On top of the newness of your life as a brand new mom, you are dealing with the aches and discomforts of your postpartum body, learning to breastfeed or bottlefeed, figuring out your new routine and more.
Of course this is a special and happy time in your life, there is no question about it, but it is also normal to be overwhelmed, tired and scared. After all, you are experiencing it all for the first time, and there is nothing wrong in asking for help, tips, assistant and anything else that may make your new lifestyle a bit easier.
So how does your life change after childbirth?
The first thing that changes is the expansion of your family and the little bundle of joy that is now YOUR responsibility. Being responsible for another human being is huge, let along if this is a little baby who cannot do anything for himself. Simultaneously, your lifestyle as you know it is gone, at least for some time. Don’t freak out. This is an adjustment period. Treat it as such. And ask for help when and if you can!
Learning to feed your baby can be smooth or tricky. That depends on both you and baby. But first you have to decide if you are going to breastfeed or bottle feed. Even just this decision can be nerve wrecking for the new mom. If you haven’t thought of it before, this is a good time to speak to your doctor or ask to consult a lactation consultant.
If you are breastfeeding, you may not have your milk in yet, but only colostrum. Breastfeeding may be painful, uncomfortable, or just a complete disaster. Before you leave the hospital, ask to speak to a lactation consultant. She can observe you and baby during feeding and help with knowledgeable information and tips – how to hold the baby, how baby needs to latch, how to massage your breasts and more. If you have left the hospital already or gave birth at home, you can call any hospital for birthing and ask to speak to a lactation consultant, or speak to your doula or midwife.
If you are bottle feeding you may be overwhelmed by the variety of different bottles out there, the types of nipples and materials, bottle size and shape ext. Ask for help at the store. They know their stock and can recommend the most popular bottle, and your answer questions about the differences and recommendations for colicky baby, younger baby, etc. Also ask friends who have kids for their recommendation. Same goes for choosing the right formula brand and type. Don’t buy a lot, as you could find your baby does not respond well to one type or another.
As a new mom, you are learning how to care for your baby. It is OK if things aren’t perfect at the beginning; both you and baby are learning how things are done best, what is most comfortable for the both of you, etc. In a few short months you’ll be surprised to hear yourself giving other new moms advice. Take your time, don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes along the way, get a book or take a baby basics class to help you where you need help or ask a family member or friend for assistant.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. After all, your body has been through childbirth, which is not something to take lightly. Try to rest when you can, eat well and follow any directions you got when discharged from the hospital. And if you notice anything out of the ordinary or experience pain, call your healthcare provider.