1.) Breastfeeding is some serious business. When they say that young babies will eat 8-12 times a day from the beginning, they aren't kidding. Couple that with extremely sore nipples, tender, engorged breasts, and a milk supply that takes several days to come in thanks to my c-section, you've got one stressed out mommy. To top things off, Abbey is an extremely fussy baby and even though she took to breastfeeding right away, it's been an extremely difficult process. Unfortunately, my milk supply just couldn't keep up with her demand. Despite our best intentions, this only led her to become frustrated and exacerbated her fussiness. After only two full weeks of exclusive breastfeeding, Mike and I made the very difficult decision to switch to formula. While it certainly wasn't the best choice, it turned out to be the best choice for us. Much like labor and delivery, this is one area of mommyhood that should be approached with an open mind.
2.) Don't underestimate the power of a good nap. While I had heard it several times throughout (and perhaps even before) my pregnancy to "sleep while the baby sleeps", I never really gave it much thought. Then along came Abbey and sleep completely dropped off my radar. While she'll take one or two longer naps a day (3-4 hours at a time), she wakes up like clockwork every 2 hours throughout the night for a feeding. After a few days of this schedule, Mike and I were both beginning to feel very run down. Take advantage of a good nap when you can get it! The housework can wait.
3.) Accept all the help you can get. For the first week and half after bringing Abbey home, Mike's family generously arranged a schedule of who was to cook for us and when. We didn't need to buy groceries or cook while adjusting to life with our new daughter and I will be forever thankful for this. Also, since I was still recovering from my c-section and Mike had to go back to work (on second shift) right away, my mom came over in the evenings for the first two weeks to help out with Abbey. She was a godsend.
4.) It's okay to tell would be visitors to stay home. If your baby is fussy or sleeping or even if you're exhausted yourself and need a break, it's perfectly acceptable to tell friends and family members that it's not a good time for a visit with your new arrival. If they love you, they'll understand. Heck, most of them have been in your shoes at one point in time and know exactly what you're going through. Regardless, they have the next 18 years to get to know your baby. What's one more day?
5.) If you need to cry, cry. Trust me - there will be times where a good cry will make you feel refreshed. Being a new mom is tough, especially with your first child. Just remember that things will get easier and that the newborn stage won't last forever. Cherish it while it lasts and take good care of yourself in the meantime.
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