How to Survive the First Month of New Motherhood
By From wikiHow - How to Survive the First Month of new Motherhood
- Don't expect perfection from either yourself or the baby. The idea is to roll with the punches and just get through this tricky period of adjustment in the best way that you can. Keep in mind that ninety percent is an A. If you are managing to keep the baby fed, and in clean diapers, and you are staying alert to any medical necessities, you are doing great.
- Make things easy for yourself by keeping materials and supplies close by the places where you will be using them.
- If you are nursing, move your most comfortable easy chair into the baby's room. Set up a table next to the chair for a bottle of water, your glasses, a clock, maybe some music, and anything else you will routinely need during nursing. If you are going to be up in the middle of the night, you might as well be comfortable. Make it even easier on yourself by not even getting up; have one of those new cribs that fits right next to your bed and has a side that drops. Then just reach over, get the baby, and nurse lying on your side.
- If you are bottle feeding, keep everything you need for formula preparation conveniently grouped on the kitchen counter. You will be way too tired to be searching in the drawers and cupboards in the middle of the night for the lid of the bottle. Or, better, just before bed, prepare bottles by taking a clean, empty, DRY bottle and measuring out the dry formula. Then cap it, and place it next to your night stand or in the baby's room along with a couple bottles of plain water - again, pre-measured if you think you might not get it right in the middle of the night. Just open the bottles and mix and feed. In the morning, take the empty bottles down to be washed. Another alternative is to buy the ready-to-feed formula in bottles for night time feedings, but this can get expensive.
- You may have a perineal incision which will require washing with each trip to the bathroom, and this will require certain equipment. There is also a possibility of hemorrhoids. Again, make things easy on yourself by putting all those materials within easy reach of the toilet. It is important to take care of yourself and the closer the materials are to hand, the faster you can get yourself taken care of so that you can get back to that baby. Good products to have on hand are Preparation H, Tucks Pads with Witch Hazel, Tylenol or Motrin. A squirt bottle for gentle cleansing and diluting urine is helpful for this healing area.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. It's essential to avoid sleep deprivation so that you can remain alert when caring for the baby. Know how much sleep you need per day and get it in bits and pieces, sleeping when your baby sleeps, and napping when your baby naps--avoid the temptation to catch up on email while the baby is sleeping. You need to rest when the baby rests.
- Place the baby on his or her back and keep the crib or bassinet near you with no pillows, quilts, or toys (a light blanket can be placed below the baby's arms and tucked in lightly along the bottom half of the crib). If you choose to co-sleep, read up on how to do so safely. Also see the Warnings section below about sleeping positions.
- Call your doctor if the baby seems to be sleeping excessively (over the normal 16 hours a day) as this may signal an infection.
- Ease into a schedule. Some people feel that an effort should be made to get on a schedule right away, and others believe in letting a natural rhythm arise at its own pace. Either way, do what is most manageable for you without causing stress to the baby. It will take some trial and error to find a good balance.
- Try to keep things picked up but don't worry about the dusting and the vacuuming. Some of that kind of thing is just going to have to wait until you get back on your feet.
- Help the baby differentiate night and day by playing and keeping the room bright during the day, and by avoiding playing and bright lights at night. Change your baby's clothing on a constant schedule, as this will help them know that onesies are for playtime and night gowns are for bedtime.
- Brace yourself for the postpartum blues. Especially if you have had a medicated, surgical or "assisted" delivery. Over 50% of women experience tearfulness, tiredness, sadness, and difficulty in thinking clearly on the third or fourth day after delivery, probably caused by a sudden decrease of maternal hormones. Don't ignore these symptoms and any feelings of sadness or guilt that result; talk about it with someone who's close to you, and don't try to feign glee if you're really feeling down. Feel your emotions all the way through! Some of it will be painful and that is okay. Not only are you adjusting to an awesome event in life, your body is releasing every hormone known to woman around the clock. It should pass within one to three weeks as the hormones stabilize and you acclimate to the new situation.
- Accept help. If you can afford it, hire a housecleaner, even just once every two weeks. That can help a lot. Get a babysitter if you need a break. If your partner is in the picture, support everything he or she does to help out. Be willing to let your partner dress or bathe the baby, and to take the child out for a walk or a drive; a parent who feels supported in his or her efforts to attend to the baby is more likely to want to spend more time with the baby, and that is likely to be a win-win situation for all involved. Relax and let your partner run with it. Chances are they can change a diaper just as well as you can! Sharing the responsibilities is a good thing. Discuss how you can do more of it.
- Carry the baby close to you in a baby carrier when you move around the house or when you go out. Strollers are nice, but you may find that keeping the baby right on your chest will be the most convenient for you even while you cook meals.