like someone else. You are amazing!
(5)Take care of yourself! You are no use to anyone if you don't. Yes Motherhood is hard and you have a new little one that demands almost all of your time, but do not neglect yourself. Eat right, exercise a little, sleep, rest, take time for yourself even if it is just to pee (Seriously - I brought my daughter into the bathroom with me after she was born. EVERY TIME i went in there - ridiculous!!) And drink lots and lots and lots of water!
(6) Get out of the house. Even if it just for a little walk, even if it just to the mail box, or sit on the front porch. Get out of the house and break from the routine for a moment. Breathe in the fresh air - grab your sanity back and soldier on. Also, if you go out out, make sure to bring an extra change of clothes for yourself as well as the baby. Babies are messy - you may be a little messy postpartum; and that extra change is a security blanket. (although it is surprising how "meh" you become about having food, spit up, poop etc. on you)
(7)Trust in yourself and in your baby. Nobody knows what is best for you and your baby but yourself. Others will try to tell you what is best or what you should be doing. Listen to what they say but go with your gut. Trust yourself. A mothers instinct is a powerful one - trust it. This also applies to breast feeding. I breast fed and I am not saying one is better than the other, but trust in yourself, in your body and in your baby. If you do not produce enough their is nothing wrong with adding some formula too, my baby never had any problem with nipple confusion (she was bottle fed breast milk at day care) so do not think you have to do one or the other.
(8)Know that you are not alone. When you are pregnant everyone treats you like you are a fragile brilliant light. Everyone instantly gravitates to you and strangers flock to your side in the hopes of invading your space or to give some kind of advise or comment. Once the baby is born you may feel a little neglected after so much commotion but know you are not alone. Even during 3 a.m. feedings. It is especially important to make and take time for your significant other. Babies are hard on your marriage. you don't feel attractive or like you have the time or the patience or the devotion needed to upkeep your relationship. But don't forget about the one that made this baby happen. You are in it together and you need each other. I love the saying "The best thing a Father can do for their child is to love their Mother" and vice versa.
(9)Take lots and lots and lots pf pictures, and than take more pictures. Than backup those pictures, and back up your back up.
(10) Savor your pregnancy and your life after baby. Enjoy every moment. It really does go way to fast. So place your hand on your expanding belly and think of this moment and the life inside you, or gaze into the face of your little one. Take the time to take time. Live in the moment. Savor it. Treasure it.