Baby’s arrival is just around the corner, and the stage is all set. All that remains is labor, delivery and post birth recovery then….Then what? Having a baby only changes or rearranges everything right down to furniture placement and showering habits.
Looking forward to baby’s birth so that the pregnancy can be put in the past and life can return to normal is naïve in the extreme. Life after baby means life with baby. Post birth recovery is only the first step towards a new normal, because what constituted normal before pregnancy is now well and truly gone.
And that is not a bad thing.
Sleep is one of the most dramatically effected elements of life with a newborn. Unfortunately getting adequate amounts of rest also plays a significant role in speedy post birth recovery. For those first few weeks mom should wear her PJ’s 24/7 and plan on getting a snooze anytime baby will allow it.
Getting those Zs is important because the body heals while at rest. Poor sleep habits during the post partum period are also a major contributor to PPD (Post Partum Depression).
Like it or not, if you are breastfeeding you are still eating for two. This means that your baby and your body are reliant upon every morsel you put into your mouth. A speedy post birth recovery will not be achieved on a diet composed of Doritos and chocolate.
As nice as junk food is, it should be eaten sparingly, as a small part of the daily diet. Fruits, veggies and water will help get energy levels up and keep bowel movements on track, which your perineum will greatly appreciate.
Iron is also an essential nutrient in order to get your hematocrit to healthy levels and keep baby’s blood oxygen levels where they need to be.
Back to Work Time
If mom is going back to work, then each day spent at home is that much more precious. Don’t be tempted to dither the time away doing unnecessary things.
Hold the baby, rock him to sleep and sing her lullabies. The time doesn’t last long and looking back it’s the way parents wish they had spent their time if they could have a do over.
If mom has decided to stay home with baby, then she needs to prepare in other ways. New moms often feel isolated, frustrated and overwhelmed, but in conjunction with this is the all encompassing guilt that these ugly emotions are clouding what should be a time of bliss.
First off, feelings of being less than perfectly happy all the time when facing new motherhood is normal. Every mother, at some point, has had the thought “what have I gotten myself into!” Know this is normal and join a mother’s group.
Surrounding yourself with a supportive and understanding group of women who are in the same phase of life goes a long way towards helping you deal with your feelings.
In addition to establishing new routines that include baby’s needs, your new normal needs to create time for mom and dad individually as well as a couple. One of the most tragic mistakes new parent make is sacrificing couple-hood to parenthood. Remember to maintain an identity as a couple in addition to embracing your new parental roles.