How You Can Make Your Life as A New Mom Easier
Making a baby and learning to care for him takes a lot from a new mom. Here are some tips you might find to make things easier.
Keep your blood sugar high
Your blood sugar can affect your mood, and it provides the energy you need to get through your day. Keep snacks handy and graze throughout the day. You will survive the transition to parenthood more easily if you do.
Prepare supper in advance
Most babies are happier in the beginning of the day, but become fussier in the late afternoon and evening. It is NOT fun to cook supper while simultaneously attending to a crying baby. Usually, the baby’s needs take precedence and supper does not get made or eaten until late at night. By that time, everyone is completely exhausted and totally frustrated with each other.
A newborn baby’s eating and sleeping times can be unpredictable for the first month or so. The best way to combat the evening fussy time is to make your supper in the morning when everyone is in a great mood. Plan for supper to be ready to eat for five o’clock, even if you aren’t quite ready to eat at that time. Then, your food will be warm and waiting for you when you get the chance. If your baby fusses during the evening, you and your partner can take turns eating a warm, healthy meal while the other comforts the baby. You’ll find that with food in your stomach, you’ll be able to cope with the evening fussy time much easier.
Some women prepare a casserole and leave it in the fridge, ready to be popped into the oven, or they make a pot of soup that simmers on the stove all day. Others use their slow cooker to make their entire meal — there are many great slow cooker recipe books available. If you don’t have a slow cooker, definitely put it on your baby gift wish list. It is worth its weight in gold for new parents.
When all else fails, you can cook potatoes, rice or noodles and vegetables and have your partner pick up a cooked chicken at your local supermarket on the way home. It’s healthier than take out, and you can boil the bones to make soup the next day.
Keep taking your prenatal vitamins
When you first start breastfeeding, you might be surprised at how snarly hungry you can get. (Many of us used that exact term!) You could eat literally anything, you’re that hungry. Remember, you’re feeding two and your body needs lots of nutrients to take care of you both. It is a great idea to continue to take your prenatal vitamins for as long as you continue to breastfeed.
Get lots of sleep
In the first month, feeding, carrying, burping, changing diapers and washing clothes is exhausting. Both parents need to nap as much as possible, because the baby usually has at least one of you (if not both of you) awake during the night.
Sleep when your baby sleeps and you will be able to handle your day much easier. One rule of thumb is that if the bleeding that comes naturally after birth increases, you are doing too much.
Ask for what you need
If friends or family ask if they can help, let them! If you have a difficult time asking people to do specific tasks, one great suggestion is to make a list of the chores that you need help completing. Then, if help is offered, you can show your list and your friend or family member can choose what they would like to do to help you.
It is also important for you to ask for emotional support if you need it. You might need a hug, or simply a chance to vent your frustrations. Sometimes, if someone could just hold your baby for a few minutes so that you can have a shower and brush your teeth, the world would be such a nicer place. Tell the people in your life what it is that you need, instead of trying to do everything on your own. You are not superwoman, and no one is expecting you to be one.
Invite your energy boosters into your life
Many of your friends and family members will be very supportive during the first few months with a new baby, but some can be negative and insensitive. Especially if this is your first baby, there is a time after birth when you are vulnerable to the people around you. Your body is recovering from a lot of hard work. You are learning the new skills of parenting, while you function on little sleep. It can be difficult to deal with criticism from energy-draining people, especially if your parenting skills, your caregiving skills or your decision to breastfeed are being questioned to your face.
If you have a choice, delay inviting negative people for a visit until you are stronger, both physically and mentally. If they call, let your answering machine pick up. You can call them back at a time when your energy is high and you have more internal resources.
You would do better to focus on the people in your life who keep you strong: those who have a positive outlook on your learning to parent and who cheer you on! Invite these friends and family members to be a significant part of your life for the first few months with a new baby. You will become more confident as a mother and you will enjoy your baby all the more.
When visitors come to call and just won’t leave
It is quite handy for new mothers to own a couple of pairs of tasteful pajamas that can be worn when company comes to call. Thick cotton or flannel pajamas are great because they are comfortable and are perfectly acceptable to wear in front of others.
Pajamas can also be lifesavers, because if you get tired or you feel that your baby needs a break from your visitors, you can cheerfully announce that it’s feeding time if you breastfeed or nap time if you bottle feed for your baby and for you. Say goodnight and crawl into bed, feed your baby and take a nap. Let your partner deal with the guests so that you and your baby can get the rest you need. If your partner is not at home, simply ask your guests to amuse themselves while you sleep, or ask that they come back again another time.
Relax and enjoy this time
One of the most common bits of advice from our experienced moms was to remind new parents to just relax and enjoy this time with your baby. It all passes much too soon. It does not matter that your home is perfect, or that you baby is meticulously clean, or that you have spit-up on your shirt. What matters above all else is family time and holding and loving your baby. The rest will take care of itself.
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.
Dr. Melanie Beingessner
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, a certified infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.