Strategies for New Moms to Survive the First Few Weeks After Delivery: during the first few weeks after delivery you might feel overwhelmed, exhausted, scared, sad, tired, happy, thrilled, energized and / or elated. It is normal to experience a wide variety of feelings almost simultaneously.
To help you survive the early stages of motherhood (and recovery from labor) it will be easier for you if you have the love and support from your friends and family. Now is the time to allow the people close to you to have the opportunity to care for you. When people ask you what they can do for you when you have the baby, encourage them to care take of you, so that you will have the energy to care for the baby. Your job is to protect and nourish the baby. Everyone else’s job is to protect and nourish you.
What to ask your friends and family to do for you (strategies for new moms):
* To simply be there to listen to you: Frequently having someone listen and acknowledge your feelings is helpful.
* Get help around the house: Ask family and friends to clean your house, prepare your meals, do laundry, and / or walk the dogs.
* Play with your older child: This could mean having other children over to entertain your child so that you can focus your energy on the baby, or depending on your child’s adjustment to the situation, take him or her out for ‘an adventure’.
* Change all the infant diapers so that you can concentrate on feeding her / him.
* Hold the infant while she / he is sleeping This will enable you to take a few minutes to focus on yourself.
* Practice with you ways to handle unwanted advice. Often it’s hard to come up with snappy comebacks in the moment, thus take some time ahead of time and think of some. Other moms are often more than happy to share with you their experiences.
* When the infant is sleeping, take the time to lay down and nap. It may be your only chance to sleep.
* Each afternoon ask all visitors to leave, and take some family nap times. Remind your friends and family that your new baby is up every few hours throughout a 24 hour cycle, and that you need to follow his or her sleep schedule otherwise you will allow yourself to become worn down. And unlike tests in school, where you typically are able to take a vacation afterwards, children are a 24 / 7 hour job, where there is no such thing as a vacation, particularly during the first few months of your child’s life. Motherhood is about the long haul. Pushing yourself too hard in the beginning will only exhaust you and make you less able to meet the child’s daily needs. The effects of chronic sleep deprivation have been shown to increase the risk for of accidents, depression, illness, and relationship difficulties.
* During the labor & delivery and the immediate week afterward, you can hire a doula Many people feel more comfortable trusting their infant with an expert. Additionally, an expert that is not a friend or family may be easier to be more honest with. You are paying them to do a job, you do not have to worry about their feelings, needs or wants. Additionally, they are good with newborns. They have many years of experience.
If it is just you and the baby (strategies for new moms):
* If no one is around, and you want stimulation, take a walk with the baby. Often babies are happier when they are “out and about.” Babies like grown-ups like mental stimulation. From a babies perspective, mental stimulation includes, but is not limited to shopping, taking a walk in the park, and sitting at and people watching.
* You can call a friend. Acknowledge your feelings. Tell others about what you are experiencing / feeling. Do not ignore the problem.
* If you do not have a readily available support network, you can hire a doula.
* You can call a hotline (HL).
* Join a support group (SG). Talking to other moms about your experiences and hearing similar stories can validate your own experience, not to mention sometimes provide you with some wonderful tips and tricks on how to handle a particular situation.
* Read a self help book on prenatal / postpartum depression.
* And lastly, minimize major life changes. Life changes can add stress. Having a child for most people is already stressful enough.
If you are feeling depressed and want help, you have two major options, talk therapy and / or medication. Both can be helpful. Talk with your doctor / midwife about whether or not getting a prescription for medication is appropriate. Make sure you mention if you are or are not breastfeeding. Untreated depression hurts both mother and child.
Help is available. Call 267-324-9564 and speak with a counselor. Center for Growth / Parenting Support in Philadelphia : Strategies for new moms and dads.
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