Congratulations, your baby is here and you are a parent!
You are probably learning fast that this beautiful new creature doesn’t come with any instructions and you may be feeling more than a little lost.
There are no easy solutions but it can be helpful to:
- Trust your instincts – cuddle, feed and carry your new baby to soothe and comfort. You will not be spoiling him, you will not be making a rod for your own back – you will be providing love, comfort and security.
- Give yourself time to get to know your baby and time to adjust to your new life. You both need time to get to know each other, so you can get used to how your baby is communicating with you through sounds, cries, movement and behaviour.
- Accept or ask for help – you do not need to be superwoman and feel that you need to do it all. If you need help or if you feel that you need a break for an hour or so – ask! You have not failed just because you need a hand.
- Support each other, if you part of a couple – when you are both tired, it is easy to squabble and to compare how tired you are or how much work each other has to do. Communicate and talk and give yourself some time – your new baby means you are adapting to life as a family, or as a growing family if this isn’t your first baby.
- Try to get out of the house most days, even just for a little while. Enjoy a change of scene – even just going for a walk will give you some fresh air and some exercise will can help to enhance feelings of wellbeing. It can also be helpful to seek out other mothers as well for support, shared experiences and some chat.
- Try to go with the flow. You are probably used to being in control of your day and a baby well and truly turns this upside down. On a great day you might feel like superwoman – you have met all your babies needs, you are dressed, you are also fed, you have cooked dinner and maybe done the washing and also fitted in a baby group too.On a-not-so-good day you might have a grumpy baby, who is hard to settle. You may have snacked on junk, couldn’t face the baby group, you could still be in your pj’s at 5pm and there’s no dinner planned or made. This is ok! Enjoy the good days and accept the not-so-good ones.
- Don’t forget you have just given birth – chances are your hormones are all over the place, so you may be feeling emotional, you may be sore and you are trying to get to grips with meeting the needs of a new human being.
- In those early few weeks, it may feel like you are doing very little but don’t underestimate how much effort it takes to look after a baby, especially on very little sleep. You are providing your baby with food, comfort, love and security to allow your baby to grow and develop. Ok, so maybe you don’t feel like you take on the world, let alone keep on top of the housework, cook and eat a meal but you are a mum and mum’s rock!
Janine Smith | a specialist in pregnancy, birth and parent support