When you’re pregnant, people love to comment on your body.
Then, the instant you have the baby, they give you So. Much. Advice. “Breastfeed exclusively!” “You can’t breastfeed in here.” “Co-sleeping is the best way to bond.” “Co-sleeping can be lethal.” “Oh, I could never leave my child so young.” “When are you planning to go back to work?”
We are here to cut through the noise and tell you which words of “wisdom” you can just nod, smile and disregard immediately.
Feel free, of course, to ignore us too. You’re the mom. You know best.
1. Just keep trying ― you’ll get the hang of breastfeeding eventually.
“One of the most harmful myths about motherhood is that it comes naturally,” writes novelist Leni Zumas on The Cut, “— getting pregnant, giving birth, feeding a new human. I’ve watched friends fall into prolonged despair because they weren’t able to breastfeed. They felt like defects. Failures at the very thing they were built to do. A mother knows. Except when she doesn’t.” As Adele famously shared, “I mean, I loved it, all I wanted to do was breastfeed and then I couldn’t [her milk dried up after nine weeks] and then I felt like, ‘if I was in the jungle now back in the day, my kid would be dead because my milk’s gone.’” You are well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. You should also know they don’t define you as a mother. Promise.
2. Nap when the baby naps.
Like at 9:45 a.m., when just two weeks ago you were prepping for your daily morning staff meeting, half-caff cappuccino in hand, at that exact time? Even when you’ve been woken up every 45 minutes for the past 48 hours, it’s not always possible to reach your REM cycle just as Mika starts sipping her first icy beverage on “Morning Joe.” So go ahead and scroll through Instagram or — OMG — shower. Maybe even wash the damn bottles. Just try not to lose more sleep over losing sleep.
3. Join a moms group.
Don’t get us wrong — support systems are everything. But you may not have the bandwitdth to make friends with — and feel awkwardly judged by — a brand-new clique of randos. (That said, tons of moms we know report having met their new best friends in newborn mothers groups.) The point is not to beat yourself up if your postpartum posse is your old work wife, your childhood BFF, your friendly baristas (shout out to Evelyn and Vanessa at the 14th street Starbucks!) and your mom. Having their own kids is not a requirement.
4. Enjoy every minute! (See also: It goes so fast!)
This well-intentioned chestnut sets some of us up for a Humpty-Dumpty-style fall. When you’re in physical shock, grieving the loss of your old life, desperately in love with your newborn to the point of agoraphobia (Will he catch the flu if we go to outside??), and so sleep deprived you are technically drunk, you’re feeling… something… but enjoyment might not quite be it. Also, to be real, it does not feel like it’s going that “fast” when you’ve read through Eric Carle’s entire oeuvre and it’s only 11 a.m.
5. Blend your own baby food ― OMG it’s super easy.
Going to the farmers’ market and selecting the perfect winter squash, scooping out the seeds, chopping and boiling the flesh, emulsifying it in your new three-part just-for-babies steamer-blender, and of course freezing future batches in mini plastic cups (BPA-free obviously, how could you even ask??) is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. As in one single afternoon. After that, that’s why God invented Amazon and organic puree pouches.