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Advice for a New Mom

From breastfeeding to when to call the doctor, some advice for new moms so they can worry less about whether they are doing it wrong.



New moms shouldn't lift anything heavier than their baby.

As a new mom there will be a lot of uncertainty. Am I doing this right? Is my baby eating too often, not often enough? Is he sleeping enough? Is she pooping enough? Should it be that color?

Here are some insights nobody told me that I wish I had known as a new mommy.

Ask for nursing help

Don’t hesitate to call the lactation consultant if you have any questions about nursing. Nursing doesn’t come naturally to every woman. Like most things in life, you fare far better with a little instruction. So don’t be afraid to ask.

“When I was in the hospital I asked for advice from every nurse who came to my room. Was I doing it right? Is the baby latched on correctly?’” says Lisa Banks, mother of two. “I left the hospital with a little more confidence about nursing,”

Call the doctor (or nurse)

If you have health concerns about your baby, don’t feel uncomfortable calling the pediatrician or nurse. Trust your instincts and call. It’s better to err on the side of caution. Always call the doctor if the baby develops a rash or a high fever.

Don't lift anything heavier than your baby

Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby for the first month. Your body has been through a lot and needs pampering. Also, as soon as the doctor gives the okay, start doing those Kegel exercises.

“Women do not realize they should be contracting their pelvic-floor muscles before they pick up their children,” says Sherrie Palm, founder and CEO of Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support (APOPS). “Any heavy lifting can create pelvic-floor muscle problems, particularly too soon after childbirth.”

Take a shower, every day

Take a shower every day! You’ll feel better, have more energy and definitely smell better. You might want to appoint a few people to remind you.

Accept help when it's offered

If someone offers help (dinner, laundry, or just to hold the baby while you shower or sleep), let him. Put the “I can do it all myself ” attitude on hold for this short time and get used to asking people for help. You’ll need to do it often over the next, oh, 18 years or so.

Don't be insulted by unsolicited advice

After you have a baby everyone you meet will offer advice. Don’t take their suggestions personally. You’re not doing anything wrong. Mothers love to dispense helpful information. Use what works for you and toss out the rest.

Grab sleep whenever you can

“Sleep when the baby sleeps. Who cares about the cleaning and the laundry, take a nap while the baby sleeps. You’ll thank yourself for it,” says Krystal Luster, a mother of two.

Be prepared for emotional ups and downs

Your hormones are on a wild roller coaster ride right now. You will cry for seemingly no reason at all, you will laugh, you might be overwhelmed and maybe even a little blue, all within 10 minutes. Don’t be alarmed, these are your hormones talking. This will pass, but if the baby blues persist, consult your doctor.

Tell your husband exactly what you need

This is not the time to hint and hope that your husband understands your wants and needs. If you need him to do something, you must ask.

“Men are generally not very intuitive, so if you tell him specifically what you want, you are much more likely to get it,” says Greg Bishop author of Hit the Ground Crawling.

Cassi Denari is a freelance writer

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