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As you prepare to welcome your baby into the world, there’s a lot of information out there (hello, Pinterest) and it can get quite overwhelming. I am currently preparing for baby #3 and my first two postpartum experiences were quite different.
As a first time mom and new stay-at-home mom, I felt pressured to be productive when my son napped and I was worried about what my post-baby body looked like and I was worried about whatever everyone else was doing and if they would judge me for my mothering choices. As a second time mom I had a better handle on what I was doing but I still felt pressured to be productive and keep the house presentable.
Since my word of the year this year is flourish, I’m trying to go into this third newborn phase with a different mindset and more intentional goals. Who is with me? Who wants to be able to enjoy their newborn phase instead of worrying about things that really don’t matter?
Worry about the things that do matter…
Caring for baby
Feeding yourself and baby
Getting at least a little bit of sleep
Learning how to be a mom
...and don’t worry about the things that don’t matter. So what doesn’t matter?
5 Things You Shouldn’t Worry About When You Have a Newborn
1. What Your House Looks Like
Mama, all that matters is that you and baby are surviving. It doesn’t matter if there are dishes in the sink or if it’s been a few days since you’ve vacuumed and don’t worry about your decor being perfectly styled. When guests come to your home, they aren’t going to notice those things anyway, they just want to stare at your baby. If you feel like your house is a major wreck, don’t hesitate to ask for help! Call on some of the older women at your church, those who no longer have young children of their own but they understand what you’re going through as a new mom and they can come and help you. When people bring you meals or come to visit baby, ask them if they’d mind switching your laundry or putting a few dishes in the dishwasher.
2. What Your Body Looks Like
One of the biggest pieces of advice I offer to new moms, especially ones who are breastfeeding, is to not worry about losing the baby weight until after that 6-week check up. You’ll only stress yourself out and you have enough going on. And if you are breastfeeding, you will be figuring out how many calories you need to eat in order to give baby plenty of milk and as your milk first comes in, you are going to be starving. Just eat, mama. You will have plenty of time to lose the weight later, just soak in those newborn cuddles and eat lots of newborn snacks (I keep snacks in my night stand during those first few weeks postpartum).
3. What Other People Think of You
Whether you vaccinate or not, breastfeed or bottle feed, go back to work at 6-weeks or stay home, people will tell you why you should be doing the opposite. Mama, you do you and do what’s best for you and your baby.
4. Being Productive
If this is your first baby, really take advantage of being able to nap when baby sleeps during the day because once you’re on kid number two or three, you don’t really get that option anymore. Your to do list can wait, just hold onto that baby because soon they’ll be crazy toddlers and will literally be pulling your hair out. Chores and work can be done once you’ve gotten in a routine and recovered from childbirth. Just chillax, you just carried a tiny human in you for nine months -- you deserve a break!
5. What Everyone Else is Doing
Maybe just stay off Pinterest for the first few weeks, unless you’re searching for something specific. You’ll be seeing articles and stories that will stress you out or have you necessarily second-guessing yourself. And don’t worry if your aunt or mother-in-law says that did something differently, be confident in your decisions. When I had my first baby, I was 20-year-old so most of my longtime friends were in college or working in their chosen careers. I had to be careful on social media because it was easy for me to get jealous over their freedom and the fact that they didn’t have a baby literally attached to them every two hours. Again, be confident in your decisions and if you need to, make some new friends with mamas in the same lifestage as you.
“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 NLT
As you go through this newborn phase, remember to only worry about the things that truly matter and this phase doesn’t last forever...promise!