Jamaican Mommies by Shanoy Coombs: From Jamaica; for the world
So your baby is finally here. Now what? If you are anything like millions of mothers before, you would be asking this question. You are still shaky knowing that you have another life to actually take care of and also empowered that you have made it thus far, but then you can’t help but have feelings of inadequacy sink in. Will I be a good mother? How will I manage? Am I doing this right? and the list goes on. But as any new mother-turned pro can attest, all is not lost and before you know it, all the mommy related things that once seemed impossible now become second nature. I know right? you’ve heard that before, but reassuringly it is the truth. I am living proof having moved from one who could hardly change a diaper to a loving, devoted, ‘super’ mom.
So first off, you will have your granny telling you what not to do, then there’s your mother saying her strategies are tried and true and there’s also the friend across the street who also swears by ‘putting a little rum’ in the baby’s feed. Sounds familiar? sure it does, but before you get to finding this to be a jocular manner, think very carefully about what will or will not harm your baby and bear in mind that not everything that your mother, aunty, grandma or neighbours swear by is even safe for your little one.
We will definately do a piece on baby and childcare myths, but today we look at how to deal with some of the life changing and not so life changing experiences once baby arrives. I’ve compiled a basic list which I think embodies most of the major elements, but I do welcome feedback and be sure to add some of your proven strategies too.
1. First of all, you need to believe that you can do this: It might sound cliche but it works! Conditioning one’s mind for the challenge and reward of raising a child certainly makes one more optimistic for the task at hand. But remember that no matter the enthusiasm, if you are having significant problems coping and feel like you are at wits end or will somehow harm your child, be sure to schedule a doctor’s appointment ASAP since you may be experiencing Post Partum Depression (PPD). See other signs of PPD here
2. You need to educate yourself: Having a child involves so much re-education. This re-education goes beyond reading information in a book, but goes on to include lots of self research, getting multiple feedback and busting some of the many myths affiliated with childcare. For example, I have always heard family members in Jamaica ask if I’m not ‘stretching’ the baby so that she can grow. Not only is this a totally irrelevant exercise, but my research has also indicated that this practice can be very dangerous. Imagine holding your precious bundle by the leg and then the unfathomable broken limb occurs! Medical professionals have also reiterated the necessity for this practice to be discontinued since a child needs no help in being stretched, since babies stretch on their own, especially after waking up. There are also countless misconceptions related to feeding a child so that he/she can be ‘fattened’. Do the research and you will see that many of these practices are quite harmful for the baby’s digestive tract.
3. Be careful of who you get information from: Enough Said!
4. Use your motherly instinct: This is almost always right and if you are still unsure, you can get feedback from a qualified and/or genuine person.
5. Know that it is ok to leave some tasks undone: You may to be used to being the ultimate multitask-er, but with the toll that pregnancy and childbirth has taken on your body, you will need all the rest you can get. Try to delay some tasks and seek assistance with others. After all, taking care of a baby is already a full day’s work.
6. Remember it is ok to cry: It is! whoever said big girls don’t cry does not acknowledge the cleansing effect that crying can have on a weary soul.
7. It is ok to think you are not getting it right! but refer to point 1 above, keep the optimism going and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way.
8. In all you do, make sure it is for the benefit of the child and not so much your own selfish agenda: Remember that bit about putting a little rum (alcoholic beverage) in your baby’s feed so he/she can go asleep? That is definately a selfish and potentially fatal move. I know it irks you when there’s a screaming child who goes on for hours, but eventually it will pass.
9. Try to get some ME time: How is this possible you ask? check here. I know you love your newborn and want to spend every waking moment, but believe me, somewhere along the way, especially if you’re a Stay at home mom, you want to just get out and feel like somewhere inside the ‘individual’ still exists. It’s fine really, no need to feel like you are being selfish. Make proper arrangements for your child’s care and go for a walk, a jog, meet with friends for a chat and you’ll be surprised how re-energized you feel. If you can’t bear to leave your little love bud alone, take him or her for a short walk, go to the mall and window shop or meet your pals for a lunch date with Little one by your side.
10. Enjoy being a mother: I know you’re already thinking “Oh that’s easy” but when the going gets tough and you sometimes feel knocked out and down, a large dosage of enjoyment mixed with a side order of love can be just what mothers need.
Baby Fit also has some other tips here
So there you have it! your mother-to mother guide on some of the tips that will get you through what seems like endless days..and nights! when you are a new mother.
For those once amateur-now turned pro moms, be sure to share some of the things that seemed so challenging but are now a breeze. New mommies, also share your challenges and I’m sure we can help you with real life tips on how to surpass these.