Here are a few tips and tricks to have the happiest postpartum period!
Many parents try to bite off more than they can chew in the beginning, and this can make the postpartum period hectic and unenjoyable. The key is to simplify!
Postpartum: At the Hospital
Try to have as few visitors as possible. People tend to hang around for too long and you will be in no mood to entertain them!
You will be exhausted and sore and tired and sleepy and bleeding and just plain out of it!
Plus, your baby and you need lots of skin-to-skin time and people always tend to want to hold the newborn. Which isn’t really good for your baby.
More about skin-to-skin in the beginning! Skin-to-Skin: The One Place Your Baby Wants to be After Birth
People have all kinds of bacteria and bugs that can be harmful to babies. There will be enough time for others to hold and cuddle your baby! Right after birth isn’t the time. It might be a good idea to not let anyone know that you are at the hospital. That way no one will show up. Of course, it’s totally up to you! This is just my two cents.
If you do end up having everyone and their mother show up to see you and the baby and you want them to leave, don’t hesitate to ask your nurse to ask them to. She’ll be happy to help! (I know I would :))
Sleep will be hard to come by in the first days and weeks after you come home with your newborn.
If you are breastfeeding you will have to wake up when the baby feeds, which is quite a lot in the beginning.
A lot of women say they have a hard time napping, but it might be a good idea to start trying now! If you feel like you can take a nap, hand the baby over to someone else and go for it. Whenever you can!
It will take a while for the baby to know the difference between night and day. A lot of babies have their best sleep in the early morning hours between around 4 or 5 am to noon.
Take advantage of that and sleep in! If your partner has to get up for work, make sure they do so quickly and quietly so you and the baby don’t wake up. Don’t plan any big activities during the day so you can go to bed when your baby sleeps.
It’s crazy that newborns sleep 18-20 hours in a 24 hour period, yet new parents are always exhausted. I believe if you plan less and sleep more, that can change for you! Also, if your baby is restless but not hungry, pass the baby to someone else you trust and go into another room to sleep. Try not to worry and get that much-needed rest!
This labour and delivery nurse has an awesome tip for you to prepare for postpartum fatigue while you’re still pregnant, go check it out on Mamasoup! All About Postpartum Fatigue and my #1 Tip for Preparing While You’re Still Pregnant
Food: You’re Going to be HUNGRY!
You won’t have a ton of time to cook in the first few days and weeks so if possible cook food in advance and freeze. Or order in!
If people offer to help, ask them to come and cook for you. Or ask them to pick up groceries or take out.
The bottom line is, try not to do it all at once! Taking care of a needy newborn is more than a full-time job. Especially when you are starting breastfeeding, that needs your undying attention. Also, you will feel very hungry while breastfeeding. I actually experienced more hunger while breastfeeding than pregnant. A lot of women are surprised by this.
Cleaning and Other Household Chores
Leave that for now. I know it’s hard if you are a type A, but just like in parenting, you are going to have to try to let go!
You will never remember whether your house was clean when you had a newborn, but you will value forever the time you enjoyed with this fresh bundle of joy.
Your baby will grow SO FAST! I know people keep telling you that, but it just can’t be emphasized enough. If other people can come over and do the dishes, let them. Otherwise, sleep is more important. Always choose to sleep over anything else.
If you can afford it, hire someone to do the cleaning that is absolutely necessary.
Ask for Help
Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
I repeat, ask for help! Us women want to do it all, and it’s hard for us to ask. But I’m telling you, it’ll make everything so much easier. Swallow your pride and take all the help you can get. In other cultures, women get their whole family to help for at least a month after birth. I don’t know why us North-Americans think we can do it all, we can’t! Support is necessary for this vulnerable time after birth.
Don’t be a superhero.
People want to help you and assistance from others will make your postpartum experience so much smoother. No one expects you to do it all.
Enjoy Every Moment
There will be times when you want to throw your hands and give up.
I’m not gonna lie, postpartum can be a very trying time. Be kind to yourself and your partner (if you have one).
Try to take it one step at a time. Focus on the good things, not only difficult things.
Don’t blame yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned. Know that you will get a hang of this baby thing and to enjoy the process of learning.
Love your baby and this precious time you have together. Try not to dream it away and wait for other things. This is the time, life is happening now.
If you feel like you cannot enjoy it and that you are starting to get postpartum depression, please don’t hesitate to talk to someone, anyone! Don’t suffer in silence.
Read more about postpartum depression and other mood disorders after pregnancy: Postpartum Mental Health
Have a Happy Postpartum!
I’d love to hear stories about your postpartum experiences, please comment below or drop me a line. What helped and what hindered you during your time with your newborn?