YOU’VE made it through close to nine months of pregnancy and hours of labour or surgery, not to mention that stay in the hospital immediately afterwards.
They have finally stopped waking you up three times a night to check your blood pressure, and now you’re home with the newborn baby.
If you are feeling a bit lost, here’s general advice on how to keep both of you healthy and happy and survive the first month of new motherhood, taken from the website WikiHow.
- Don’t expect perfection from yourself or baby. If you are managing to keep the baby fed, and in clean nappies, and you are staying alert to any medical necessities, you are doing great.
- Keep materials and supplies close to the places where you will be using them.
- If you are bottle feeding, for example, keep everything you need for formula preparation on the kitchen counter, and prepare bottles for night feeds so that all you need to do is add water.
- Get enough sleep in order to survive the first month of new motherhood.
- It’s essential to avoid sleep deprivation so that you can remain alert when caring for your baby. It’s hard when you have mountains of work to do, but try to have some rest when your baby rests.
- Ease into a schedule. Some people believe in strict schedules and others in allowing a natural rhythm to develop. Either way, do what is most manageable for you, and without causing stress to the baby. It will take some trial and error to find a good balance.
- Be alert for signs of postpartum blues. More than 50% of women experience tearfulness, tiredness, sadness, and difficulty in thinking clearly on the third or fourth day after delivery. Get help if postpartum blues become a serious problem.
- Accept help. Accept any help you can get – within reason. Be willing to let your partner dress, change or bathe the baby. Relationships thrive when responsibilities of parenthood are shared. If you have the budget, hire someone to clean and cook for the first few weeks, so that you can focus on the baby and your own recovery from the birth.
- Carry the baby close to you. Prams are great, but you may find that keeping the baby right on your chest will be the most convenient for you even during household chores. A baby sling or carrier can make getting around easy and comfortable for both of you. Having more contact time with your baby will make baby calmer and happier, which will benefit you too.
- Watch your eating habits. The days of having an excuse to binge on condensed milk or anchovies are now over. It’s important for the sake of yourself and your baby for you to adopt a healthy eating plan that has whole grains, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and some natural meat and dairy.
- Avoid processed and packaged foods containing artificial chemical food additives (read the labels) – especially if you are breastfeeding – since these additives get passed on to your baby through your breast milk. Drink lots of water and take a good quality daily multivitamin.
- Exercise. After your doctor or midwife agrees, start exercising again in small increments. If you can’t manage formal exercise, simply get out and walk for half an hour a day.
- Keep your social life balanced.
Stay in touch with your support system, whether that consists of the father, your close relatives, or friends. Consider finding other new mothers and connecting with them. As for guests, limit people from visiting during this time when your child is vulnerable to contagious illnesses.