After all the anticipation and months of waiting while you grew your perfect little baby, your precious one is finally here. And oh my goodness… what a beautiful baby! Surviving the first 4 months of motherhood with your joy and some sanity intact is essential!
You want to enjoy these first precious moments. They’ll be gone before you know it and with a little (or a lot) of prioritizing during your first 16 weeks with a newborn, you’ll make each precious moment with your baby memorable! Soak up every single second, take steps to prevent postpartum depression, and avoid exhaustion with these 3 simple steps.
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Don’t Set Yourself Up For Heartache.
Don’t set yourself up for heartache and feelings of defeat by trying to come up with some perfect schedule for you and your newborn. The first 4 months of motherhood are full of emotional roller coasters.
For now, let me share with you how to manage your expectations, rather than your minutes. There will be plenty of time for helpful schedules in a few short months.
Your body, heart, and mind need time to heal, regroup and reset. Give them a chance to do so, before you jump into what a “perfect-day-in-the-life-of” should look like!
In place of trying to survive a schedule let’s chat about how to thrive in the moments during the first four months of your newborn baby’s life!
3 Steps to Thriving Instead of Surviving the First 4 Months of Motherhood
#1. Do what you want to do first.
- What you want to do, must come first. Dishes have no emotions. Laundry does not miss you when you are away. The toilet doesn’t long to see you…( well, maybe it does? We’ll get to that later)
- You want to hold your baby, so you should. I mean, you really, really want to hold and stare, and smooch and snuggle… like all the time! Those desires are engraved deep down inside your Mommy-heart to connect you and your baby.
- Research shows, even just 15 minutes of alone, one on one, focused time with another person can be enough to fill their love tank. (and yours)
- Begin loosely planning your day by asking yourself, “What do I want to do?” And start with that. If the answer is, “I want to snuggle my baby” then sit down and snuggle.
After 15-30 minutes, ask yourself this question, ”What SHOULD I do?”
#2. Do what you should do second.
- It isn’t difficult to look around and know what should be done. Is the laundry overflowing from the hamper? Are the dishes spilling over the side of the sink? Are the toilets down-right gross? Get the free printable cleaning schedules available in the parenting scrolls here for this.
- Would my husband appreciate a mid-morning phone call just to tell him I think he’s cute? Is your bible begging you to open it and read for a minute?
- Even if you answered yes to every one of those questions, choose just ONE and get up and do it. Give the baby a squeeze, tell her you’ll be back soon, put her in her rocker, and spend the next 15 minutes doing what you should do.
- Don’t fret because you are only getting one task done. Don’t fret because the baby has started crying, and all you really want to do is go back to the couch to hold her some more. That is why you picked only one thing to do.
- Follow through. Finish the job. Spend 15 minutes getting one thing all the way done. If you find that your baby is perfectly content AND you feel OK with getting something else done, pick one more thing to do. But only if baby and you are both alright with being apart a little longer.
Finally, the third step in thriving instead of surviving the first four months of motherhood is to ask yourself, “What can I do?”
#3. Finally, Do what you can do.
- Answering the question, “what can I do?” does not mean figuring out how to fit as much in a day as you possibly can. Instead, it means, realistically considering the season of life you are in right now and understanding that your emotional well-being trumps everything else!
- Occasionally, the answer to “what can I do?” will be quite a bit. You’ll feel really good and energized. While it’s tempting to use those days to do a bunch, it’s still important to make sure you went through #’s 1 & 2 first. When you’re exhausted and know it’s time to work on healthy sleeping habits, read here.
- What you don’t want, is to get the whole house clean, laundry done, food cooked, chat with your mom, and find that your heart is grieving because you haven’t spent enough time with your baby!
- On the other hand, sometimes, the answer to “what can I do?” will be… nothing. “I cannot do anything right now. I can’t get my baby to sleep, I can’t get any housework done, I can’t take a shower. Nope, I just can’t do anything.” The only thing you need to do then is, call a friend. A mom friend! One who has children of her own. One who has been there. I know you don’t want to do that. Your mind will tell you that you are being a burden. You absolutely must believe me when I say, that is not true! She wants to hear from you. She will not judge you. And she’s certainly not bothered by you. She loves you. When what you can do is…nothing, do nothing but make that phone call. Don’t text. CALL A FRIEND!
Proactive Against Post-Partum Depression
One day not long ago, I received a call from a friend who was at her wit’s end. Her baby was over three months old and still getting her up every couple of hours at night.
Her body had become so use to this, she too had become trained to wake every couple hours, even on the rare occurance that her baby slept longer than that. She was depressed, low, and feeling hopeless and desperate. She had seen her doctor, who had recommended anti-depressants and she was considering taking them.
After some discussion she revealed the baby’s poor sleeping habits and the subsequent poor habits she’d fallen into. I asked her if she’d like to fix the baby’s and her own sleeping habits before taking the medication.
She enthusiastically said yes. This was the text I recieved from her less than two weeks later:
“Oh my goodness! [Sleep training] has made all the difference. I am sleeping at night and if I wake I am able to go back to sleep. I was to my breaking point and wanted sleep so badly for so long. I can’t thank you enough.” Holly
This mother was about to throw in the towel, fall into a dark place, quit breastfeeding, and take medication. By sleep training her baby and re-training herself good sleep habits, she was able to regain her joy and her health!
As soon as you are comfortable with sleep training, it is one of the most significant positive steps you can take toward thriving during your baby’s infancy!
The Next Step
Acknowledge the importance of doing what you want to do, the need to do a few things you should do, and being realistic about what you can do! The first four months don’t have to be a blur.
Take steps to have the motherhood moments you desire. Be proactive to achieve the motherhood goals you strive to. And be real with yourself and others about what you can do right now.
Lastly, and most importantly, when you just can’t do anything, call a friend! CLICK HERE TO READ ANOTHER POST LIKE THIS
Ready to move on and start working on a healthy routine for your baby? I will walk you through the step-by-step process of establishing a healthy routine here!