The first few weeks with my firstborn was a roller coaster ride of emotions, panic and freaking out. I couldn’t figure out how to cut my baby’s fingernails without nicking her tender little skin. In the second week, my husband gave her a bath and the moment he dipped her in the baby tub, I heard her scream and knew immediately (from where I was laying in the bedroom) that the water was too hot.
One day I must have turned the AC up and down at least 20 times and eventually broke it because I couldn’t trust myself that she wasn’t too hot or too cold.
Don’t panic. At least that’s what they tell you in the hospital. Your family and friends and all the mom books, magazines and articles you read will repeat this like a mantra: Don’t panic.
They are right. You shouldn’t panic. But you probably will anyway. It’s hard to keep calm and unruffled when suddenly a tiny creature hardly larger than your palms is thrust into your sole care and you aren’t even sure how to change a diaper.
Panic but don’t lose your cool. And by that I mean, allow yourself to have a freak out moment. To get upset. To cry. Be gentle with yourself too. Guilt and blame do nothing for a new mom’s confidence or trust in herself. I never learned to cut my newborn’s fingernails without nicking the skin. I still can barely cut my three year old’s fingernails without nicking the skin. It’s just one of those things. My husband can do it and so I let him. Let yourself be free to make mistakes. When you screw up, laugh and move on.
The most important thing for new moms is trusting in yourself and building the bond with your baby. Take the time to be with your baby and don’t rush to set up a routine or get back to work (if you can, take the full maternity leave). Enjoy those precious baby moments – they will not last long.