4 Easy Tips for New Mommies: Easy Ways to Feel Better & Improve Productivity

Note: I’m writing from my own experience, so this post will not meet the needs of every new parent.

In 2014, I was a full-time teacher, pregnant with baby number 2, and a mommy to a precocious 4-year-old son. On December 9th, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and fell in love for the third time in my life.

Rather than return to work after the piddly 6-weeks that passes for maternity leave in the U.S., I chose to become a stay-at-home mom for 8-1/2 months. I hadn’t been a stay-at-home parent since my oldest son was 5-months old and I was nervous about how I’d handle the change…going from a 7 a.m.-5 p.m. job to becoming an around-the-clock caregiver for TWO is a daunting task. If you’re facing the same change, the tips I present at the end of this post could be the advice you need! Just remember: You will be tired!! But the exhaustion is short lived and the love you give and receive will grow exponentially for the rest of your life! <3

Best of luck and congratulations on the JOY of being a new parent!!!!!

The Es

Becoming a mommy is full of Es—it’s emotional, euphoric, exciting but also very EXHAUSTING.

When I became a mommy for the second time in December, I had the misconception that I would easily be able to handle having a newborn and 4-year-old at home Okay, okay—maybe it wouldn’t be easy, but I’m a teacher. I manage the lives and brains of 24 first-graders 180 days a year. Two of my own kids? No problem!

What. Was. I. Thinking?

Things I forgot about: Physical discomfort. After-birth uterine pains that went practically unnoticed with baby number one were AWFUL the second time around! Post-labor soreness slowed me down. My newborn was voracious! I had a difficult time eating enough to have enough energy to do much more than watch T.V.. And—even with a decade of experience as a first-grade teacher—keeping a 4-year-old engaged was emotionally, psychologically, and physically challenging. Through the fog of exhaustion caused by around the clock feeding and circaidian rhythm reversal (where newborns are more alert at night and sleep during the day), it was difficult to comprehend what my oldest child was talking about (and preschoolers talk A LOT!). Answering questions? Forget it. Too taxing…which resulted in temper-tantrums from the former “only child.” Yikes! Things were bleak.

When all you can think about is sleep…

There will come a moment when all you can think about is sleep. How much you want it, how you took it for granted, feelings of resentment towards the BILLIONS of people on the planet getting MORE sleep than you (including your spouse!). Anyone who wakes the baby becomes persona nongrata and you begin making deals with any deity you’ve ever heard of—because you are confident if you could just get a little sleep, everything would be easier.

And then it happens (for each baby on their OWN timeline)…

Sooner or later, you WILL get more sleep. Let me repeat: YOU WILL GET TO SLEEP (at some point in the “future”)—I PROMISE! It may be a while before you hit your pre-baby 7+ hours/night, but 3-4 hour chunks of sleep are better than 45 minute naps! Their naps become more solidified and slow but surely, you and your baby are getting to know each other and create routines that keep you both satisfied and happy. You become an expert at catching your baby’s “sleepy cues” (eye rubbing, eye redness, a yawn, tired talk, etc.) and more sleep for baby can yield smoother nights for mommies.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Hey. Why is all this happening to the mommy? What’s dad’s role in all this?” Don’t worry! Dads should be busy with older siblings, putting together the SLEW of baby things, shopping, working, and taking care of YOU! I speak from experience when I say that while dad may not be waking hourly to feed the baby, chances are their days are jam-packed with tasks, and their sleep comes with a guilt price. Try an go easy on them (but if you don’t, I’ll forgive you! After all, you are sleep-deprived!).

More sleep! YAY! And the fog lifts…now what?

Perhaps you should have stayed in the fog.

What surrounds you: piles of dirty dishes. Mounds of dirty laundry. Overflowing garbage cans. And many, MANY items on a seemingly endless to-do list.

The million dollar question is, “Where do I start?” Here are 4 tips that helped me take baby steps toward normalcy and get me back on track toward running my household. I hope you find them helpful!

4 Tips for New Mommies:

Easy Ways to Feel Better & Improve Productivity

1. EAT BREAKFAST (and lunch, dinner, and snacks!)

Breastfeeding takes it toll! You are burning calories and building a human being! You had BETTER nourish yourself or you will run out of energy quick! Make sure you are consuming sufficient calories. Eating foods with adequate amounts of pastured/organic fat will give you “bang for your buck.” With limited “me” time, you need to make EACH bit count! Here are a few of my favorite convenience snacks. Be sure to make big batches of my “Twice Cooked Bone Broth” because it will be a great way to enrich any rice, potato, or pasta dish with gelatin, amino acids, and micro-nutrients your body needs to promote good health. I created the dary-free “Mommy’s Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie” recipe because I could make it at any time and store in the fridge for up to a day and it still tasted delicious. Now is the time to take advantage of healthy convenience foods. I loved ordering from Thrive Market because it gave me convenience without the budget strain!

