Here's what my index card says:
*Breastfeed if you can. And don't let your baby snack. Get him good and full at each feeding so he will sleep properly. (This doesn't really apply to the first two weeks, when I think you should feed OFTEN and how ever much the baby wants so you can make him happy and build up your milk supply.)
*In the first few weeks postpartum, listen to your body. If you are tired, SIT DOWN. Sometimes I try to get right back out to the rice paddy, so to speak, and overdo it. Bodies need to heal. Nap whenever you can!
*Along those same lines, listen to your mind and heart. If you are starting to feel cooped up, melancholy, or lonely, call a friend! This time around I struggled with this more than usual, and when I felt it coming on I tried to reach out rather than get sucked further in (which is my typical inclination). There's nothing that cheered me like my friend popping by with an icy cold coke for me...
*In the end, never be afraid to throw out all the advice and listen to your mother heart.
It's been a while since I was "post-partum" - and even though it is soooo hard, and exhausting and all-around nuts in many ways, it is a state I would very much like to find myself in again soon. My advice is to look at that little babe and smell it and sing to it and hold it close and savor it all very mindfully. But I'm sure you already know and do that.
I don't really like to tell other moms what to do - everyone's patterns and habits evolve differently. And what one mom feels totally happy and content with might drive another mom crazy. All I can really say or recommend is what felt right to me. Something that is very important to me is honoring my baby's schedule; we all seem to be happier when we can do that. I know it gets harder as you add more children and life gets busier with each child. But as much as possible, after my babies are born, we lay low. We stay home. We let the baby sleep!
And schedules and sleep patterns don't always just materialize out of luck and thin air. Sometimes you have to work at them quite diligently. I say work at it. It might seem like a lot of work on the front end (it is) but the pay off is beautiful and so worth it.
My last bit of advice is, don't wait too long to remember you. For the first few weeks after I have a baby, I just let life happen. I don't try to impose any sort of order or schedule or normalcy on anything. But if that drags on too long, I start to feel out of sorts and unhappy. So, I try to figure out what I need, and act. I have a hard time feeling peaceful and happy if my house looks like Chernobyl. I'm not militant about it, but I make it a priority to get things back to some semblance of order every day, even with a small baby. If I can't do it by myself, I ask my husband to help. I recognize that mothering, especially of a new baby, requires a lot of sacrifice. But I think when it gets to a point of total self-sacrifice that stretches on and on we really start to feel lost and depressed. So don't wait too long to nurture yourself.
What does your index card say? What products do you think are the BEST? What advice would you give a new mom?