3 Helpful Tips for First Mothers
Many first time mothers spend time researching about their pregnancy and much thought into what the new baby will be like – and for good reason! It is exciting to be pregnant and to imagine who your new little person will be. Often, though, new moms are not prepared for their postpartum period. Many women are blind-sided by their postpartum because they haven’t been prepared for the aspects of postpartum that are challenging in the first few days and weeks after the baby comes home. What can you expect? How will you be feeling after delivering a baby either vaginally or by C-Sect? How will breastfeeding go? How will you meet the needs of your very-needy newborn? All of these questions will be answered positively if you have some advance knowledge beforehand. The adjustment during postpartum will go better if you understand what to expect and how to prepare for it.
1. You Will Need Help
You can expect to not be yourself physically and emotionally immediately after your labor and delivery and for the first few days and weeks postpartum. This is temporary! Every woman who delivers a baby needs some time to recover.
Yes, you can do it alone but it’s not the best way. If you don’t allow yourself the time to rest, you’ll be exhausted which will affect your ability to heal, your mood and your body’s ability to make and let down milk for your baby.
If you have people offering to help – LET THEM! It will make them happy to support you and you will adjust better if given a break from your life. Let others make meals, do some laundry, and shop for you.
2. Sleep When The Baby Sleeps
You’ve probably heard this before and if you are following tip #1, it can be doable! Sleep will be in short supply after bringing your newborn home. If you are accepting help, you’ll be wise to nap when your baby does.
You will be awake every 2 – 3 hrs. around the clock whether your baby is breast or bottle-feeding. A breastfeeding newborn eats an average of 10 – 12 times during a 24 hr. period. If you are a nursing mom, feeding and resting ideally should be all you are doing for the first 2 weeks after delivery.
If you can follow this recommendation, you will find your nursing will go better and you will start to feel like yourself again at the end of the second week postpartum. Bottle-feeding babies often go longer between feedings but they often need to be settled more after feeding so make sleep a priority during your first 2 weeks. So sleep when the baby sleeps!
3. Feed Yourself And Keep Hydrated
Nutrition is always important but it is even more important while you are healing from delivery and providing milk for your baby. Eating healthy and drinking enough water will help in your recovery. It will give your body what it needs to heal you and make milk for your baby.
If you don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner or if there is someone to run to the store for you it can help during those early weeks for you to focus on yourself and your baby. Dad’s are often great at meals or takeout but it can help Dad,too, if someone else makes meals for a couple of weeks.
At MothersCare Doula Services, we know just how important these three things are for new moms but how difficult they can be to do if a mom and dad do not have outside support. Our doulas are trained specifically for the needs of the postpartum mom, dad and their newborn.
We provide practical assistance with household things like laundry and cooking, shopping and light housework but we also teach moms and dads about caring for their baby and assist breastfeeding by being a source of current information and guidance.
MothersCare Doulas Services ease the transition, lessen the stress, and increase the joy for both birthing couples and postpartum families. For more information you can call us at (203) 375-5719 or contact us through our website at www.motherscaredoula.com. Our doulas are dedicated to providing the encouragement, knowledge and practical help that families need to get through this pivotal phase of their lives.
About Susan Shepard
I am the owner/partner of MothersCare Doula Services in CT. I am a Postpartum doula and my business partner, Sheila Marley is a Labor doula. MothersCare places both Labor and Postpartum doulas with CT Families. I am the mom of five beautiful children, one set of twins. The best quote for me as a young mother and the catalyst for MothersCare is “It’s not weakness to know you need help, it’s wisdom.”