2. Water is VITAL!

You know the quote, “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” That might have been geared towards castaways in the middle of the ocean, but it’s just as applicable for new mommies. We are cooking, cleaning, folding, changing, carrying, soothing, explaining, and thinking from the second we wake up. Unfortunately, for breastmilk production (AND vital organ function!) you NEED to carve out time to drink water throughout the day!

  • Have water next to your bed and sip during night feedings (and maybe include some crackers, bread, or a banana).
  • Add fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in your water first thing in the morning (as much or as little as is palatable).
  • Invest in yummy teas and add raw honey to give keep yourself hydrated with  flavorful, immune boosting liquids! I LOVE nettle tea (liver function support), raspberry leaf tea (uterine function support), Mother’s Milk tea (it’s lactogenic and supports a healthy milk supply), and chamomile (promotes relaxtion and restful sleep) teas.

3. Carry your baby (and get back the use of your hands!)

I LOVE my baby carriers! I have 3 I used for various ages/weights/tasks I had in mind.

  • Boba-GREAT for those newborn days when your wrists, arms, back are acclimating to the constant weight of your little one.
  • Baby Bjorn Miracle Carrier-This was my all purpose carrier. I loved that it had the capacity to carry baby facing you AND facing out, all while resting on your chest. This is what we used for around the house activities like folding or a quick trip to the grocery store. I invested in the Tula because of extended wear time and the increased support on my back. BUT, my son likes the Baby Bjorn the best because he loves to face out ad see what’s going on.When
  • Tula–In my opinion, the Tula is the Cadillac of baby carriers. It is ergonomically designed, distributes the weigh evenly to both hips, has THICK shoulder and waist straps that make it ideal for long term wear (when my son was 15 lbs, I was able to carry him for his 1 hour plus nap (in addition to carrying/walking with him for the preceding 45 minutes. By the end, I was happy to pass him off to my husband, but I passed the time in 2 hours of blissful, hands-free, content baby mode. The only drawback is IF you have a big baby like mine who wants to see the world, you have to wear the Tula on your back. I will do this when he’s older, but 7-1/2 months was to young for him to sit peacefully for that long without seeing my face. For newborns and very young infants, be sure to order the infant insert! And for you bigger kids, there is a toddler Tula available that carries slightly longer kiddos, up to 50 lbs. Go ahead—you husband’s will appreciate the core work!

4. Personal Grooming—Get Dressed (bonus points for brushing your hair AND teeth)!

A normal morning for me went something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Feed Baby
  • Feed 4-year-old (If I was lucky, feed myself. Unless I forgot)
  • Pump
  • Change baby
  • Make coffee (yes, I LIVE for decaf coffee. I feel I can look forward to this treat because it is decaf and I add raw milk and rapadura for a nutritional punch).
  • Get baby ready for morning nap.
  • Play with the 4-year-old
  • Feed the 4-year-old AGAIN (because they are always hungry)
  • Baby wakes up. Time to feed him again.
  • Baby playtime.
  • Pump again

And THAT was just between the 8 am-12 p.m schedule!

But it’s hard to feel energetic or motivated to do anything when you haven’t showered in three days, your clothes have baby spit-up and/or baby urine on them. You know what I’m talking about. You go in to the bathroom (The baby’s actually quiet for 30 seconds, hurry up!) but you subtly avoid looking in the mirror for fear of seeing the unkempt mommy that used to be a well-groomed professional. I’m not talking about returning to your old beauty regiment, but I SWEAR, if you can find a way to keep the baby happy for 10 minutes, then: 1) change your clothes, brush your hair, brush, your teeth, wash your face, and apply a scented lotion or face cream. I love Vintage Tradition Tallow Balm-Pretty Girl Scent or I use my own DIY toner, honey facial wash, or DIY perfume.

Being semi-groomed (again, you have maybe 10 minutes so you’re not aiming for beauty queen or business meeting coiffed—just go for presentable, clean, and not stinky) will make you feel better and in turn give your more energy. This way, if someone knocks at the door or you have to run to the store for more diapers, you’re already dressed and ready to go.

Best of luck and congrats on joining the ranks of the hardest workers on the planet—parents!! <3

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