Congratulations! You are a new mom or a new mom-to-be and having carried the baby to full term is a challenging task in itself. But if you thought that the nightmare is now over, because you have delivered your baby, let me tell you that there is a lot more in store for you!
As a new mom, it is best to be prepared for all the ways in which a baby changes your life. Along with sleepless nights and added responsibilities, there are more things that are going to change in your life.
Don’t be scared, having a baby is a remarkable feat. And just like you dealt with the swollen ankles, endless trips to the bathroom for your nausea or the constant peeing, you will get through the other changes as well. Now is the time for you to get used to having a baby and the changes he/she brings along. Here is a quick rundown on what all changes you can expect in your life after having a baby and advice on how to handle them all perfectly!
1. Emotional Upheaval
First of all, understand that having a new baby will bring with it mood swings. You will be euphoric one day, depressed the next and sometimes even feel like a basket case. Nothing to worry; a mild case of postpartum depression is normal and happens to most new mom’s who are trying to figure out HOW to feel about the baby and the plethora of responsibilities it brings along.
For most women, the raging hormones and the sleepless nights take its toll and you can feel uncertain about the future, scared, fearful for your baby’s safety and depressed – all together. It is normal, just de-stress from time to time with hot cups of tea, yoga and even meditation. Remember, the only constant in any parent’s life is change itself! But if you feel so depressed that it affects the way you handle the baby, it may be time to see a doctor. Many mothers suffer from severe postpartum depression, and the sooner you realize you aren’t just dealing with basic ‘baby blues’, the better it is for your family.
2. The First Night
The first night you come home with your little bundle of joy will be the toughest. Not to mention, a few more until you and your baby adjust to regular life! Some baby’s will adjust within a day or two and sleep through the night; others will sleep through the day and keep you awake all night.
All you need to do is remember you aren’t alone in your ordeal, and make sure your partner pitches in to take care of the baby while you get some sleep too. The baby will cry and wail and sometimes no amount of strolling, cooing and cradling will help. Don’t panic and call your doctor the minute your baby starts to cry; it is normal.
3. Getting Enough Rest
For some lucky moms, the baby sleeps a lot when it comes home first. But don’t be foolish enough to start bragging that being a parent is a piece of cake! You will be surprised how soon the sleep pattern changes and you could have days without any rest!
So be smart, and make sure you get sleep while your baby sleeps too. Don’t think laundry, cleaning up your house and writing Thank You notes should be done while the baby sleeps. There will be time for all that later! In the first few weeks, your body too is healing and recuperating after having delivered the baby, so sleep and rest should be a priority for you too.
4. Need for Space and Privacy
When a new baby arrives in the family, all relatives and friends want to drop in and see the little one. And since you are supposed to rest as much as you can, this constant outpour of love from your near and dear ones can also leave you tired. Not to add, all the people coming and wanting to pick the baby and cradle it will also disturb the little one and make him or her crankier!
Be polite but make everyone understand that you need your rest and need to understand how to deal with the baby right now. There will be plenty of time to entertain later…don’t try playing the perfect hostess right now. Now is the time to demand space and some privacy – figure out how you, your partner and your baby work as a family. In India, the trend of parents and in-laws pitching in to care for the baby post pregnancy is soon changing as parents live in another city or are working themselves. It is time that young Indian women get used to taking care of their baby all by themselves. And it is time to change a few rules too!
5. Accepting the Physical Changes
This one is the toughest to accept for most women. But the fact remains; you might not look the same as you did before you got pregnant. Yes, you should join a gym or get enough exercise once your body is ready to handle the stress of physical exertion. Your uterus is swollen and it can be months before your belly looks flatter. It could take a few additional months or even a whole year before you shed all the weight gained during pregnancy; but NOW is not the time to obsess about your weight.
Take baby steps towards getting healthier and fitter with a holistic approach of a well balanced diet and exercise. A crash diet will only leave you feeling fatigued, something you just cannot handle when you have a new baby to keep you on your toes. You are a mommy now; accept the changes in your body and carry yourself well with an attitude!
6. Changes in Marital Relationship
This is another thing you can expect. But must be worked upon as soon as possible too! Your pregnancy followed with a new baby to care for, the added responsibilities and workload, all will bring about changes in marital relationship. You’d be cranky all the time and sometimes even too tired to talk, cook or even entertain the idea of having sex.
Make sure you and your husband communicate about how you are feeling and how you can help each other out when dealing with a new baby. Also expect to feel more love towards your husband, as you see him hold his son or daughter for the first time. Your relationship will continue to evolve, and if you see that you or your husband cannot deal with the pressures of a new baby, make an appointment with a therapist right away!
7. Preparing For Tough Times
There will be times when your baby will cry uncontrollably and you will fear the worst. After all, reading up so much online and going through endless baby books will always make you fear your child is suffering from something serious. But before you hit all panic buttons and start calling your pediatrician at 2am in the morning, try simple formulas to soothe your baby.
It could be just a little gas or discomfort in the tummy that is nothing to worry about. Try rocking the baby to sleep and distract it. If nothing works and your baby is crying for too long, you might have to rush to the emergency room or call your neighbourhood doctor for help.
8. Breast Feeding Is Far Trickier Than it Looks
It looks simple enough, so why should nursing your baby be a tough job? You are in for a surprise, my friend! Because nursing doesn’t come naturally to many babies and you might need help from another mom or a doctor to understand what you can do to make it more comfortable for both you and your baby.
Get a hang of it, and expect to have sore nipples for a while. The challenges of breastfeeding can truly put a dampener in your life. Some moms prefer to pump breast milk in to bottles and feed to the baby; while others who have lactation related problems might use a baby milk formula. In either case, sometimes babies don’t suck as well, and that means you can expect lots of frustration coming your way too! Make sure you ask a nurse at the hospital about the right way to feed the baby, to avoid most of these problems.
9. Your Body Demands Time To Heal
So enough about the baby, now let’s talk about you. After delivering your baby, you need time to heal. Whether you have a C-section or a normal delivery, your body needs to heal from the bruising and internal tearing that the delivery put it through.
For those who had a C-section, sitting up and moving around may be too painful for the first two weeks. And for those who had a normal delivery, the bruising of the vagina might make life difficult. Either ways get as much help as possible so that you manage to get enough rest. Also, lactating will make breasts sore and painful and also give you additional mood swings. Be prepared for all that and take it in your stride as a new mommy!
10. Every Baby is Unique
Some people think they can talk to friends and their moms and know everything there is to know about raising a child. Remember, each child is different and his/her needs become different too.
So instead of just depending on what you read or what your neighbor told you about babies, its best you blindly trust no one but a qualified pediatrician when it comes to your baby’s health.
These 10 changes can seem all too simple right now, but you have to understand that they will strongly affect your life in the first few months after having a baby. It’s always the little things that make a big difference, right?
So – Be prepared to embrace the changes in your life, and you will be better off; because that is the best way to enjoy each phase of your baby’s life.