Have you just given birth to a beautiful baby? Congratulations! You’re probably thrilled to be able to hold your little miracle, and relieved that you no longer have to carry that huge belly with you everywhere, and put up with all those changes.
At least that’s what you tell everyone. Between us, moms, you’re just as scared thinking of what’s coming as you were of pregnancy and giving birth. Emotions are rushing through your body, and a million thoughts are rushing through your head.
Telling you to let yourself go with the flow, as things will eventually settle on their own, would be unrealistic. If you want to avoid becoming part of the 20% of new moms developing postpartum depression, I suggest a different alternative: take a step back to look at the big picture, take a deep breath, and set your priorities straight.
Your number one priority will surely be your baby, as they have been for the past 9 months or so. You should come immediately after that precious miracle. Why?
- You won’t be able to look after your baby if you don’t look after yourself,
- You won’t be able to rekindle the relationship with your loved one if you don’t regain your physical shape and self-esteem first,
- You will snap if you don’t take the time to gather your strength and organize your life in such a way to make things easier for you.
Surprisingly, most women neglect themselves and focus exclusively on their baby, forgetting important things that could actually help them regain control of their lives. What are these things? Keep reading to find out!
5 Crucial Things You Should Never Forget to Do After Giving Birth
1. Eating and Sleeping Properly
When was the last time you had your regular three meals a day? When was the last time you had some restful sleep? You feed your baby, you put it to sleep, and you start cleaning, cooking, ironing, and whatever else needs to be done around the house.
By the time you are done, your baby is already up and wanting to be held, changed, fed, etc. You’re still tired and hungry, you become moody and depressed, you lose your patience with yourself and everyone around you, and that’s no way to live. So try this!
- Think of fast meals and treats, prepare them in advance, or ask someone to prepare them for you. When you make your baby’s bottle, or before you start breastfeeding it, get your food or drink with you. While feeding the little one, helping them burp, or putting them to sleep, take a bite or a sip.
- When your baby is finally asleep, forget about everything you had in mind, and go to sleep next to it. There’s no telling when you have this chance again, so don’t ruin it. Leaving the dishes undone for another hour won’t kill you, and you really need some rest.
- Every day, try to have at least one meal with your family, when your baby is asleep. Every week, or even more often, ask someone in your family to pay attention to the baby, pass on the baby monitor, and get a good night sleep. Don’t worry, if something happens and the baby needs you, they’ll wake you up.
2. Look after Yourself
You keep telling yourself you will eventually get the hang of it and be able to do everything better and faster. As soon as that happens, you will get a hair treatment and a new haircut, schedule that hair removal session, and get a long bubble bath, perhaps a body treatment and a relaxation massage, etc.
I hate to break it to you, but things never really fall in place when you have a child. When you finally get used to the frequent meals, burping, and diaper changing, the teeth begin to grow, and you’re in for restless days and nights, perhaps even fever and diarrhea. Then comes meal diversification, talking, walking, etc., and you realize your life is a continuous merry-go-round.
You need to make time and look after yourself now, in the middle of all this. Otherwise, you will wake up one day, depressed and exhausted, to see a wreck in the mirror, chaos in your personal life, and a bleak future. Your baby needs you healthy and joyful, so take measures to be like that now.
- Start by showering more often, wearing clothes you feel pretty in, and doing your hair by yourself. The prettier you feel, the more confident you’ll be, and the easier everything will seem.
- As soon as you find someone to babysit or you can take the baby with you, call your hairdresser and make an appointment. They won’t mind if you show up a little earlier or a little later, or if you bring your baby along, especially if they are parents themselves.
- When your mom of hubby are around, ask them to stay with your baby and go for that long bubble bath, body treatment, swim, sauna, or whatever you love and find most beneficial for your body and mind.
- When you take your baby out for a walk, or you find someone to look after them for an hour or two, don’t hesitate to go shopping and renew your wardrobe. It will make you feel and look better, and it all starts with the way you feel.
- Play with your baby and hold them in your arms. Don’t limit your interaction to feeding and bathing time. Your baby needs you, and if they feel close to you, they will sleep better and cry less. Their joy and innocence will help you relax and experience a feeling of completeness nothing else can match.
