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How to survive your first weeks as a new mom

Few things can truly prepare you for the first weeks at home with your baby. Still—spoiler alert—expect beautiful moments and bonding, as the two of you fall more in love with each passing day. 

But also expect sleepless nights and maybe even tears (your own, not just your newborn's) as you adjust to your new role.  

For more highs and fewer lows, here are seven tips to see you through your first few weeks at home. They're courtesy of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

1. Don't be shy about asking for extra help. You're still recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. Now add sleep deprivation and the energy it takes to care for a helpless newborn. You're going to need reinforcements. So say a guiltless "Yes!" to friends and family who are eager to pitch in. And be specific when others offer to lend a hand. Ask someone to run to the grocery store or do a load of laundry so you can have at least some downtime. 

2. Sleep when your baby sleeps. As tempting as it may be, don't use your baby's naps to tidy, wash dishes or check email—get some shuteye. If you have an older child, set him or her up with a few quiet activities so you and the newest family member can rest. The more rested you are, the more alert and attentive you'll be when tending to your baby.  

3. Outsource. If you have the means, consider hiring a night nurse or asking a family member to stay over so you can get a full night of sleep. 

4. Prioritize. Only tackle what's absolutely necessary. It's OK if your bed doesn't get made every day, the vacuum cleaner stays in the closet or thank-yous for baby gifts don't get sent right away. Save precious time too by considering disposable plates and utensils for a little while.

5. Limit visitors. When you're running on empty, it's perfectly fine to turn down well-wishers who want to stop by. There will be plenty of time when you're rested for people to meet your baby. 

6. Eat healthy and stay hydrated. As pressed as you will be for time, make eating well and staying hydrated a priority. Foods rich in protein and iron can help you recharge. And if nobody's treated you to a premade meal yet, the gift of a casserole is a great thing to suggest. 

7. Tend to yourself—at least in small ways. In these first few weeks, even getting dressed in the morning may seem like a task. But try not to let your self-care fall by the wayside. Tend to your basic hygiene every day, get fresh air and try for a small change of scenery like a trip to the coffee shop. It'll help you feel more on top of things. 

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Reviewed 2/5/2024

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