A Letter for the First-Time Mom

It can be very overwhelming to welcome your first baby!  It’s the most important event of our lives and yet we feel like we don’t know a thing.  Here are some reading we trust and the ones that we use:

  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. (ways to soothe a newborn)
  • What to Expect in the First Year by Heidi Murkoff – helps you to see what is normal
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
  • Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws of Breastfeeding

Here is a link to a positioning video for breastfeeding that we think is great:  www.naturalbreastfeeding.com

I’ve linked our blog, 10 things to know to Successfully Breastfeed.  These are the things the doulas exclaimed that they wished they knew as we held our Breastfeeding Training Classes. It became so obvious that new moms need to know these before the baby arrives and knowing them would help things to go better! 

I caution you to not read or look-up too much information.  You will get confused because the information will contradict each other at times.  Remember that your baby doesn’t know that you don’t know.  You will learn about each other each day.  You won’t do anything wrong. In fact, in a short time you will find that your instincts are good and can be trusted.  You will sometimes hear advice from your family, friends, doula and even your doctor that just doesn’t seem to “fit” what you know about your baby.  Trust yourself.  You can ask others their opinions but after you hear what they have to say, do what makes sense to you and your partner.  There is very little that is “right” or “wrong” when it comes to caring for a newborn.  It is mostly preference – yours and your baby’s.  He or she will let you know what they need.  We need to become good listeners.  At first, you may not understand what the baby needs but in a short time, you will.  Your postpartum doula can help you to figure out some of those issues as they arise. She will help you to understand your baby’s feeding cues, or when your baby needs something else.  The beauty of newborns is that their needs are very simple.  They need to be fed, changed, held and they need to sleep.  That is it!  So if they are upset, they are looking for one of those needs to be met. 

If you know of any moms who have had a second baby, ask them what the difference was between having their first and having their second baby.  You will be surprised at the answer.

Please feel free to call us at MothersCare  if you’d like to talk about any of the above.  Above all else, remember that for two weeks you need to give yourself a break.  You must respect the needs of your body.  After delivering a baby, your body has to expend a lot of energy to go back to a non-pregnant state.  Your hormones need to switch from pregnancy hormones to non-pregnant hormones and rev up with breastmilk production hormones.  Your body needs to repair from delivery.  Lots of healing needs to take place.  Your body is immediately starting milk-production (even if you are not nursing).  You also must process what it means to be a mother.  If you have/had a good relationship with your own mother or if you have/had a difficult relationship with your mother, you’ll process this in a new way as now you are one.  It can contribute to your being very emotional.  If, on top of all of that, you physically do too much by expending energy for cooking, cleaning, laundry or company, you will pay a price.  You will either bleed more, cry more or have nursing difficulties. You only have so much energy to go around.  You need to reserve it for the inner work your body needs to do.   You need to rest when the baby is sleeping and let others do for you for two weeks.  If you can do this, you will find that by the end of the second week you will start to feel like yourself.  Your nursing will begin to flow better and your understanding of your baby will definitely increase.  

I hope this helps!  You will be an amazing Mom!  I know that because you are worried about it!  And wow…you will never love another person like you will love this baby.  It is a different kind of love that no one can explain to you until you have your own baby.


About Susan Shepard

I am the owner/partner of MothersCare Doula Services in CT. I am a Postpartum doula and my business partner, Sheila Marley is a Labor doula. MothersCare places both Labor and Postpartum doulas with CT Families. I am the mom of five beautiful children, one set of twins. The best quote for me as a young mother and the catalyst for MothersCare is “It’s not weakness to know you need help, it’s wisdom.”

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