Despite the fact that breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for babies, nursing doesn't always come naturally. That's why it's no surprise that many moms admit to giving up the new-mom challenges of breastfeeding. "Many moms have difficulties establishing breastfeeding and some of this may be due to birth practices that aren't the best for moms and babies," explains Michele Deck, Lamaze International president and childbirth educator. "Pregnant women can help to push for the best birth and breastfeeding experiences by using childbirth education to understand the most common barriers and how to navigate them."
Keeping up with housework
One of the greatest challenges of motherhood is juggling a newborn and the housework. In addition to fatigue, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to fit in everything your newborn needs along with your usual chores. Although it is tough to see your laundry unfolded and the dust bunnies rallying against you, you'll have to learn to ask for help or quickly concede to the idea that the dirty dishes can wait -- you have more important duties as a new mom.
Resenting your partner
While you're up in the wee hours of the morning pacing the room with your wailing newborn, it's easy to understand how you can come to resent the man who can sleep through it all. But, chances are he's feeling the stress of providing for a new family, too. So when tensions are running high take the time to sit down and talk -- he can't read your mind so be specific in the ways he can help pull his weight with baby and house duties.
Deciding whether or not to return to work
Another big challenge of motherhood is dealing with mommy-guilt, and unfortunately, your decision on whether or not to return to work is no exception. Before you decide, talk to your boss about the flexibility of your schedule, along with other moms who stay home with their kiddos, to help you decide whether or not to put your career on hold to stay home with your baby.
Your best resource when facing the four toughest new-mom challenges is not to try and go at it alone. Reach out to your family, friends and other mommies who survived the newborn phase and take all the help and advice you can tolerate. The first year may be tough, but it doesn't last forever, so enjoy it!