3. Look after Your Relationship
Pregnancy and giving birth mess up your body in ways you could not have imagined. They also mess up your relationship, because you can’t have sex for months. Before the baby is born, you fear something may happen to it, your growing belly gets in the way, and you feel anything but sexy.
After you give birth, everything hurts, you are tired, nervous, and you never find the time to be with your loved one. Add to that vaginal dryness, and the fact that you probably feel estranged, and having intercourse is something you feel tempted to postpone.
Don’t! Both you and your partner need to find your way to one another, and if you haven’t neglected the things discussed above, eating, sleeping, and looking after yourself, it will all be easier. Here are a few tips to prepare for your first night together, after giving birth:
- Wait until your vaginal discharge ends, and get treatment for any urinary tract or fungus you may have developed. Most women experience them, so you have nothing to be ashamed of, but solving these problems will help you feel more confident and avoid discomfort.
- Clear up the bedroom, even if it means just stuffing everything in the closet or moving it to another room. If everything looks clean and neat, you will feel better.
- Get a bottle of wine you both like, turn on the music or a movie you’d both enjoy. Otherwise put, make the atmosphere work for you.
- Put on something sexy. You probably don’t feel comfortable walking around naked so soon after giving birth, so a negligee will help you cover the parts you’re insecure about, and turn on your partner.
- Take your time. Play with one another, be patient, and use plenty of lubricants. Perhaps this won’t be the best sex you ever had, but you can still get some pleasure out of it, and things will get better as you get used to your new role as parents.
4. Get Together with Your Friends
When you give birth, all you want is time to look after your baby, recover after the delivery, and get your long lost sleep. You hate it when friends and relatives drop by unannounced, and you surely don’t feel like having them over every other day.
I get it, and they get it too, at least for a while, especially if they have children themselves. If you want to stay friends, you still need to get together and communicate. So, instead of despairing that they’re coming over and your home is a mess, or you haven’t had time to cook, call them and tell them what to bring, or order in.
It may seem impossible to arrive somewhere in time when you need to bring your baby along, but it’s not. Try getting them used to eat on a regular schedule, and take the powder milk and the water with you, so you can prepare them in case the baby gets hungry.
Always keep a bag with a couple of diapers, wet wipes, and change clothes ready. This way, even if something unpredictable happens, or you rush out of the house and forget to change them, you can keep your baby fresh and clean at all times.
When you buy your baby stroller, choose a foldable model, with a detachable bassinet. This way, you can easily store it in the trunk when you need to take the car, and get it out and use it again at destination. The detachable bassinet will allow you to keep the baby with you indoors, without worrying about their comfort or breaking your back by holding them in your arms.
You may not be able to spend the night out, go to the cinema, or relax at the spa, but you can still enjoy walks, shopping sessions, picnics, barbecue, and any activity that allows you to keep your baby close and have fun with your friends. This is way better than cutting everyone out and waking up one day only to realize that you’ve lost all your friends.
5. Ask for Help
You are responsible for a new life besides your own, so you need to feel in control all the time. You don’t ask for help, even though you need it. I hate to break it to you, but trying to do everything yourself is not a viable long-term strategy. Sure, you didn’t bring this child to life to let others raise it, but you could still use some support.
- Did your mom or mother in law offer to baby-sit? Take their offer, even if just for an hour or two, while you get some work done around the house, or, better yet, look after yourself.
- Did someone call to announce their visit? Don’t hesitate to ask them to stop by the store and buy those small things you forgot to put on your shopping list!
- Is your home a mess, do you crave a food your mom cooks best, or do you need your best friend’s opinion on something? Give them a call! If they can, they’ll help you. If not, at least you know you tried and you can get it out of your mind.
The Bottom Line
Being a parent is not easy, and it never will be. If you want to get through the motherhood challenge successfully, cut yourself some slack, take care of your mind and body, give your hubby some attention, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. This way, life is more beautiful, the future looks brighter, and when you feel good, you pass on that feeling to your baby.