In the weeks surrounding the delivery of your new baby, people have probably offered tons of unsolicited advice. But all you can think of is holding your beautiful baby in your arms. As soon as she arrives, it’s a whirlwind of calls, Facebook posts and maneuvering diapers and household duties. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, or expecting your first little one soon, here are a few useful tips that will help you get through the newborn phase with all the support that you need.
Be frank with your friends and family.
The truth is that while society has set “normal” standards as far as family visits during the first few days of delivery, you should set appropriate expectations for when you’re ready for visitors. Take some time to discuss the timeline with your significant other. Do you want immediate family to visit right after birth or do you want some time to recover and bond as a family? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Birth can be an extremely exhausting experience, so taking the right amount of time to recover and bond with your baby is important. This length of time is different for everyone.
Communicate your needs.
If your friends and family don’t have young children or haven’t had children in awhile, they can forget what a new family needs in the days and weeks surrounding the birth of a new baby. There’s no harm in letting them know. This article outlines a great list of ways that friends and family can help after the baby is born. Among the suggestions: dropping food off and leaving, coming to hold the baby so mom can shower, cooking, cleaning, doing and folding laundry, and cleaning out the fridge. Friends really do want to help, but might need a little guidance in understanding what exactly it is that you need.
Prioritize what matters.
Depending on what your maternity leave looks like, whether you’ll be transitioning to being a stay at home mom, you may wonder when it is that you can return to your “normal” life. The laundry will start to pile up, dishes will overtake your sink and start to spread across your counter tops, you might sleep more during the day than you do at night – and all of these changes are completely normal. Take some time to prioritize taking care of the baby with basic things like showering, eating and staying hydrated. Taking care of your baby and yourself should be top priority, with household chores, social visits and other errands falling somewhere behind that.
Directly after birth, your body will be putting everything back into place. You might have a little back pain from late night nursing sessions in bed or neck pain from awkward sleeping positions and looking down at your little one so frequently as he or she nurses. Along with stress, it’s important to make sure that your body stays in alignment so that your it can heal properly and do the right exercises to avoid any issues down the road.
The first few weeks are overwhelming for a new mom. You may feel alone and exhausted. You might feel like you no longer have control over your schedule or your activities – and to a certain extent, you won’t. Take the time to prepare for these feelings by communicating with friends and family and getting help whenever it is available as well as being proactive about your health. By embracing the community of peers that you have at your disposal, the first few weeks with a newborn can be much easier.