The first days, weeks and months with your new baby have finally arrived and it is both magical, stressful and scary! Once the adrenaline of labour has subsided and the sleep deprivation sets in, it can quickly become too much to cope with, to help you on your new journey here are my top tips to help you through the early days and months of motherhood.
- Make use of the Midwives and other mums on the postnatal ward, ask them to observe you feed and for their advice.
- It’s normal to feel exhausted after labour, it’s hard work! You’ll soon be feeling back to normal.
- Indulge in lots of cuddles and skin-to-skin contact with your newborn, this can help to stimulate your milk supply, makes breastfeeding easier and aids in bonding between you and your baby.
- Enjoy the feeling of pride and joy, you made a baby!
- Don’t take nappies straight off at change time. Wait a few seconds after undoing the tabs, as air tends to make babies wee. This is particularly important if you had a little boy, they tend to create fountains!
- Invest in comfortable big cotton pants and maternity pads. You will experience a discharge of blood and tissue for a couple of weeks after birth so you want to be comfortable. At the beginning this will be like the mother of all periods!
- Be kind of your “lady bits”. Take painkillers when offered, use ice or cooling gel pads when available, take a warm bath, use a jug to pour warm water over your perineum when passing urine as this helps to stop the stinging.
- Be prepared for your body to still look pregnant after birth. Your bump will slowly go down and you may experience cramps when breastfeeding, this is simply your uterus contracting when hormones are released whilst feeding.
The First Days
- The first day’s home with your baby will probably all blend in one and be full of night feeds, changing nappies and learning how to care for your newborn.
- Forget about cleaning your house, anybody who visit is coming to see you and your body not to judge the cleanliness of your house.
- Make a space for your baby in each room you intend to sit or sleep in. Place a moses basket, pram carrycot (if suitable for sleeping) or bouncy chair in a suitable location.
- Don’t feel silly if you ask your Midwife loads of questions, they’re used to it and are there to support you.
- It is very common to feel a little weepy a few days after giving birth; it’s those pesky hormones again! Get your hankies ready and have a good cry if you need to. If these feelings carry on for more than 2 weeks speak to your Midwife, Health Visitor or GP.
- Limit visitors to close family and agree a signal with your partner for when it’s time for your visitors to go!
- Sleep whenever possible, seriously stay in bed all day if you want to.
- Shop online and get your groceries delivered. Stock up on quick and easy meals; eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
- Sleep deprivation is now kicking in; accept all offers of help from family and friends.
- Eat well, lots of healthy meals, you’ll feel more refreshed and less tired.
- Drink lots of water, particularly if you’re breastfeeding. Keeping well hydrated with help you to produce breastmilk.
- Persevere with breastfeeding; every day you continue to try is another day towards a successful breastfeeding journey. If you are struggling seek out the support of your Midwife or Health Visitor. Find out if there is a local breastfeeding support group nearby.
- You’re Health Visitor will take over from your Midwife after 10-14 days, get to know her well and use her if you need any advice or support.
- You will really be starting to get the hang of everything by this time, you will be recognising your baby’s cues and developing a routine.
- Savour those special first moments, you will be experiencing your baby’s first smile in the next couple of weeks and he will start to make his first attempt at conversation with little “coo’s”.
- Try to get out every day, even if just for a walk. Fresh air if great for both you and your baby.
- Go to baby clinic to get your baby weighed, chat to other new mums and your Health Visitor. You’ll be amazed how quickly your baby puts on weight!
- Join a local mother and baby group, you will meet other new mums and start to build up a support network.
- Your baby will soon be going through a growth spurt, get ready for it. He will want to feed more frequently, but it will soon pass!
- Let your partner help! It’s important for both of your be feel confident when caring for your baby and takes the pressure off you.
- Congratulations! You made it through the first 3 months of motherhood. You have no doubt experienced a range of emotions over the last 3 months. Be prepared for more to come, every day your little one will amaze you in new ways you could never images.
- Savour every moment of this experience, they grow up quickly!