The New Momma’s Survival Toolkit
Lists, lists, lists. How many do you have, Momma?
As a new mom, I’m guessing you have one for your delivery bag, one for your hubby, and at least one for your new baby. Naturally, you also have one for your registry, one for your dog-sitter, one for your weekly to-dos…the list really does go on. Pun intended!
Your current lists are definitely important. But in all the chaos, you might miss the most important details to plan for before baby gets here.
Check out five things I discovered were essential for my own survival (and my baby’s!) after our little one arrived. I wish I’d known all of these myself, pre-baby!
Every new mom needs a social support system.
I didn’t have this, and the consequences of that still haunt me. As a new mom, you’re going to need a team of close family and friends to help you (and your hubby) adjust to this new life. Trust me! It’s not healthy to be desperately sad (read: severely depressed) after baby arrives. For many of us, though, it’s a simple reality. But do you know what most resources say helps a woman either avoid postpartum depression or self-treat with a quick recovery? A social support system. It’s serious business after having your first baby (or any baby, I’m willing to bet), ladies. Don’t neglect it, don’t forget it, and don’t take it for granted!
…accept help from friends and family. And don’t be afraid to ask for it, either.
Fairly soon after baby, plan a girls’ night with your friends at the movies. Have your hubby plan a guys’ night at the shooting range. Trade off baby duties so you each stay connected to your friends in all the chaos. And put a date night on the calendar ASAP after baby so you and your hubby can take a little break together, too!
Here’s another piece of advice: accept help from friends and family. And don’t be afraid to ask for it, either.
Despite naysayers, go ahead and get a general game plan for baby’s schedule and routine.
I’m a planner, so this was essential to me. So many moms and family members laughed and said my efforts were due to my new-mom naivety. Turns out…I was actually right! Well…sorta. More on that in another post.
I recommend reading whatever you can about the eat-play-sleep schedule and introducing it almost immediately once baby’s born (after those first crazy few weeks are over, when you’re simply trying to survive). Your “plans” and “proposed schedules” will seem choppy and inefficient at first (because they just will be), so give yourself grace as you learn this new rhythm to life. It’s important to note that if you stick to a routine and make the necessary adjustments for your baby and your unique lifestyle, you’ll get to calmer waters eventually – and a lot sooner than other new moms who’ve gone before you without a game plan!
Have everything you’ll need for self-care after baby on-hand so you can celebrate being a new mom in style!
If giving birth vaginally, look up ideas for kits to put together for yourself that’ll make recovery more comfortable. If giving birth via c-section, check out my ultimate c-section hospital bag list! (You’ll find a free book of lists filled with tips for before and after your procedure, as well as hospital bag checklists for you, baby, and hubby there!)
Don’t forget to invest in things that’ll make you feel pretty and sexy afterwards, too. This is so important as a new mom and as a “veteran” mom! Have your nails done. Invest in a luxury lotion to use after a hot shower. Buy a gorgeous new Bible you’ll love opening during brief breaks from the craziness. Do anything that makes you feel well and confident (as long as you have the doc’s approval, of course!).
Just focus on buying the basic baby essentials for now.
Premium registry gifts and other little things you gift yourselves are just pluses. Many new moms stress over buying everything they’ll need for that whole first year, though…which isn’t necessary!
You need a sturdy car seat to bring baby home in and transport your new family member. You’ll also need somewhere safe to lay baby down during the day for naps and during the night for bedtime. (This can be the crib if you’re comfortable with it and your pediatrician approves.) You need somewhere for baby to “sit” supported so she can look around as her eyes start to focus during the day. (I had somewhere to put baby in every room, or I moved Scarlett’s sling from one room to the other before placing her in it.) Beyond that, you need onesies and pants, warm caps, newborn hand mittens, a few receiving blankets, socks, pjs, a few sleep sacks, diapers and wipes, diaper powder (talc-free!) and cream, and formula and bottles along with a bottle warmer (if not breast-feeding). The hospital will probably give you a pacifier. Another tip: don’t invest in a bunch of baby bath stuff until you know whether or not baby has super-sensitive skin! (The hospital will bathe baby, and you won’t need to bathe her again for a number of days.)
Surround yourself with a qualified team of professionals to help guide you.
Choose a rockstar pediatrician before baby arrives that you can trust completely and lean on for legit advice, sans wivestales. Be totally comfortable with your OB/GYN before delivery, too. Get info about your local La Leche League if deciding to breastfeed. Reach out before and after delivery with questions or concerns regarding each practice’s specialty. Don’t just Google stuff you’re worried about. (You’ll often end up more confused than before if you do!)
Just like you’ve got a team of other pros, including your primary care physician, your insurance agent, your financial advisor, your lawyer, and so on…remember to go to the source when making decisions regarding the health and happiness of your family. You won’t regret it!
And, here’s the best part: if anyone ever offers pushy, unwanted advice (and oh, will they ever!), you’ll be quick on your feet with a simple and true response. “Thanks for your concern, but we’ve chosen to simply go with our pediatrician’s opinion!” Works every time – because most people offering advice won’t be an MD. So they can’t argue. (You’re welcome.)
Being a new mom is stressful simply because of all the details to plan.
Just don’t forget these essentials during all the busywork! You’ll be a happier, healthier, more confident momma because of them. And guess what? The happier, healthier, confident momma provides all of that and more for each member of her family, too. Be your best you…prep ahead!
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Would you add anything to this list, fellow mommas?
Cheers to your happiest Momday yet!
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