Celebrating the new you
“I think a woman’s body after having a baby is pretty amazing. You gave birth to a human being. So I would really like to see that celebrated.”—Blake Lively
Finishing the Newborn Marathon
Yay! You’ve crossed the first parenting “finish” line! This is the time when many new parents let out a big, long sigh of relief. That’s because, for most, the marathon fussy days are behind you. While the whole first year of infancy is still consuming, you will start to get a little more breathing room now.
The first three months of your baby’s life are often called “The Fourth Trimester” because your infant is still doing so much growing and needs so much from you minute to minute.
By 12 weeks, your baby is likely looking different, gaining new skills (oh, you found your hand!) and possibly sleeping longer stretches at night. Some of the milestones you can expect your baby to reach include more babbling and interacting, drooling from “pre teething,” and longer naps. Your baby may also start rolling to the side, lifting their head 90 degrees when on their tummy, laughing out loud, and can even anticipate being lifted when you reach to pick them up.
Navigating Friendships After Baby
If you’re one of the first of your friends to have a baby, you may be in a lonely place right now. Parenthood, especially the first few months, is something you learn by doing—and if your friends haven’t been there, it’s kind of hard to “get” what your life is like right now. Your besties without kids may be struggling to fit into your life, and you may be feeling the same about them. While it’s not your job to guide them through it (you have enough going on!) you can leave room for them to step away and come back when you both feel ready to connect again.
On the other hand, some of your friendships may get stronger, especially if you know someone who had a baby around the same as you. While friendships do change after parenthood, many see those bonds get stronger and find deeper connections with friends on a similar journey. Have you joined a new parent group? Try staying open to new mom friends. Sometimes bonding over having babies the same age is the foundation to a lasting friendship!
Finding Confidence in Motherhood
Maybe in your pre-baby life, there was something (or many things) you were really great at. Maybe it was easy for you to feel confident about your skills, your looks, your abilities, or your relationships. Motherhood tends to change all that. Suddenly, you are new at everything, and it can feel like you are starting over again. Because you are learning, there will be things you are great at…yet. But the work you are doing, while probably not recognized as much as it could be, is real and it’s important. If you feel your self esteem dip after becoming a parent, know this is part of everyone’s journey. Getting a little extra Help at Home with baby care can also give you a much-needed confidence boost.
Feeling good in your body is a big struggle postpartum. Some hold the expectation that their body will quickly “snap back” to how it was before kids, and end up feeling bad about themselves when that’s not the case. Thanks to the honesty of celebrities like Chrissy Tiegen and Mila Kunis, the conversations around what we expect our bodies to look like after having a baby are changing…for the better. It takes a lot of work from your body to grow, birth, and feed a baby, and your body deserves kindness and celebration for all it’s done (and, especially if you’re breastfeeding, still doing!) Plus, infants take up a lot of time, which means prioritizing fitness doesn’t always happen. Do what you can and go easy on yourself the rest of the time.
Are you a perfect mom? Nobody is. Are you a good enough mother? That’s the metric that matters most. Are you doing the best you can with the resources you have? Are you letting yourself have a break when you feel depleted? These are the tools that will get you through a whole lifetime of parenting, so by practicing them now will leave you well equipped for the next 18 years.
INFOGRAPHIC: WAYS TO PLAY WITH YOUR 3-MONTH-OLD
Lay your baby on their back or tummy and hold out a variety of toys for baby to reach & grasp. Reaching out to grab things is how your baby learns about the world around them.
This stage is all about tummy time! With baby on their stomach, lay facing them and encourage your baby to look at you. They might even lift up their head, push up on hands or start rolling from tummy to back.
Peek-a-boo, making funny noises or silly sounds, and singing “clapping” songs will encourage your baby to imitate. Respond to your baby with smiles when they mimic you to encourage play.
As your little one begins to develop language skills, you can talk and sing to them, creating stories about what your baby sees. “Do you see the big truck? It is so shiny!” Try using their name when talking to them or singing songs.