But, being a mom isn't all rainbows and unicorns.
One area of angst is often breastfeeding. New moms are never really told the challenges of breastfeeding, nor how physically demanding, time consuming and depleting it can be.
Stephanie Nguyen, RN, MS, WHNP-C, IBCLC, and creator of Modern Milk, says preparing for breastfeeding should happen before baby even comes into the world.
She advises three essential steps in your last trimester.
1) Get the supplies you need, such as a breast pump (and investigate if it is covered by insurance).
2) Purchase nursing bras, breast pads, and remedies for sore nipples (i.e. nipple butter).
3) Check out lactation consultants in your area. Your OB/GYN probably isn't going to be of much help.
If you want to be successful with breastfeeding, Stephanie says the newborn to six-week window is absolutely essential, because that is when your milk supply is established.
While some moms pump enough to let dad get up for nightly feedings, Stephanie advises against this and strongly suggests feeding on demand to create a sufficient milk supply. Some moms still need to get up and pump during the middle of the night, even if baby is sleeping all the way through (take advantage of the prolactin surge between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m.). You're going to be exhausted, but the end result is well worth it.
You may not always be able to be with your little one for mealtime. If baby is feeding three times while you're away, try to pump that many times as well. The timing isn't as essential as getting all three in, even if the last two are only an hour or so apart. A medical-grade pump is particularly helpful for pumping in this way.
If you begin to experience a reduced milk supply, review the medications you're taking. Avoid estrogen-containing birth control pills. Even progestin-only pills may impact your supply. Cold or allergy meds can also have a negative effect. Troubleshoot anything you're doing differently. Are you cutting calories? Exercising more?
There's no need to rush back into life before baby, especially with your around-the-clock schedule. But, if a return to routine is helping you ease the stress, that's OK. The less stress you have, the better your breastfeeding experience will be.
Listen in as Stephanie joins Dr. Taz to discuss her breastfeeding tips and tricks, as well as share more about Modern Milk and the services it provides.