Ashley Fultz, of The Style Editrix, recently welcomed her adorable son Smith to her family. We loved spotting her nursery in our gallery (pictures below!), and when we saw her incredibly honest video about what she learned as a new mom, we knew we had to introduce her to all of you. Former Fashion and Lifestyle Producer at E! News, Ashley now runs The Style Editrix, where she shares all her tips on personal style, beauty trends, baby must-haves, travel, and what life as a new mom is like for her.
She generously agreed to share her experience as a brand new mom—what surprised her and what advice she has for new moms about to make the leap into motherhood. While everyone’s experience is different, all of us mamas know there’s nothing quite like the first few months as a new mom, and sometimes we find strength in hearing another person’s experience. We’ll let Ashley take it from here!
1. A happy mommy = a happy baby. Most new moms, including myself, get mom guilt from almost day one. We question our every move and wonder if we are good enough. Give yourself a break and remember that while you are now responsible for another life, you have to take care of yourself first and foremost in order to take care of the baby properly. Your hormones are raging after birth, and on top of that, you are beyond sleep deprived. For me that equalled a very emotional and semi-depressed state. I definitely had the baby blues for a few weeks and would cry at the drop of a hat. Try to get some rest—that made all the difference in the world.
2. Take the help. I was told to accept any help offered after the baby came, and at first I didn’t understand the importance of this concept. I did get offered a lot of help, but I felt like I was the only one who really knew how to care for my baby, and that is not good for anyone. So anytime someone says they will watch the baby (and you trust them, obviously)—let them, and go take a nap, bath or get out of the house and go get a mani—anything to make you feel relaxed and like a normal person again!
3. Rethink visitors. Before I had my baby, I was so excited to welcome our new bundle of joy I invited everyone to the hospital and to our house to meet him when he was born. The problem is, I had never been through labor and didn’t realize how exhausted I would be and how much pain I would be in. I quickly decided I needed to sleep as much as I could and to try to get on some semblance of a routine or schedule without having to entertain people or even hold a conversation. In those first few weeks, it was just all too much. My advice is hold off on having any visitors unless they are bringing you food, cleaning your house or caring for your baby while you sleep, at least until you are getting the hang of things.
4. Breastfeeding. It’s hard. It’s great for some women, but it was really overwhelming for me. You are now the sole provider of food for the baby unless you incorporate formula. I decided to incorporate formula a month in because pumping and feeding every two to three hours was exhausting, and I needed my husband and mom to help me feed the baby and for me to get a night’s rest so I didn’t lose my mind. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about your choice. P.S. Another huge piece of the breastfeeding puzzle for me was discovered when I had a lactation coach come to the house—such a lifesaver! I highly recommend finding one and having her come over the first day or two when you are home from the hospital to help you with positions, latching, letting you know if your baby is getting enough, when to feed, etc. Breastfeeding classes at the hospital before the baby came were also very informative.
5. Popsicles. If you haven’t heard of these, you can thank me later if you have a vaginal birth. These things saved my life. I found out a couple weeks before I had the baby that most women tear or have an episiotomy, so there can be a lot of pain “down there” after you have the baby. These “popsicles” made all the difference in the world for me. Here’s how to make them: buy poise pads or thick period pads, aloe vera and witch hazel. Run water over said pad, ring out the excess water then apply the aloe vera and witch hazel on the pad. Put in the freezer. Enough said!
6. Bouncing back. This is a tough one for me to talk about because I am extremely critical of my body postpartum, and I know I need to take my own advice, but we all deserve some time to get back in shape and back to normal life. We just carried a baby for 10 months; mine was 8 lbs and 21.5 inches long, for goodness sake. We didn’t put on the weight overnight, so we cannot expect to drop it overnight either. I thought I would lose all of my weight in the first few weeks, and don’t get me wrong, I am not doing terribly, but I am two and a half months out and still haven’t lost it all. My advice is to hold onto a few pairs of cute maternity jeans and invest in an all black cozy loungewear set to make yourself comfortable and happy in the meantime. You’ll get there, mama!
7. Go over expectations with your partner before the baby comes. I don’t think anyone really understands the enormity of the responsibility or the life change that a first baby brings. I know my husband and I didn’t. We never really sat down and had conversations about who would feed the baby all night, if we could/would hire a night nurse, when I would go back to work, when we would hire a nanny, etc. We are both business owners and felt like we would just figure it out as it came, but I recommend talking over expectations and schedules before the baby comes, that way there is no miscommunication. Communication is key now that you have a little one to both care for.
8. Do IT before baby. Okay, this sounds like I am talking about something a little racy, but really I just mean set everything up and read anything and everything you can and need to before the baby comes. There were a few things that I put off thinking we would “just do it when the baby comes home,” but I did not have a brain to read a sentence, or the patience to figure anything out after my baby came home from the hospital. The first few weeks are so overwhelming and exhausting, there is just no time for it.
You can watch Ashley’s original video here.