Being a mom is a whole new experience and many moms, myself included, find myself overwhelmed with a new range of responsibilities. A lot of support is required for the new mom, and there are certain preparations I’ve thought of on hindsight that could have helped to make life as a new mom easier:
1. Get a paid help for the first month.
It used to take a village to raise a child, but frankly, we don’t live in a village these days. We may rely on help from other family members, but it is difficult to expect 100% committed work from anyone who isn’t paid. Moreover, there are many different parenting views these days and ironing out differences is difficult between family members and handled poorly (think high-strung caregivers with wailing in the background), family relationships can be strained overtime.
2. Ask for second-hand items, which may or may not be used.
Certain items such as an automated dual breast pump, breast feeding support pillow, baby carrier/sling are expensive and sometimes may require more than one model/design. For instance, I had a manual breast pump but it turned out that the fit was poor and it was a last minute expensive scramble to get another pump. I bought a breast support pillow, which was not needed, as my baby was too heavy for it to work! We also bought a baby carrier that was too big though it was clearly stated for newborn. To avoid having to go out and find such items when caring for the newborn baby, it helps to ask around for second-hand items to be on stand-by, just in case these items are needed or the models you have don’t fit or work well for you.
3. Have an appointment with lactation consultant before or within the first week of birth.
This is important for moms who want to breastfeed – making sure the nipples are cleaned, learning the right way to breastfeed can reduce tons of stress in the first month. It may not be easy to book an appointment slot, so do have this sorted out early.
4. Prepare for challenging times. I was an easy baby – sleep, feed and more sleep.
My baby, on the other hand, has eczema and the attention of care was much higher–dealing with the inability to sleep due to the itching and scratching, much more crying and reflux. Arrangements with respect to getting back to work, meals for the mother, chores may need to be worked out extending past the first month and the maternity leave. Naturally all of us want to have an easy baby, but it is good to think about help and arrangements should our baby turned out to have special needs.
5. Budget more financially.
It helps to have more financial resources in case our baby requires further doctor consultations, hospital stays, tests or we need to hire external help.
6. Most importantly, it truly helps to have a supportive husband.
A new mom may sometimes feel she has to do it all, but our spouse can be as good a nurturer to our baby and show his love for us in ways beyond what we thought our man will do, if given a chance. We can’t 100% prepare everything, but we can go through challenges knowing our spouse is 100% supportive of us.