By Sallee Dwyer – RN, CM, Dip. Health Counselling, MA. Mid.
Congratulations – you did it!
There is no doubt about it – having a baby is life changing. We spend 9 months preparing physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially and spiritually for our little person to arrive.
Dreaming of what or whom the baby will look like or pondering the birth. The first few weeks after having a baby is often an emotional roller coaster and a big learning curve.
I believe that becoming a mother is similar to starting a new job. In the beginning you are excited and expectant on what is ahead, yet a little nervous with the ‘unknowns’. That’s what makes it so exciting but potentially daunting. It is important to remember that you will learn on the job and each day you will develop more skills.
Below are some suggestion to help with the transition in to parenthood.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We live in a day and age where we can put so much pressure on ourselves to be ‘superwoman’. Trying to do it all eventually comes at a cost. If you have family or friends who offer to help then LET THEM. It may be as simple as them preparing a meal, or having someone come over and mind the baby so you have a sleep between feeds. Most people want to help but often they just don’t know what to do. Don’t be afraid of suggesting ways in which they can help you.
Sleep when the baby is sleeping
Sleep is so important. The newborns circadian rhythm is developing and they do not yet know day and night. Generally newborn babies are up and wanting to feed around the clock, 24/7. As a new mum this can be overwhelming when the reality of this kicks in. Day in and day out is often focused around feeding and settling your baby and sleep can go out the window.
Make having a rest a priority. Take bit size pieces of time out to switch off and allow the body to unwind and rest. Like any new habit, you will adjust but it takes time. If you really cannot sleep during the day then engage in something that helps you to rest like reading, watching a movie or a light walk.
Take some time to recharge – “the power of a shower”
Caring for your newborn is top priority but it is also important to look after yourself. Many new mums feel guilty about considering their own personal needs and feel they must focus completely on the baby. Balance is the key and it is important to remember that you have needs too.
I was given this advice during my pregnancy that I found very helpful. “The power of a shower” is simply having a hot shower to have time out, recharge and feel refreshed. What I didn’t realize is how hard that can be with a newborn baby sometimes. Days often roll into nights and before you realize it has been a few days and you haven’t had a shower. I made having a shower in the morning a priority, even if I had been up all night. I would have a shower to remind myself that this was the start of a new day and I found it was very helpful and soothing.
Other suggestions include having a post pregnant massage or a trip the local cafe to get out of the house. Everyone will relax in different ways but remember you deserve it. You have sacrificed your body for 9 months and birthed a precious human you should be very proud of yourself.
Diet is very important
Balanced eating is vital. So often new mums are so tired that they don’t have the energy to prepare healthy meals so they snack on highly proceeded foods, high in fat and sugar that just adds to the feeling of exhaustion and lethargy. It can become a vicious cycle. Be proactive and prepare healthy meals before the baby arrives and freeze them. The “Lose baby weight 28 day diet and exercise plan” is a fabulous starting point once the baby has arrived, fresh, simple and minimal preparation – perfect for the busy mum.
Have a laugh
Laughter does you good, as that’s no joke! It reduces stress and it can bring your mind and body back into good balance. Laughter increases your intake of oxygen, stimulates your heart and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain (feel good hormones). Current research is suggesting that laughter helps to increase your immune system and with a new baby this is very beneficial. It may be catching up with friends or a light-hearted episode of ‘friends’ on DVD that gets you giggling. Whatever it is that makes you laugh go and do it.
Don’t compare to others
This can be super challenging as it is so easy to look around and compare to others. We live in a society that feeds off comparison and it can be very unhealthy and get you down. Every baby is different and it is really important to remember this.
If you are concerned that something may be wrong with either yourself or your baby then seek medical attention straight away. So often comparison can debilitate us and cause unnecessary worry. Today, mums have a multitude of information at our fingertips with the Internet and forums, and whilst these can be helpful it can also cause anxiety.
Many women are bombarded with information from well-meaning family, friends and health care professionals. It can be overwhelming and it is important that you filter the advice and apply what is appropriate for your baby and situation. Trying to do everything that everyone tells you is impossible, remember you know your baby the best. Trust your gut instinct or seek professional advice if you are unsure.
Enjoy your baby. It sounds silly but try and take a moment in the midst of the busy day to enjoy your precious baby.
This article was written by By Sallee Dwyer – RN, CM, Dip. Health Counselling, MA. Mid. Sally runs a fantastic business called Midwife To Mum and you can see the website here
You can also read Sallee’s extensive review of our Healthy Mummy Product range here
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