mom with child

Dealing with Guilt & Keeping Your Sanity

May 10, 2023 Women

The long pregnancy is over and you survived labor

You quickly realize your baby is a handful that doesn’t come with instructions — and being a new mom isn’t exactly like you pictured it. Of course, you are thrilled with your adorable baby… but you’re really tired too!

I’m right there with you

A few days after my baby was born I felt exhausted from labor, the endless feedings and diaper changes. Breastfeeding was more challenging than I imagined. But I also felt an emotional high — my beautiful new baby was finally here!

There’s no doubt that I love my baby

Once I was home after his birth I felt a rollercoaster of emotions. I felt unsure and unprepared for the journey ahead. On any given day I might feel joy, frustration, and exhaustion — and let’s not forget the guilt! New motherhood has not turned out the way I thought, and I often feel guilty about wanting alone time or not being affectionate enough toward my partner. It helps to know now that my mood swings were partly due to the sudden hormone changes after my baby’s birth.

many of your feelings may come from your inner worries

This can lead you to feel “down” or “blue.” Feelings of guilt and the need for support are normal and common, especially for first-time moms. However, if you begin to feel depressed and uninterested in caring for yourself or your baby, this could be a sign of postpartum depression – talk to your doctor.

8 Ways to Keep Your Sanity

Ask for help

child with his mam
Tip #1

It’s not always easy to ask family, friends or your partner for help or to tell them how you feel. But talking to them and getting their help can reduce your stress and anxiety. Consider joining a new mommy group in your community; talking to other women going through the same things can help you better know what to expect.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Every new parent wants to keep their new baby safe and healthy, but we all make mistakes and things don’t always go like we planned. Everyone has different ideas about how to best care for their babies — from feeding and vaccinations to teething and potty training. What you decide may be different from what your friends/family would do but it’s your (and your partner’s) choice to make.

Tip #2

Get rest

child sleeping with mom
Tip #3

Every veteran mom will tell you to sleep when the baby does, and this is golden advice. It will be hard to rest when your little one is down for a nap because you will want to take this time to catch up on things. But rest will help you think more clearly, so take naps when you can.

Know the signs of postpartum depression

If your baby blues don’t go away or you feel sad or depressed for more than a few weeks, talk to your doctor about these feelings. You may have postpartum depression (PPD).

Tip #4

Don’t forget to take care of yourself

child with his mom img
Tip #5

Set aside time each day for yourself. This could be as little as a few minutes or a few hours to do something you enjoy, like taking a walk; or find relaxing like taking a long shower, calling a friend, or watching a favorite TV show.

Eat well and stay hydrated

Did you know eating well can improve your mood and help you think clearly? Make a list of foods/meals you’d like to have available each week. Set aside time to shop and cook or have your partner/friends/family help you. Drink plenty of water, especially if you are breastfeeding.

child playing withmom
Tip #6

Get help for breastfeeding problems

child with nurse and mom
Tip #7

Talk to your baby’s pediatrician, WIC peer counselor and/or a lactation consultant. The sooner you get help with breastfeeding issues the happier you and your baby will be.

Take a walk

Moving your body and getting some fresh air can give you an energy boost and make you feel happier.

mom caring child
Tip #8
Soon, you will look back on these early days as a new mom with pride and beam with joy at each of your baby’s milestones. It isn’t always easy, but you can do it!
Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: