Hello! I hope you had a nice holiday and are ready to ring in 2011!
I did it. I survived my first year of motherhood. I also pulled off Madilyn's first birthday party the day after Christmas. Whew! Now I need a nap!
It's hard to imagine that one year ago, we brought little Madilyn home from the hospital, all of 8 lbs. and 3 oz. She didn't do much except eat, sleep and cry. I was impatient and wanted to see her smile and to play with her. Well, fast forward 12 months. Madilyn is now over 20 pounds and while she still eats, sleeps and cries, she's added many more interesting and cute activities to her repertoire, including smiling at our dog Charli, calling me "Mum-Mum" and saying "touchdown!" during Steelers games (yes, seriously)!
As we approach the end of 2010, I am taking a moment to look at all I have accomplished this year. Below are a few I am most proud of:
* First pregnancy
* Had a baby
* Moved to a new house
* Built my health counseling business
* Built my new website
Becoming a momma for the first time is by far my proudest accomplishment. Below are a few of my top tips to survive the first year of motherhood. Enjoy and share with any new mommas that you know!
1. Accept that yes, a baby will change your life.
Before I had Madilyn I thought that I was busy. Wrong! I think one of the biggest changes I had to deal with is letting go of a perfect schedule. I have to be flexible now. Many young, professional couples profess that having a baby will not change their lives. They will rise above being baby-centered and retain their previous interests in world politics, sporting activities, the environment, work issues, and social events.It will change. Furthermore, all of the changes are not for the better, like cleaning dirty diapers and waking up at 6am on Sunday mornings. However, the positive changes far outweigh the temporary inconveniences of raising a baby. The important thing to remember is that, yes, life has changed with a baby, but it won't be forever and it is so worth it.
2. Make self-care and healthy eating a priority.
Yes, I hear it all the time. "I don't have time to cook." "I don't have time to get to the gym." Sorry to be so blunt but you gotta make the time. We are not going to get more time in a day. The trick is making it a priority. Remember, you don't have to be super mom and make dinner every night and run a marathon with a 10 week old. Just cook a few simple dinners each week, eat fresh fruit, take a walk, take a bubble bath a few times a week. Small changes add up. You will be healthier and happier and baby (and your husband too!) will thank you. Consider making your own baby food. Soooo easy, cheap and healthy. Contact me today if you would like me to help you.
3. Let the house go - a little.
Conventional wisdom says that homes with children are, by and large, a bit messier than homes with no children living in them. Yes, the house needs to be cleaned regularly. Yes, the house needs to provide a sanitary environment and comfort level to all occupants. However, expecting to maintain a picture perfect house in baby's first and following years is a sure set-up for disappointment. Work to maintain a balance between a clean home and the various realities of parenthood.
4. Enjoy baby and trust your gut instincts.
I read all the books. I was overwhelmed by them.There are numerous publications on getting baby to sleep, getting baby to eat, and getting baby to grow and do whatever. The most fun and emotionally touching part of being a parent, however, are the times when you just are with and enjoy baby. Have fun with baby and recognize that although it may not seem like it right now, this time as a baby will pass quickly. Sometimes I had to stop reading and just trust my momma instincts.
5. Take breaks and laugh at yourself.
Even the most loving and devoted parents sometimes need a break from baby. It is up to you to determine the appropriate time away from baby to refresh your patience, attitude, and reserves. Some parents feel absolutely comfortable leaving baby for a weekend or even a week-long trip; other parents never leave their little ones until much later in life. The key is to find what works for you. Even a 15-minute break to take a brisk walk or run, or take a leisurely bath can do wonders to restore and refresh your energy. When things don't go exactly as planned, laugh at yourself. These are the situations you will remember and treasure.
6. If possible, breastfeed baby.
If possible, breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is far superior to formula and nature's perfect food for baby. Breastfed babies get sick less, cutting down on trips to the doctor. Not only is nursing a wonderful experience for baby, but for mother as well. Nursing helps mom's uterus return quickly to pre-pregnancy size, helps mom lose weight faster, and some research even indicates nursing protects mom from some types of cancer. It is unfortunate that much folk wisdom surrounding breastfeeding has been lost in our culture, but nursing is making a strong comeback, even in the medical field. I know it is not for everyone but my advice is to consider it.
7. Continue to work towards your dreams.
Do not suspend progress toward your dreams because you have a new baby. Seek alternative ways to pursue activities and accommodate the needs of a little one at the same time. Having a baby changes your life, but it is not an excuse to put your life on-hold for 18 years.
Take a moment and think about all you have accomplished this year. What are you most proud of?
What have you accomplished this year? I would love to hear from you. Post a comment on my blog or on find me on Facebook.