The first 6 weeks of being a new mother are like nothing else that you have ever experienced. It’s an emotional roller coaster and exhausting, exhilarating and fulfilling all at the same time.
Here are some tips to help you survive the first 6 weeks.
- Don’t underestimate what your body has just been through:
Your body, even though it is designed for birth, has essentially gone through a major transformation. If you’ve had a c-section then you have had major surgery and will be nursing an abdominal wound. If you have given birth naturally, then you may be dealing with an episiotomy or tearing or other injury. Follow your doctors orders. Take salt water baths. Rest. Eat a diet high in fibre and drink lots of water, as constipation is very common after giving birth.
- It’s OK to say NO.
It really is OK to say no to and to limit visitors after having a baby. You have just gone through a major change in your life and need time to figure out your hormones, your new baby and your breasts if you are breastfeeding! Use this time for lots of skin on skin contact and enjoy your very sleepy newborn, for things will soon change and your babe will likely be a lot less tired!
- Ask for help.
Don’t be shy to reach out. If you’re struggling to breastfeed, get help. If you’re struggling with your emotions, get help. Get help, if you’re struggling with your new routine. At the same token, accept help that is offered to you. If your family offers to cook your meals or clean your house or take the baby while you nap, then take them up on it.
Struggling with breastfeeding? Chat to a lactation consultant for breastfeeding support.
- Put yourself in time-out.
Take an occasional break. Even a short one. Go for a walk. Get some sunshine. Go to the mall. Take a nap. We all need to activate our refresh button from time to time.
- Don’t compare yourself or your baby to anyone else.
It is tempting to compare things like milestones, sleep patterns and feeding patterns, but try not to do this, as every baby is different and every Mom is different. What works for you or your baby may not work for another Mom and their baby and vice versa. If you are uncertain or need some guidance on sleeping or feeding or milestones, then contact your paediatrician.
- Trust your gut
There will always be an army of well-meaning people with advice. Listen to them and only take from them what you need. It may not feel like it at times, but you know your baby better than anyone else does. Do what works for you. Trial and error may be necessary to find what works for you and your baby, but give yourself time, You will eventually figure it out.
It is completely natural to feel a bit out of your depth but you will get through this. If you find that you are just not winning and that you are emotionally spent, then please contact your doctor.
Learn more about the first 6 weeks with your newborn.