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How to Survive the First Few Weeks of Motherhood With Some Semblance of Your Sanity

By Isabel Kallman

By Kristen Chase, author of Motherhood Uncensored and co-founder of Cool Mom Picks

1. Get Help

Whether it’s a relative or friend who makes you dinner, or a paid babysitter or postpartum doula who chases after the older kids and cleans your house, you need to get help. There’s no written ordinance that says mothers should be able to do everything on their own. So, when it comes to these first few weeks, enlist the village and be clear about what you need. Make a list of things you need and/or what would be most helpful and leave it on the refrigerator so that your “helpers” can actually provide you with help and not make life more complicated for you.

2. Get Sleep

Most moms laugh when someone tells them to sleep when the baby sleeps, but when it comes down to it, lack of sleep is probably the worst side effect of every mom’s postpartum existence. Combine no sleep with raging hormones, and life can become quickly unbearable. So if someone offers to hold the baby so you can sleep, take them up on it, regardless of how many laundry piles and dirty dishes might be calling your name. Even a couple of hours of rest can turn your mood around.

3. Get a sling

Contrary to popular belief (or maybe it’s just my mother-in-law), newborns cannot be spoiled by holding them too much. But if you’ve got other things to do, like eating or using the bathroom without listening to the baby scream from her swing, try a sling. Now before you think yards of fabric wrapped in some sort of origami knot, think again. Most slings don’t require a master’s degree in baby wearing. My hands-down favorite (literally) is the Rockin’ Baby Pouch. But your best bet is to find a sling-addicted friend, or sling and carrier reviews online, and figure out which one is best for you.

4. Get Out

Anyone stuck in the same house, in the same clothes, with the same baby for any length of time will go buggy – think solitary confinement but with a screaming hungry infant. It’s practically torturous. So whether it’s a walk around the block or a quick trip to the mall, a change of scenery will do you a world of good. And if you can, leave the baby home. Not only will she be exposed to less germs, but she could probably use a little break from you too.

5. Get Perspective

When it comes to these early weeks, it’s just about making it through to the next day. So just go into survival mode and do what you can. Lower your expectations tenfold. Do not step on the scale or try on your old jeans, both of which will just send you back over the edge. Instead focus on the positive – be proud that you fed your child successfully and leave it at that. Daily showers, complete meals, and matching clothes are bonuses. And celebrate your spontaneous crying fests with a drink.

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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  • amy

    November 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

    wonderful- smart and oh so true! Love it!

  • Elisa

    November 19, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Great post! A good sling is a MUST, no matter what the stupid Motrin people say 😉 I have several suggestions for slings on a baby edition of my “cool finds” post, here.

  • Issa

    November 19, 2008 at 11:55 am

    The cool thing about having more than one kid, is you truly know that making it though the day is enough. The house may be trashed, the kids may have eaten cereal for dinner for the third night in a row; but if all of them are alive at night, the day is a success.

  • Assertagirl

    November 19, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I just sent this two my two girlfriends who are pregnant…sounds like good advice to me! I try to be the friend who invites the new mom out.

  • charlotte

    November 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    That drink? Oh, it sounds heavenly.
    23 days till the due date, and then … aaaah!

  • Christian

    November 19, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    My absolute favorite sling is the Rockin Baby Pouch. It never leaves my side either I have it on, or it is in my bag because it is so compact! I own 3 other slings, and this is hands down my favorite!

  • Linda

    November 20, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Love this post!! Great advice. Love your last two. I’m going to add this to our Baby Bunching bests this week. 🙂

  • Victoria

    November 26, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I had all of these things and can vouch for the sanity-saving effects of each. As a single mom of a colicky baby who never slept, I was beyond overwhelmed. I can’t imagine having done it without each of these.