I’m due any week now with my first baby, and so I find myself eyeballs-deep in all sorts of Mommy literature and conversation with friends, colleagues, forums, books, and Facebook groups.
In many instances I notice mothers feeling the pressure to be “SuperMoms” – to work, to be a productive member of society, keep their families healthy, and spend lots of time raising babies just right… all at the same time!
Who can blame them? Wanting the best for your family is natural, and it’s an urge that I feel grow daily in me.
Often forgotten however is the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child – it’s not always necessary to shoulder the burden all alone. I always have to remind myself of that, because I’m the kind of person who always feels like I can do everything myself.
I treat way too many women who are burned out by all the responsibility they take on, and forget (or are maybe too proud) to recruit some help. Acknowledging, asking, and accepting help can be a sanity-saver, especially with a new baby.
One of the biggest pressures new moms feel is to breastfeed exclusively. While we all know how amazing and important it is to breastfeed for both mom and baby, it’s not always possible. Some women are physically unable to breastfeed, some have to go back to work, or get ill.
How we feed our babies is so personal, but no matter how you nourish your baby, there is help to be found in the village.
It Takes A Village To Simplify New Motherhood
Between family, friends, and the latest baby gear, you can take a breather. Here are 6 tips that can ease the stress of new mom-hood:
A good breast milk pumping system
If you have the supply, but not the opportunity to breastfeed on demand, invest in a good quality automatic breast pump. The best kind would be one that allows you to multitask while you pump. Remember that multi-tasking can mean getting some work done, but also relaxing, or bonding with your baby.
Some systems attach the collection bottles directly to your breasts, which will free your hands, but is far from discreet. NUK can address that issue with their Freemie Collection cups, which can fit over your nipples inside your bra with your shirt on. They’re compatible with many electric pumps, and make you feel a little less like a dairy cow on the production line. Some women can even use them at work.
Part of a good breast milk system includes stock up on some breast milk storage bags to freeze a supply, and of course baby bottles! By pumping and storing your milk, family, friends, and nannies can give your baby your precious milk when you can’t be there or to give you a break.
Bottles are even more important if breastfeeding is not possible. A good option from NUK is their Simply Natural Bottle, made with soft silicone nipples that baby can shape and manipulate for a good latch, and multiple nipple holes to emulate mom’s nipple. The closer the baby bottle nipples resemble your own, the easier and more natural it’ll feel for your baby, even if you’re using formula.
That bond between you and baby should be kept strong, and there’s no shame in getting help from some good products to achieve and maintain it.
Frozen smoothie kits
When time is short, especially in the mornings, I love recommending nutritious smoothies as a breakfast for moms because they can pack a lot of good things into an easy-to-make and easy-to-take format.
One of the most frequent tips I get as my due date approaches is to stock up on frozen meals, and smoothies should be part of that.
Recruit the help of some friends or family to make a bunch of zip lock baggies, each filled with enough cut fruit, greens, and ground seeds (like chia and flax) for one or two servings of your favourite green smoothie recipe. When you need a fast meal, you simply pop the contents into a blender with some liquid and a scoop of protein powder, and you’re good to go!
Meal and grocery delivery services
Healthy home-cooked meals are a standard SuperMom responsibility, and here too there’s plenty of ways you can ask for help. Several companies now offer meal kit deliveries that you or a helper can quickly assemble and have ready without meal planning and grocery shopping.
If you prefer to cook yourself, consider grocery delivery services, or customizable produce boxes delivered to your door weekly or bi-weekly. These subscriptions could make good gifts you can add to your registry.
Mom-to-mom sales and online support groups
Just in case you were honestly thinking you’re in this alone, the internet will soon prove you are so not!
It’s very likely that somewhere near where you live, there’s an online support group of new and experienced moms who have gone through what you’re going through. You can get pre-loved baby stuff in good condition, but also some free real-life advice and tips on how to make each day a little easier. Many moms arrange meet-ups through these groups.
Tap into your local online community!
Babywearing is not just for mom
Look into a baby wrap or carrier that can fit both you and your partner, and also your closest family members who might be around itching to lend a hand and get some time with the newest member of the family.
Skin-to-skin is critical for newborns, but it doesn’t have to be you 24/7 – delegate a few shifts to your partner or mom, while you catch and nap and a shower.
If your mom, mom-in-law, friend, or neighbor like to pop in for a visit and a chat on a regular basis, don’t be shy about asking them to help you with a quick little chore; emptying the dishwasher, putting the laundry in the dryer, or letting the dog out.
You can even feel comfortable asking them to feed your baby, since the Nuk Simply Natural baby bottle nipples are flexible and wide for a continuous latch. Enjoy a healthy snack or a few moments of hands-free time.These are easy things they won’t mind doing, but will take some pressure off of you.
So, as new mom-hood envelops your life, never forget that your village is there to support you. I never imagined how eager some of my loved ones are to get involved and help, and it’s requiring a bit of a shift in my personal views on independence to learn to let them in and accept and ask for help.
Luckily, the hugh array of ‘helper’ products and services out there makes it easier to transition from “I can do it all myself”, to “let’s do it all together” – even feeding the baby!
This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and NUK Canada Simply Natural #SimplyNatural sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.