Bringing your new baby home is so exciting, and while there are many miraculously sweet and sacred moments in there, it can be overwhelming – to say the least. Sleep deprivation isn’t conducive to the most logical or objective thought processes – and well-meaning people offer such contradictory advice your head will spin.
Fortunately, if you learn to trust your instincts and your feelings, your path will be smoother. Here are some of the less-fun things you can expect after baby arrives – along with surefire solutions.
What to Expect After Baby
You’re worried about everything, all the time
Poor mama! The combination of a fragile newborn, a tired mind, and TMI from society’s “experts” can make for serious, new-mom anxiety. Is baby gaining enough weight? Is this normal? Is that normal? The questions continue ad nauseam.
Solution: Enlist a peer(s) you trust, take deep breaths & have faith in your instincts
You are not alone. This is how most new moms feel – regardless of how sparkly and perfect they seem on FB, Instagram and Blogs. I promise you; Inside, they’re all screaming!
1. First, if you haven’t given birth yet – consider hiring a doula or midwife. She will be your go-to resource and island of sanity.
2. Give yourself a break from social media. Instead, enlist the support of a non-judgmental, even-keel, mom-peer you trust, join a mom’s group in your area, and take seriously deep breaths on a regular basis.
3. Most of all – trust your instincts. Your heart knows far more about what your baby needs than anyone else. Trust and have faith in yourself. You are worthy of this work, and you will both learn and grow together.
You’re tired – oh, so tired
You’ll be tired to a level of fatigue you never knew existed. That depth of fatigue makes every challenge seem insurmountable at times.
Solution: Re-establish new expectations
One of the biggest enemies here is not the baby who doesn’t sleep, it’s the fact that women/couples try to maintain their old routines, along with the new baby. For the first six weeks or so, forget about the old routines or typical time constructions. Hide the clocks if you need to. There is no day or night – or things that should happen during the day or at night. There’s just waking, sleeping, eating, etc. as needed.
Sleep when baby sleeps; wake when baby wakes. You may find that your new finest hours are actually between three and six in the morning – and that’s okay. It will all balance out and right itself soon enough.
You can’t get things done
The dishes, the laundry, preparing meals, basic errands – all difficult to do when a newborn requires hours of attention.
Solution: Take everyone up on their, “if there’s anything I can do…” offers
People want to help! Let them. Enlist them to set up a Meal Train, do some laundry, wash the dishes, spruce up the house, hold the baby so you can take a shower, pick up essential grocery items, etc. They will love the help, and you’ll love having some things taken care of as you establish your new routine.
Breastfeeding isn’t feeling so “natural” after all
Breastfeeding is a double-edged sword for many women because yes, it’s “natural,” but it doesn’t always happen like clockwork. It is not unusual for breastfeeding to take about three to six weeks (or longer) to really kick into rhythmic, smooth-sailing gear – and that’s a long time if your nipples are in agony, the baby is fussy or you develop blocked ducts or mastitis.
Your nether regions are ouchy
The first day or two may surprise you because all that oxytocin released from the birth is an amazing pain reliever. After day three, though, things can really start to ache and feel tender.
Solution: Skip TP and use a squirt bottle and a sitz bath solution
For the first week or so, consider ditching the TP and having a nice pile of soft, microfibre cloths on hand. If your healthcare provider didn’t give you one, order a perineal irrigation bottle, along with sitz bath tea, and keep the bottle full on the back of your toilet tank. It’s so much nicer to gently wash than wipe – and the herbs in the sitz bath solution soothe and stimulate tissue regeneration.
You can also take sitz baths by adding the solution to your bath water and enjoying a relaxing soak with or without baby.
You had a C-Section
As if the postpartum period didn’t have enough challenges, a C-section makes it more difficult to lift, twist and hold baby in certain positions because the incision needs to heal.
Solution: Be prepared & ask for help
Mobility will be a bit tricky at first as well. Have a big basket prepared with all of the items you’ll need on-hand, including:
· nipple cream
· burp cloths and adult-sized towels
· trash bag(s)
· extra baby clothes
· extra lounging clothes
· water bottle
The more you have within easy reach, the more comfortable you’ll be. Never hesitate to ask for help – you’ll heal faster that way.
REMEMBER MOMMY, YOU ARE AMAZING AND WONDERFUL!!
My name is Kathy Jey, owner of Les Petits Pas Photo & Studio, and I’m a certified newborn photographer in Montreal. I think babies are miracles and new moms are heroes, and I would love to capture the essence of you and your baby’s powerful magic. Contact me to schedule your newborn photo session and we’ll create incredible images that show the best of what this fleeting newborn phase has in store.