New Mom Stresses - How to Thrive in Baby's First Year

Redefine thriving as progress toward a goal, not perfection.

The joys of motherhood are numerous and life-giving. But sometimes it can feel like the stresses of being a new mom run together into one big mess of emotions and uncertainty, outweighing the joys. You may be wondering if you will survive Baby’s first year, let alone thrive.

But how do you define thrive?

Webster says to thrive is “to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.” Doesn’t that definition change your perception of what thriving looks like? We automatically focus on the realized goal, but what if we reframe thriving to look more like progressing toward the goal?

In Baby’s first year (and beyond), be sure you are looking for ways to make progress and then seek to re-evaluate how you perceive stressful situations.

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New Mom Stresses & How to Thrive in Baby's First Year

Sleep - Not Enough for You, Not Predictable for Baby

It doesn’t matter how much you know or have learned along the way, it is difficult to handle daily life when you are sleep deprived.

How to Thrive

Getting Baby on a predictable sleep routine is really important for the good of your household. It certainly won’t cure everything and it will take time, but once you are able to get more sleep, you will be able face stress with a better perspective. Check out these sleep articles to get started. Buy On Becoming Babywise for more on sleep training.

Feeding Your Baby

Are you having trouble breastfeeding? Do you feel like you are ready to quit, but feel guilty? Are you feeding your baby formula and feeling ashamed of your choice?

How to Thrive

We all know about the benefits of breastfeeding, and we know there are many reasons why a mother does not breastfeed. The definition of "thrive" comes in handy again here, because a child that is thriving is “growing vigorously.” And that is the obvious goal of feeding your child, however you choose to do it.

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Sifting Through All the Advice/Opinions/Voices

Information is good, but not all information is good, right or beneficial. And in a compromised state of sleep deprivation it can be challenging.

How to Thrive

It will take time to hone your instincts and clarify your desires and methods for parenting. Consult people you trust and see if their ideas work for your family. In the meantime, laugh at this old, but still timely article about one mom’s struggle.

Worries about the What-ifs

Fear can be a big obstacle as a new mom. Don’t let fear steal your joy.

How to Thrive

Baby Earth writer Jess Wartinger gives great advice to the Worried New Mom when she advises to:

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  • Find your village
  • Find moments to breath
  • Find reassurance

Getting out of the House for the First Time

To some new moms this is easy and to others, it is monumental. Waiting until Baby is two months old feels safe and responsible, but that can be isolating. Gathering all the gear and planning for any contingency can feel overwhelming. Figuring out how to cover your postpartum body can be depressing.

How to Thrive

Give yourself grace. If someone else seems to effortlessly leave the house with a newborn in tow, don’t compare yourself and think you are inferior. We all have our own struggles. Start small if you need to, like a trusted friend’s house.

The reality is that motherhood is hard. There is so much uncertainty and we hate that. We want to know what to do and how to do it well.

Your perception of a given situation has a lot of influence on how you handle it and how you work toward a solution. Redefine thriving as progress toward a goal, not perfection. Be a learner, look for progress and find people that can help you see things clearly and thrive.

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Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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