Sometimes you get to what you thought was the end and you find it’s a whole new beginning.  – Anne Tyler

Preparing for a new baby can so exciting. We eagerly anticipate our appointments with the doctor or midwife, we book our antenatal classes, buy the car seat and the baby clothes and pack our bag ready for the big birth – day.

But how many of us pause to think about what life is going to be like (I mean REALLY) after the baby comes along? Who’ll be around during the day to help out if baby doesn’t sleep and you need some rest? Who’s going to do the cooking? Where is baby going to sleep? How do you both feel about this? Or have you discussed it?! Or even thought about it!

One of the things I think women often find most difficult about having a new baby is the intensity of it. Before your baby came along you were you, now all of a sudden you’re mum (and you seem to have a LOT of children; one of the things I couldn’t get my head around at all was that grown adults like called me mum. At the hospital as your baby is handed to you: “here you go mum”, at the 6 week check-up: “And how is mum?” etc. And all the time you’re thinking: “I’M NOT YOUR MUM!)

It can feel like the ‘real’ you has disappeared and now all you are is ‘mum’. So how do you stay sane? Here are a few things that might help make the adjustment a little easier post partum.

  1. Keep visitors to a minimum if you can, both in the hospital and at home.

    That way you can spend some time catching up on sleep and getting to know your baby. If visitors suggest coming, tell them you’ll drop in on them or meet them for a coffee in the next few weeks. For close friends and family, ask them to do something around the house that you haven’t been able to get to, or to mind the baby while you sleep.

  2. Maximise your sleep.

    It seems unrealistic to say ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’, but try it! If you find you can’t sleep, take that time to relax your body and mind. Resist the urge to catch up on housework or cooking while the baby sleeps!

  3. ‘How will I get anything done if I don’t do it while my baby sleeps?’ I hear you ask!

    The answer – wear your baby. This can be a lifesaver too if your baby doesn’t sleep much during the day. If your baby doesn’t seem to like being in the sling, don’t give up. There are many different types of sling that you can try. Your local sling library can loan you some to try and show you how to use them properly so it’s comfortable for you and your baby. Consider getting in touch with your sling library before the birth so that you can have a sling ready to try when you need it.

  4. If you plan to breastfeed, have a lactation consultant on speed dial.

    Even better, attend a breastfeeding class with your partner before the birth. Find out if you have a local breastfeeding group (check with Cuidiu, Friends of Breastfeeding or La Leche League) and go during your pregnancy. You’ll get to know other women who are pregnant or breastfeeding who will be a source of support to you once your baby is born.

  5. Find other local groups whether free or paid activities.

    Sometimes when you’re having a tough day at home alone, the best thing you can do is get out with your baby for a chat.

  6. Eat well and hydrate.

    Prepare one handed snacks in the morning or better still, get your partner or visitors to do it! Sometimes you can be so busy with a new baby you can forget to feed yourself.

  7. Ensure you and your partner are informed about post partum depression.

    After birth, we become like Stone Age women again, becoming more protective and quicker to respond to stressful cues. While this is a normal response to having a new baby, it can spill over easily into anxiety or depression and it’s useful for couples to be aware of this.

  8. Consider writing a ‘Post Partum Plan’ with your partner.

    This gives you both an opportunity to discuss what your roles will be when the baby arrives, how you feel about various aspects of parenting and what supports you have in place for after the birth. It may also help you to highlight possible issues and put a plan in place to deal with them.

  9. Don’t forget if you need extra support, you can hire a Post Partum Doula.

    She can help you find information and resources you need, prepare food, look after older siblings, mind the baby while you sleep and generally give emotional and practical support as you adjust to life with your new baby.

If you’d like to know more about hiring a birth or post partum doula or information on resources in the Clonmel/Tipperary area, contact Louise 0879229708 or louise-carroll@hotmail.com

 

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