Congratulations! You’ve just given birth to a tiny little miracle and you couldn’t be more in love. As wonderful as life with a newborn can be, though, there are times when it’s really difficult. There is just so much a new mom has to worry about:
- Is my baby healthy?
- Do I have the right baby essentials?
- Do I breast-feed and if so, what are the best lactation supplements?
The questions and worries could go on and on, and that can bring about a real rollercoaster of emotions. But, while it seems that all of your attention should be centered on your little bundle of joy, you should never forget about yourself and your wellbeing. So, we’ve put together five things that will hopefully help you navigate the first year and come out a happier and healthier mom.
You need looking after just as much as your newborn does
Nothing prepares you for the overwhelming emotions that come after giving birth – and that’s putting aside the physical effects you’ll be experiencing. Try and go easy on yourself at all times. No one knows what they’re doing in the beginning.
Simple wellbeing tips such as sleeping when your baby sleeps, ensuring you’re making time for a soothing hot bath in the evenings, and accepting offers of meals to stick in the freezer from friends and family. Take the help, take deep breaths, and just know that you’re doing the best you can – and that’s enough!
Behaviour changes often
Babies go through phases, and it’s really important to bear this in mind for your own sanity. Just because you’ve got a smiley angel one week, doesn’t mean your little one won’t be screaming the house down incessantly the next week.
Yes, routine is important. But that doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up if you ‘nail’ the bedtime thing one night, and it all goes down the pan the next. Just take each day as it comes.
Your Kegels are really important
Ok, so it might not be the first thing you think about, but your pelvic floor exercises – also known as Kegel exercises – are crucial in the first few weeks and months after giving birth. Unsurprisingly, thanks to the trauma of giving birth, the muscles in your pelvic floor lose their strength, and this can lead to a leaky bladder and problems during sex later on.
The earlier you start working on these, the better. Even while you’re watching TV or changing a nappy – simply clench your pelvic floor muscles and hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat this 10 times, three times a day – try morning, noon and night.
Sign up to a class as early as possible
Baby yoga, baby swimming lessons, baby sensory exploration – there’s a never-ending list of classes out there for you to sign up to in the early days. And these classes can be a godsend. You’ll make new friends who are going through exactly the same thing you are, and it’ll give your week a sense of structure and purpose.
You may look pregnant for some time after
Contrary to popular belief, your stomach does not ping back to its pre-pregnancy state the second after you give birth. So please don’t despair if after a few weeks your pregnancy belly hasn’t shifted – this is totally normal. Usually, it takes around three months for your uterus to shrink back to its original size. Everyone is different, and your weight should be the least of your worries right now. Try and relax, enjoy these special few months and be kind to yourself instead.