Few first-time mothers are prepared for the rigors of the job. Survive the first three months and beyond -- and enjoy the experience.
- Step 1: Avoid feeling like you are toiling all of the time to keep your newborn alive. Spend time entertaining and having fun with your baby -- six to eight weeks after the birth you will get the payoff when you see their first smile.
- Step 2: Make time to exercise even though you will be tired. Exertion releases feel-good hormones called endorphins and also will help you get back into pre-baby shape.
- Step 3: Sleep as much as possible, which is easier said than done. Motherhood is much harder when you are sleep-deprived, so nap when your baby naps to prepare for semi-sleepless nights.
- Step 4: Follow a basic daily schedule that includes the same activities each day, such as outdoor time, bath time, story time, and regular nap intervals. Babies like routines once they recognize them.
- TIP: Check with your local hospital or birthing center about scheduled new-moms meetings.
- TIP: Accept help whenever it is offered -- let someone else cook dinner or watch the baby.
- Step 5: Treat yourself to something you'll really enjoy, such as a piece of jewelry you've been lusting over or a facial and pedicure. New moms deserve to enjoy things other than their babies.
- Step 6: Plan play dates with other new moms to create a support network and stop feeling isolated.
- Step 7: Realize that you can't do everything. Take a break from cleaning the house and cooking. Skip a nursing session by having Dad or another helper feed the baby sometimes.