On September 9th, my love and I became “Mom” and “Dad” to our beautiful daughter Scarlett. If there is one thing we’ve learned, it is that no one can prepare you for the first two weeks of being a new parent. Somehow it is absolutely overwhelming and amazing, terrifying and fulfilling, exhausting and thrilling. It is something that you and your partner get through alive (somehow)! And then, things begin to settle. It does get easier, and more enjoyable, and when that little baby that you grew and nurtured smiles at you for the first time, it gets excruciatingly rewarding. Like, heart-stopping kind of rewarding. Almost enough to make you forget the pain of labour…almost.
You will learn more than you ever thought possible in those first few weeks: how to change a diaper, how to swaddle, how to read your babies cries, how to feed baby, how to get baby to fall asleep, but you will also question more than you thought possible: Am I a good Mom? Did I do that right? Why isn’t this working this time? Your Google history will take quite a turn: How many days should a baby go without pooping? What is my babies poop supposed to look like? (and yes, you’ll click the “images” option), Poop, poop, poop, etc.
I am still learning how to be a Mom, and every day there is something new to learn, something new to Google, and something new to make me question if I’m doing an okay job, but I have discovered some things that I found helpful that I wish I’d known of them before hand. Here are three tips that really helped us transition to being parents over the past couple of months.
DEPEND ON YOUR PARTNER WHILE HEALING POSTPARTUM The anticipation of labour and delivery overshadows the difficulties of postpartum recovery, at least it certainly did for me. Once you leave the hospital and bring home your beautiful bundle, you will be sore. It will be hard to sit down, and bend over, and stand up (especially if you have a tear). Breastfeeding can be very painful (much more than I was expecting). All of this can be overwhelming when you also have a little life to take care of. You can lose yourself in this. This is the time for your partner to step in. If at all possible, having your partner home with you the first two weeks is extremely helpful. Ask them for help with diapers, ask them to be there with you while learning to breastfeed- they can be amazing support emotionally, even though they can’t help physically. After a couple of weeks, your soreness will let up, so hang in there Mom! DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY “NO” TO VISITORS EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE Both you and your little one are getting to know each other. You and your partner are also trying to figure out how to care for your little one. It can be overwhelming, and especially with visitors. Your family and friends are going to be so excited for you, and of course they want to visit! When you start feeling overwhelmed with visitors, gently explain that you need some time as a family to bond and figure things out without visitors for a little bit. Don’t be afraid to say no to visitors every once in a while- your family loves you and they should understand. They might be able to squeeze a little more visitor time in if they bring dinner or clean the house though! REMEMBER TO MAKE TIME FOR YOU This goes for both you and your partner. You both have a new little life to love and take care of. When your little one is an infant, their needs come first, always, and they have alot of them. They are so demanding! It came as a shock to me that they need to feed every two hours when breastfeeding them for the first couple of weeks. Feeding is new to both of you, so each feed can take a half an hour or more (the clock starts at the beginning of the feed), then comes a diaper change (or two) and comforting them, and (maybe) a nap. But not too long, because you’ll need to wake them in a few minutes to start the cycle all over again- yes, all night long too. Meanwhile your body is undergoing serious postpartum change. This can make you feel overwhelmed and certainly not like the “you” you’re used to. Keep in mind that your partner is experiencing a similar feeling. The best thing that we did was to take some time for ourselves. Switch shifts with your partner for an hour and take a warm shower or bath. When your little one goes down for a nap, get ready for the day (put on some regular clothing and do your hair- it certainly helped me feel more like myself). Take a shift for your partner too, to give them a chance to take time for themselves to do what they’d like. It will help your little family restore balance and happiness.
Swaddle c/o Lulujo Baby
All the best,