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Tips on How to Survive New Mom Loneliness After Birth

Tips on How to Survive New Mom Loneliness After Birth

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After you have managed to survive the first week, and after all of the visits from family and friends have slowed down, a new mom often finds herself alone for most of the day with her baby.  For the first month or so, everyone runs on the fumes of an empty gas tank.  No one sleeps well, no one really eats well and the new mother can come to resent the fact that she is the one-man-dog-and-pony show because the baby wants her more than anyone else when he is fussy.  Even when dad is there and more than happy to take the baby, sometimes the baby just wants his mom (who is exhausted and at times would really love a break).

At this point, motherhood is not always fabulous.  We are tired and cranky, we can feel isolated and lonely.  Indeed, the expression for these feelings is called HALT. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

Hungry

The bab’s needs comes first, ours are second. Our day is spent taking care of him… then we try to fit brushing our teeth and showers into our day.  Many days we skip the shower.  We don’t take the time to eat well.  The problem is that when the baby is breastfeeding, we really need better nutrition to keep our energy and spirits up as well as to feed the baby.  

How to make it easier

Keep Your Blood Sugars Level –eat snacks throughout the day — keep protein rich foods handy and ready to eat from the refrigerator: hard-boiled eggs, cubed ham, and breastfeeding friendly veggies and dip can be ready for snacking at a moment’s notice.  Place a bowl of washed fruit on your counter top.   Purchase protein bars (preferably dairy-free), or healthy snacks and keep them at your breastfeeding station. Keep nuts in bowls around the house so you can munch as you go.

Angry

New mothers can become resentful of people who sleep through the night and work at jobs that they love; who have time to exercise regularly; who have leisurely hot steamy showers, combed hair and brushed teeth; who eat lunch at nice restaurants; who wear color coordinated clothes without spit up on their shoulders.  You have given up a part of your life to take care of someone else and it is difficult to not resent your sacrifice when your baby has been up since 4:00 am, it is now 3:00 pm and you still haven’t found the time to brush your teeth, let alone get dressed. 

How to make it easier 

  • When your partner gets home, hand over the baby and take a 15 minute walk around the block to clear your mind.

  • Journal about your thoughts and be honest.

  • Talk to your friends who are already mothers and be honest about how you feel. We all hear you, we really do!

  • If a family member or friend comes to visit, take an extra nap that day.

  • Get out for a massage, acupuncture or cranialsacral therapy session.

  • Take bubble baths at night just before bed to relax and help your muscles unwind.

  • Keep in the back of your mind that your life will not always be like this – you will get your life back, it just takes time.

Lonely

New mothers with new babies can feel really isolated.  It takes a bit of time before you feel confident to get out and be with people.  It might be that most of your family members and friends work outside of the house during the day and you can’t call them during working hours.  It might be that family members live far away and it is too expensive to call whenever you feel like talking to someone.

How to make it easier

  • Check out your community for new mom groups that meet once a week. Mom groups are an excellent way to meet people in your area who are going through the same emotional roller coaster as you are. Many women who join these groups find best friends for life.

  • Get outside as much as possible. Go for long walks, go to a park for a picnic lunch. Go shopping and see people other than your partner and your baby.

  • Join a baby and me postnatal yoga or fitness class.

  • Many fitness clubs offer child care while you work out. Just remember to start slow. It takes months before your ligaments are back to pre-pregnancy status. I usually counsel, half speed, half strength to begin with and work your way back to normal slowly after that.

Tired

Babies eventually do sleep the night through, but some babies take longer than others.  It is hard to function on less sleep than normal on a continual basis and some days it feels like you are pulling a piano behind you wherever you go.  Household chores can be harder and harder to accomplish.

How to make it easier

  • Sleep when your baby sleeps. If you have an older child, nap when you can if someone is home with you. The first few months with a baby is not a time to clean house like a clean freak, this is a time to rest and rejuvenate your body. When your partner is home, feed your baby, then hand him over and take a nap.

  • Ask for help when family members visit – New mothers do not need to be superwomen. The people who love you will help with dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and lawn mowing. They have lots of energy and most are absolutely willing to help, if you’d only ask!


Do You Have a Fussy Baby in Your Life?

Oftentimes, fussy breastfeeding babies are either experiencing physical pain from birth, they are reacting negatively to the foods that their breastfeeding mom is eating, OR BOTH!

Birth is a very difficult process for babies to experience. If you suspect that your baby is in physical pain when you feed or diaper him or her, take your baby to see a pediatric focused chiropractor in your area. We are trained to gently relieve irritations to muscles and joints.

If your baby is fussy after breastfeeding or cries inconsolably in the evenings and won’t settle easily, chances are that your baby is reacting to foods in your diet.

If this is the case, please consider purchasing the Calm Baby Cookbook – it outlines the foods that commonly cause problems for babies to digest and offers 100+ delicious breastfeeding recipes to get started! It has helped to calm many babies in my practice and I sincerely hope that it will calm your fussy baby as well.

Yours truly,

Dr. Melanie Beingessner

Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.

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