When we found out we were being sent to San Antonio for training, I was 7 weeks pregnant with Matthew. It turned out that we were going to be moving to Mississippi immediately after we had him. I went into labor first thing in the morning on February 8th, and wound up with an emergency c-section after over 2.5 hours of pushing. Let me tell you, my body was WRECKED. I talked my way out of the hospital 2 days later, went to my parents’ house for a week, and then we pulled away, on the road to Columbus, MS. I remember looking at Ryan as we left my childhood street and saying “There’s no one in this car who knows how to be a parent.” We were moving 700 miles away again, this time with a tiny 9 day old baby in the back and a hurting mama in the front. When we got to Mississippi, I spent 6 weeks on an air mattress while we waited for our household goods to ship.
Speaking from a semi-seasoned military mom perspective now that we have an almost-5-year-old and a 2 year old, I have a few tips that I felt I HAD to share with all my military mamas, far from home and family. On the bright side, living in Mississippi (and Oklahoma, Austin, DC, and Fort Worth) taught me how to fly with a baby like a champ, but it also taught me a LOT of other lessons. I may be a former military spouse, but I lived the life with babies, far from everyone I knew, and remember it (mostly) fondly. I truly hope these new mom tips from a military spouse (even if it is former) will help you feel more secure in the decisions you’re making and give you some ways to make your life a little easier.
5 New Mom Tips from a Military Spouse
Do Whatever Makes You Feel Better
Wine, coffee, sleep, running, TV, reading, whatever it takes (within reason, of course). I started running after I had Matthew because it helped me sleep better, but it also let me lose the baby weight and he LOVED it. Watching the world go by made his witching hour slightly less cranky (and I got to listen to music and not actively entertain him). Now, I love doing it with both boys for the same reason! It kills an hour before dinner that would otherwise be tempting to just flip the TV on and zone out (which is TOTALLY acceptable, by the way).
I know, it would be so nice to be able to do everything yourself, but your mama body isn’t made to jump right back in. You’re talking to a girl who took a solid 8 weeks to recover from C-section #1 and less than 1 week to recover from C-section #2. I firmly believe the amount of help I accepted played a huge role in that difference. It would be amazing to have your mama down the street, but sometimes, having an Air Force sister is just as good. (Plus, they’re way more likely to bring you wine)
Fed is Best.
Can’t or don’t want to breastfeed all the time? Pump. Can’t or don’t want to do that? Formula feed. This gorgeous little lady to the left (not mine– my military niece– but the boy is mine!) spent most of her babyhood being formula fed and she’s a chatty, hilarious little 2 year old now! Fed is best, people.
If you DO want to breastfeed and pump, though, let 1 Natural Way deal with getting your TriCare breast pumps ordered, shipped, AND paid for by TriCare. Not only do they cover your breast pump, but they have an auto-ship system that can send you more bags, tubes, anything you need, every month– ALL covered by your TriCare insurance!
So, how do you get your insurance-covered breast pump?
- Step 1 – Fill out your insurance information form on their website.
- Step 2 – Select your breast pump model. Tricare covers all models they offer, so choose the one YOU like best– they carry Medela, Spectra, AND Kiinde!
- Step 3 – Enroll in their monthly breastfeeding accessories program (called Resupply)– no more last-minute trips to grab more bags for freezing milk. They have all kinds of breast pump accessories, compression socks, AND postpartum care supplies, so they can have you covered from birth to 2!
- Step 4 – Provide them with a prescription or your doctor’s information and they will get one for you (yeah, you don’t even have to go to the doctor to get it!).
- Step 5 – Your pump and supplies will ship right to your front door via UPS or USPS.
Seriously, y’all. I know there are SO many people telling you what to do, what not to do, but as far as getting something you’re likely going to need anyway, this makes for a 5 minute solution (literally) and you never even have to talk to TriCare (which is every military spouse’s dream, right?!).
Enjoy Your Time with Your Baby– but don’t feel guilty when you don’t!
Y’all, being a new mom is amazing. That baby is beautiful, sweet, snuggly, and they just smell SO good (until they don’t). It’s also exhausting, stressful, you second-guess everything you do, and downright not fun half of the time. The good far outweighs the bad, but you’re allowed to not love every second and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise!
Take the Easy Way When It’s an Option
You don’t have to do everything the hard way. Let your local grocery store do the shopping for you and load the darn things into the car– you’ll still have to bring them inside! Your kid can wear pj’s for the first year of their life with zero judgement from anyone who should matter. Less laundry is a win, my friend. Shop online for anything and everything– and yes, I do mean have Amazon auto-ship you razors every month.
Like I said, I totally get that there are 1,001 people with 1,001 opinions about what’s best for you and your baby. The good news is, the only opinions that matter are yours and your spouse’s, so ENJOY the time with your baby and remember that this time is short (but not so short that you can’t go take a bubble bath alone)!