Diary from the trenches

My first 6 weeks as a brand new mom

The only way we can make it through is with trial and error and the support of others.

Theresa gets some much-needed fresh 

air with her newborn daughter, Chloe.

Week 1

I’m a new mother and I’m drowning in a sea of diapers, wipes, numerous breast feeding sessions, clothing changes, Desitin, and burp cloths!

As a brand new mom, it’s overwhelming! Besides being sleep-deprived, having barely any time to eat or shower (ladies, grab a shower whenever someone is home with you — it doesn’t matter who it is!), recovering from a 27-hour labor, and having my hormones go crazy, I am now the mom to a peanut of a baby girl. A mom

As ready and organized as I thought I was, I have never felt less prepared. People tell you that you’ll never be ready, but I think that’s an understatement! Not only am I trying to take care of my daughter, but the recovery I’m going through after labor is brutal. The amount of time needed to care for the stitches, and myself, is enough to put anyone over the edge. Never in a million years did I think I’d be relying on someone to help me get to my bathroom because sometimes it hurts to walk. Oh, and I can’t drive for two weeks, which is a hard pill for me to swallow, but where will I go with a newborn anyway? 

Have I mentioned the hormones yet? The hormones are an unbelievable roller coaster. I have never been this emotional in my entire life. I can’t even count how many times I cried to my husband, mother, sisters, friends, mother-in-law. I feel like an unfit parent because I’m crying so much, but that’s what these hormones do! They’re not easy to keep in check, so vent to your support system any way you can and whenever you need to. I did, and most of the time it’s been really helpful.

Week 2

Things have gotten a tad bit easier — maybe. The jury is still out on this one. Have you ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day”? Well, maybe I’m just really sleep deprived, but I’m pretty sure this has all been one long continuous day with no start or finish. 

I know so many women that tell me motherhood is “so easy.” Those words always resonate in my head when I’m struggling with certain aspects of being a mom. Why can’t I be like so and so? It’s a constant comparison. 

Breastfeeding is one of my biggest challenges. I have tried every nipple cream and ointment on the market. I’ve purchased cold compresses for my nipples. I even went so far as to see several lactation consultants and even a doctor to try and get a prescription. I cry when the baby is hungry because I know she will soon be latching on to my already destroyed nipples. There has to be an easier way! 

I’m always worrying about my milk supply. I never know if she got enough milk because I can’t tell what she’s drinking. What if I’m not getting her to latch on correctly? What if I’m depriving her of her nutrition? Am I holding her head correctly as I feed her? How can feeding your child from your breast come with so many insane worries? I’m told it gets easier after two weeks. I’m waiting.

Week 3

I’m getting out of the apartment. You heard me right. I’m. Leaving. The. Apartment. Wahoo! You never realize how much you want to get out and do something — anything — until you’ve been stuck inside your apartment with a crying newborn. Go grocery shopping! Hit the library! Go get an oil change! Grab a coffee! This is the week I left and started doing things. This isn’t just advice for getting the baby out, this is advice for YOU. You need it to stay sane. Trust me. How long can you stare at the walls of your apartment or house? It’s one of the tasks you can’t be afraid to do, and you’ll come back feeling refreshed. Just make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get out. 

This advice comes from new mom Lauren Muhlfeld of Fishkill: “The one thing people don’t tell you is just how long it takes to get out of the house! I feed him, get myself ready, then get him ready. By this time he wants to eat again, so I feed him and change his diaper. I put him in his car seat and he smiles at me and poops! Give yourself a good amount of time to be somewhere.”

My “must-have” items for the first 6 weeks

1.  Lansinoh HPA Lanolin (for sore and cracked nipples)

2.  Little Remedies Gas Drops

3.  Fisher Price Rock & Play Sleeper

4.  Boppy Pillow

5.  Fisher Price Little Lamb Swing

Week 6

Well, we made it. There were days I never thought we’d get even this far! Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle daily. My daughter likes to get very fussy after she eats so we know she has gas and doesn’t burp very well. I swear by Little Remedies Gas Drops. They are amazing and I can thank my own mother for that little gem. 

I can’t tell you how many times a day I ask myself if what I’m doing is “right.” I’m always wondering if this is the way I should be doing something, or I’m thinking out loud wondering if other moms do what I’m doing right now. 

Bonnie Luft-Pecor, and mother of two from Poughquag, put her feelings in perspective about the same situation: “I wish that I was told that there is no right or wrong when it comes to raising your child, that there is no standard to live up to, no Supermom status to live up to, and that my way was the best way for me and that was perfectly fine. I spent a lot of unnecessary time worrying about doing things ‘right’ instead of focusing on doing the right things for my family and me.” 

Wise words to live by. I really do have to calm myself down and reflect on what I have done so far with my daughter and what works for us. I have been reading so many articles, taking tons of unsolicited advice, making myself absolutely nuts trying to put every method into action, and quite frankly, it’s exhausting. Instead of beating myself up about what’s not working, I should try and focus on what has been working well for me. There is no rule book for us new moms to follow. Believe me, I wish there was! The only way we can make it through is with trial and error and the support of others. That’s the number one thing that has gotten me through this so far. 

During one of my many phone conversations with my older sister, she said to me, “Just remember, you’ll get through this. Think about it. Look back on things like tough times during your pregnancy, your labor. It was long and difficult, but somehow you just got through it. You’ll get through this, too.” 

Even though I may not be able to see that right now, I know she’s right. There’s a learning curve and I need to remember to cut myself some slack. For all the new moms out there — and not-so new moms — remember to take a moment and give yourself a break. We are all doing an amazing job.

Theresa Narvesen is a proud new mom to her first child Chloe.