Oh great, you’re probably thinking, another bunch of things to add to my to-do list, as if I don’t already have enough to do!
Well, fear not, this is your to-do list.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to do, but this list contains all the important essentials that new mamas need to do.
Forget about ironing those adorable sleepsuits (seriously, they’re just going to get pooped on anyway), skip the washing up (that’s what helpful visitors are for) and instead spend your days ticking off the following new mama tasks:
#1: Get In The Photos
Oh, I know, you think you look like crap. Your hair is greasy because you haven’t showered yet, your eyebrows have taken on a life of their own and your clothes are almost certainly covered with patches of sour-smelling breastmilk.
It’s unlikely the photos will get picked as the cover of next months’ Vogue, true. But that’s not really what the photos are about.
These photos will capture these early days of motherhood for you. These are moments to treasure, no matter how rank you think you look.
One day in the future, you will look back at the photos and think how great you looked back when you were young, thinner and wrinkle-free. You don’t have to upload them to Facebook, but make sure there are plenty of photos of you with your baby for you to look back on in years to come.
#2: Make Some Home Videos
Once upon a time, home videos were a rarity and only the most important family occasions made the cut (whenever Uncle Norman was there, basically, because he was the only one with a video camera).
Now most people have smartphones in their pockets. Make sure you take plenty of videos of your baby as she grows up. Babies change so quickly, she might not be making that adorable noise or pulling that sweet facial expression next week so make sure you capture it before it’s too late.
When you’re stuck in the midst of the baby days, they feel like they’ll last forever (especially during sleep regressions when you find yourself wondering if it will ever end), but pretty soon it will all be a distant memory.
#3: Make Plans With The Friends Who Know You Best
Many new mamas feel a little lost as they embark on this new journey. Your head is full of baby related news and you can’t remember the last time you read a magazine or stayed awake during an entire film.
You can be forgiven for forgetting who you are and feeling a little unstuck. Don’t worry, your best friends will help to remind you.
Make plans with the people who know you best in the world and you’ll soon feel like yourself again.
#4: Make New Mama Friends
This is a great time to add to your friendship circle. Having the support of other people going through exactly what you’re going through will be invaluable, so head out and make some new friends.
Go along to baby groups and coffee mornings and get chatting with other parents at the park. You’ll soon stumble across a mama you click with and then you can suggest meeting up again.
Some of the best friendships are built on the foundation of motherhood. Nothing bonds two women quite like the sharing of birth stories, night feeds and the excitement of all your baby’s firsts.
#5: Get Out Of The House
Once your partner is back at work, the days can feel pretty long.
If you find that you’re counting down the minutes until he walks in from work, this could be a clue that you need to get out of the house more.
Time passes much quicker when you’re out and about. Check out the baby groups in your local area, treat yourself to a coffee in your local cafe or even take a stroll along the canal.
It doesn’t really matter where you go, as long as you get to enjoy some fresh air. Try to plan something in for each day and, if you can’t find anything to do, take a walk around your neighbourhood.
#6: Say No To Unwanted Visitors
Some new mamas want to invite the whole world over to admire their new baby. Others would rather keep that baby to themselves a little while longer.
Whichever camp you belong to, there is no right or wrong. It’s important you do whatever makes you feel comfortable, and as long as you know you can change your mind or cut plans short if you need to.
Don’t feel that you have to allow somebody to visit just because they’ve expressed an interest. People love newborns, and you’ll probably find people you haven’t seen in years are suddenly keen to call round and meet the baby.
These newborn days are short, so make sure you enjoy them. Say no to unwanted visitors and instead spend this time bonding with your baby. It can be exhausting to have visitors coming and going all day so make sure you don’t overdo it.
#7: Don’t Let Unsolicited Advice Bother You
Everybody’s an expert when it comes to babies. Heck, you don’t even need to have had a baby to become a world famous ‘baby whisperer’.
You’ll find that it’s pretty much impossible to make it down the street without a stranger offering you advice. Heaven forbid you take your baby out without socks on during summer, every elderly woman within a three mile radius will demand to know where her socks are.
And it’s not just strangers, your friends and family will be in on it too. If your baby grimaces momentarily during their visit, people will tell you their views on whether the baby should have a dummy/soother, whether you have enough breast milk and whether you’re cuddling your baby too much.
Take a deep breath and thank them for sharing. Remember, you don’t have to act on unsolicited advice and it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong – it’s just someone else’s opinion based on their own unique experiences, and other unique babies. Trust your instincts, you’re a great mama.
#8: Do Your Research
If you’re worried about something, do your research.
There’s a lot – like a huge lot – of bad advice out there, so take advice from a source you trust. There’s plenty of conflicting advice out there as well, which can be pretty overwhelming.
By all means, take in what you hear, but only the use pieces of advice that feels right in your heart.
Trust your instincts and remember, you’re the leading expert when it comes to your baby.
#9: Don’t Overdo It
It doesn’t matter if the pile of dirty plates in the kitchen is about to hit the ceiling. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a t-shirt with “Sammy’s Hen Do 2012” written across the front in glitter because all of your clothes are dirty. And it doesn’t matter if you haven’t hoovered the stairs in a while.
What is really important right now is bonding with your new baby. Your baby is already learning all about what to expect from this crazy world – and it begins with lots of skin to skin, bonding and connecting.
Don’t feel like you need to keep the house tidy, send those thank you letters off in a timely manner or stay on top of your beauty regime. Just enjoy your baby.
Cuddle, sing, feed, rock, chat, gaze and generally fall head over heels in love with your baby.
Really, that’s all that matters right now.
#10: Thank Your Mother
Nothing makes you appreciate your mother quite like becoming a mama yourself.
All of a sudden, you realise just how much she did for you. The birth, the sleepless nights, the nappy changes. You realise how deeply she loves you, something you’ve never really given much thought to before.
And you are haunted by how you repaid her. The teenage screaming matches, ignored phone calls and the ungratefulness.
Don’t worry, she gets it, she’s a daughter too. But when you’re up with your baby at 4am thinking about how much you love her, you’ll suddenly be struck with an overwhelming desire to call your mum and thank her for everything.
Do it. It’ll make her day, even if it is only 4am in the morning.
Recommended Reading: 15 Things To Avoid When Visiting A Newborn Baby and The Undervalued Therapeutic Power of Post Partum Rest.