Breezing Through The Initial Stages of Motherhood
Being a first-time mom can be naturally overwhelming at times and newbies have been known to feel clueless and even helpless at times. Relax, we’re here to help. Keep calm and read on as we take you through the issues and provide you the encouragement you need so that you can enjoy your new status with ease.
Keep necessities close by
Figure out what you’ll be needing all the time for baby and you, e.g. items such as diapers, nappy cream, handkerchiefs, breast pump, etc. If you have a nursery, place your nursing chair in there and set up a station next to it.
Place everything that you’ll be routinely using on it for easy access. Or else, set up a station or two around the house where you will be spending the most time in. Having your supplies nearby will help you feel more confident as you go about your day with your new baby.
If your partner helps with the feeding
If you plan to delegate some night-time feeding to your partner, have your pumped breastmilk ready in the refrigerator to be warmed up come feeding time.
If your baby on is formula milk, have all the supplies ready to be used when needed. This means extra feeding bottles on standby, water, and everything else conveniently grouped at one corner in the kitchen.
Move less for now
Having a newborn means having your fair share of staying up at night for feeding, nappy-changing duties. You might also need to comfort or soothe your baby numerous times during the night.
Hence, it makes sense to make things as easiest a possible and most comfortable for yourself. The less you need to move around the better, so if you can afford it, consider a baby cot that has a side that drops and fits right next to your bed. That way, you’ll need not get out of bed to reach for your baby.
Bedside baby cot
More and more modern parents are now considering bedside baby cots or cribs which fit nicely by the side of their bed, making it easier to access their baby especially during night feeds. The cribs have a side-drop rail with a height that is seamless to parents’ bed.
Night-time feed preparation tip (for formula feeding)
Before you go to bed, prepare a few clean feeding bottles with measured dry formula and keep them by your bed. Also have a hot-water flask at hand, and some cooled down water too. This will help speed up formula making time at nights.
Use a good breast pump
Having reliable breast pump helps speed up pumping time and makes it less stressful too. There are many choices available to choose from, so pick wisely.
If you had to undergo a perineal incision, also known as episiotomy, it will require appropriate care to promote faster healing. Wash the area with each bathroom trip you make to keep it clean and to avoid infections.
A squirt bottle filled with clean, warm water will be helpful for this, and also for diluting urine while you urinate, so it will not sting your would. Keep everything you need at one place in the bathroom to make things easier for you.
Nursing pillow – now more than ever
A versatile nursing pillow can help take some of the pressure off your arms and back as you nurse or bottle feed your baby.
Sleep whenever you have the chance!
It’s important to remain alert and fresh to be able to care for your baby, hence, you should avoid sleep deprivation the best you can.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t get a whole stretch of sleep, for even a little rest here and there counts to help you recharge and energise. Sleep whenever your baby sleeps and nap with your baby too, no matter how tempted you are to do other things such as small household chores. These can wait, where else your health can’t.
Often enough in these situations, resting is also difficult due to visitors who have come to call on the new mom and baby. Our advice is to let your relatives and friends know that you need to rest and that they can come over to visit when you’re well-rested and on your feet again. Unless of course, that said relatives or friends have the intention of helping out while you snooze!
With all the choices available, you won’t have any issues in picking out a few to help make nursing more convenient and even pleasurable. Pick nursing wear that you feel comfortable in and don’t for get to get a few for outings too.
Nursing bras have cups that can be dropped when it’s time to feed your baby. Pick those which you feel are easy to manage with your infant in your arms. This includes a few good nursing sleep bras too.
Accept any help you can get
If your finance allow it, hire a cleaner who can come in either daily for the first month or two, or a couple of times a week. You might not realise it, but it makes a whole lot of difference, for you’ll not have to worry about most of the household chores and pay more attention on caring for your baby and yourself.
A confinement lady, if you can afford one, will be helpful too, for she will be able to cook nutritious food for you, and help you recover quickly from the rigours of childbirth using the ways of your custom and cultural practices.
If friends or family offer to cook you dinner, help with laundry or sit with the baby while you nap, don’t be too proud to accept.
Every little bit helps! If your hubby wants to help, let him help too. Encourage his enthusiasm by allowing him to feed and change the baby, or even bathe the baby if he wants to. Resist the urge to micromanage the way things are done, for everyone has their own way of doing things. Relax and let your partner have a go at baby caring duties for remember, sharing the responsibilities of raising a child begins from the very start.
