Postpartum can be really hard. So can bonding with a new baby. (It feels like it should be so natural and easy!) Sometimes we just need to focus on ourselves though, to be able to love others better. Try some of these tips to make the transition into mother hood a little easier and love your first weeks with baby.
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Table of Contents
1. Give Yourself Permission
Giving birth is no easy feat. It’s one of the most tiring and strenous things you may ever do. So giving yourself permission to rest that first few weeks will keep you much healthier and happier as a new mom. Setting up your bedroom for a restful place will help make this easier and more inviting.
Have you ever heard of “lying in?” It’s a postpartum tradition that is practiced in many cultures, all with different variations. Some of the “rules” that are placed on the women are a little much for my taste. But some of them are so genius. I personally had no idea how difficult the postpartum period was going to be for me. Taking care of yourself will allow you to take care of your baby better.
If you wear yourself down that first few weeks while your body is trying to recover, you won’t be able to be the happy, attentive mama your baby needs.
2. Prepare An Awesome Rest Area
Have a table next to your bed that you can keep a breastfeeding kit with things like nipple cream, little soothies, easy snacks and lots of water. That way you have much of what you need right at arms reach.
If you aren’t breastfeeding, you can keep a little bottle prep station in the room too. Keep a few baby bottles with water already in them. Then you can scoop the formula in and pop it in a bottle warmer next to your bed.
Of course, it’s much easier if you have someone at home with you that can simply prep the bottles for you instead, but that isn’t usually the case. You can also set up some entertainment like a T.V. or tablet so you can watch your favorite shows or read while getting snuggly with your new little one.
3. Lots of skin
While resting with your baby, get lots of skin to skin action. This can be done whether or not your breastfeeding. Although, I think if you aren’t breastfeeding its that much more important. Skin to skin will help the bonding process between you and your baby. Bonding isn’t always instantaneous, and this is a great way to get all those feel-good hormones oozing for both of you.
This study states that skin to skin appears to:
benefit breastfeeding outcomes, and cardio-respiratory stability and decrease infant crying.”
Not only that, but it feels amazing. Having your new little one snuggling on your bare chest in just a diaper is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Soak it up, because they grow super fast. And then it just gets weird.
4. Food prep
If you can afford to have healthy food catered, then do it! Unfortunately, most of us are not in the position to be able to afford that. So freezer meal prep is the next best option.
To create your own stock of freezer dishes get a stock of freezer containers (these are perfect for single servings) and get to batch cooking.
The two easiest ways to get your stock meals are to either spend one day making a whole bunch of meals or to simply double your meals for a few weeks and freeze half of it each time you cook. If you decide to dedicate one day to batch cooking, try to enlist the help of someone you enjoy spending time with.
It’s a great way to bond and create a freezer full of healthy, yummy meals.
5. Have everything you could need to heal
There are so many weird things that happen to your body during and after birth. Unfortunately, injuries are all too common as well. Vaginal tearing and stitches, uterus shrinking, hemorrhoids, weak abdominal muscles, and some even a c-section would to deal with. Ouch!
These are all pretty manageable as long as you have the right tools in your postpartum healing kit. So do your research and build up a little kit of your own to have on hand to deal with any issues that may arise. You’ll heal faster and feel better.
It’s ok to say no to visitors those first few weeks. It may seem harsh to tell family and friends that you aren’t taking visitors right now, but it is OK to say No. Of course, this can be done tastefully. Just be honest and don’t make up any lame excuses. Those usually back fire.
Simply tell loved ones that you need a few weeks not to worry about anyone else other than the baby. That you’ll be happy to show off the newest member of your family within *your ideal timeline.*
Of course, some family visiting can be helpful. So you’ll have to make a judgment call on how visitors are going to affect your healing and bonding time. After all these first few weeks really are all about your close, immediate family.
7. Take mental Notes
These first few weeks are going to be a weird emotional blur. Try to make it a point to cherish distinct certain memories. I have a few snapshots in my head of my first baby in his first few weeks. It was such a rough time that I honestly don’t remember too much. But I made it a point to burn certain memories into my brain, and I can still recall them so vividly. Moments like seeing my little man lean back milk-drunk, and how good his little mouth smelled. This goes by way to fast. Make sure you are taking enough of your own mental memories to last you a lifetime.
8. Safeguard your relationship
If you have a partner that’s living with you, like the baby’s dad, then try to love them through the whole process. Communication and understanding are the biggest relationship savers. Talk before the baby comes that it’s you two doing this thing together. That no matter what, you have each others back.
Parenting is a partnership. And having a baby is a major life change. It is not easy! Even the best relationships will be challenged at times. By communicating clearly and calmly to each other you’ll have a much more enjoyable time during your new adventure together.
This means, don’t expect him to know what you want/need. Explain exactly what you need them to do and how they can help you. Know that this is a hard transition for them too. Ask them to give you this same courtesy back as well.
9. Watch for the sneaky PPD
This can sneak up on you! No matter how much you take care of your mental health, sometimes those hormones can get the best of you. Make sure you know the signs of postpartum depression so you can spot them early.
Talk to your provider about them if you start to feel any of those symptoms. This is a topic that needs a lot more attention then this little paragraph. Most mom-to-be’s have heard of this and are familiar, but I can’t in good conscience talk about anything postpartum without at least mentioning this very important subject.
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