Consider a baby sling or soft carrier
Some moms feel that they want their baby near to them all the time. If you’re one of them, then you should consider getting a soft baby carrier. You’ll be able to keep your baby snuggled close to you as you go about your daily routine.
It’ll also make it easier to take your baby outside with you if you need to leave the house. It makes moving about with your baby a whole lot easier and you’ll have your hands free too.
Don’t take internet medical sites too seriously
It can get scary when you inquire about cradle cap and read that it may cause premature baldness! While there may be many reputable sites on the internet, not everything you read is necessarily true. If you in need of medical advice or have an important medical question, call your pediatrician instead.
Don’t take your hubby or partner for granted
This can happen quite easily without you realising it. A new baby is naturally in the spotlight but before that, don’t forget that your partner was the centre of your world. You’ll have to keep in mind that the two of you are in this together, so carry on working as a team in any area that you can.
Engage him in conversation and spend time together whenever possible. Remember that it’s all too easy for your partner to feel neglected or left out while your baby and you are in the limelight, so a little consideration will go a long way in letting him feel needed and appreciated.
Take it easy when switching back to a normal diet
Assuming that you’ve been eating a little differently in terms of portions while you were pregnant,avoid making any drastic changes to your meals just because you’ve already given birth. Slow and steady does it, especially if you’re breastfeeding your baby, for you’ll need that energy and calories for that.
Eat when you’re hungry and make the best food choices you can manage. Three meals a day will be a great way to start and a couple of snacks in between. When you have acquired the permission from your doctor, you can begin exercising to get back in shape and of course, to remain fit and healthy. If you’re breastfeeding, carry on with your prenatal multivitamins and don’t forget to drink lots of water to keep hydrated and avoid constipation.
What to expect from your newborn
It’s normal for newborns to shed off a few ounces of weight during the first few days after birth — they’ll start to put it back on after seven to ten days. Ensure that baby nurses every 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours and appear satisfied after feedings. Baby should feed from both breasts at each nursing and wet 6–8 cloth diapers or 5 disposable diapers throughout day, and pass soft stools three or more times per day.
Take appointments for baby’s check-ups seriously. Newborns should ideally be checked up on by a pediatrician on the third or fourth day after birth (if the newborn was discharged within 24 hours of delivery) and two weeks after birth. Ask the doctor anything that you’re unsure of in regards to your baby’s health and care. Mind the dates for all important immunisation shots too.
Spit-ups. Some babies spit-up a lot after each feed and this is nothing to be alarmed about as long as the little one is gaining weight and is generally healthy.Be gentle with your newborn’s umbilical cord stump. It will usually fall off during the second week but till then, give sponge baths instead of tub baths, and fold the front of the diaper down below the navel to keep the area aired and clean. If your baby happens to undergo circumcision, apply a small smear of petroleum jelly on the circumcised area to keep the diaper from sticking to it.
Trust your own motherly instincts
This is something to really get a grip on for your own good — for they’ll be loads of advice coming to you from left, right and centre! If you feel strongly about something, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
If you feel uncomfortable with anything, even the advice your pediatrician is giving you, get a second opinion. If a family member or close friend is trying to talk you into something that makes you uncomfortable, politely decline. Learn to trust your gut feelings no matter what.
Enjoy your new role
More importantly, cherish this particular phase. Yes, it may be rough at times and you may even feel lost and helpless when things don’t go the way you want them to.
Remember though that if you really think about it, nothing ever does all the time! Just keep in mind that you are in the midst of a miraculous and wonderful new development in your life. So, instead of soaking in all the stressful parts of the day, appreciate and cherish all they joyful moments instead. This phase flies by and soon, you’ll be missing it, believe it or not.
Chances are, you might find yourself battling some weird mood swings — One minute, you might be overwhelmed by joy and feeling like the luckiest woman on earth and then just like that, a few minutes later you may feel like sobbing uncontrollably and wondering why you ever thought that you could do this whole being a mother thing.
No, you haven’t lost your mind — it’s just that it takes some time to adjust to the physical, emotional and social upheaval you are experiencing. Your life has just taken a huge turn. You’re probably exhausted and emotionally charged and your body is a chemistry experiment of hormones all running rampant. Enjoy the highs and weather the lows, for before long, it will come to pass.