What I Wish I Would Have Known As A Postpartum New Mom
HOW TO MAKE YOUR POSTPARTUM SEASON EASIER
There are so many things I wish I would have known after having a baby.
Having my son was one of the greatest joys of my life, but also one of the most challenging times of my life. Here are a few very practical things that may make your postpartum season a little easier.
Let people hold your baby while you sleep-I heard this so much while pregnant, and now I know why. I also know it feels like no one can take care of your baby like you, and I still feel that way a lot of the time, but they will be ok in the loving care of someone you trust. A lack of sleep made me feel absolutely horrible. I was not myself at all when I was getting no sleep. I wish I would have prioritized sleep majorly. If you don’t have people who can help you early on, try to get as much rest as possible (any way you can)…nap, go to bed as soon as possible at night, just sleep as much as you can. This is a very short season, and there will be plenty of time for the things you want to do as they grow into toddlerhood.
Set boundaries for visitors-You need to heal. If they aren’t there to help, they don’t need to be there. This may sound harsh because I know everyone wants to love on the baby, but Mama, you just brought a new human into the world. You matter too. You need rest, nutritious food, and people that want to help. This is not the time for you to have to entertain. Also, you don’t need to feel bad if you need time alone and to process things and to get situated. Everyone will be excited and want to see the baby, but it’s ok if you need alone time. Ask your husband to help protect your space and if you want people to leave, don’t be afraid to let them know you need to rest.
Postpartum anxiety and hormones can be challenging-Talk to women who you trust who can give you encouragement. Talk to other women who have been through childbirth and who are stable, healthy, and have Godly, overcoming mindsets. Also, again… SLEEP. I realized a year later that lack of sleep was causing a lot of anxiety.
Sleep Training-This is controversial, and every mom should do what feels right for them, but sleep training has been so great for us! We waited until about 6 months to sleep train, and I wish we would have done it sooner. I remember being hesitant about sleep training until going a whole night without sleeping and not being able to function the next day. It took 2 nights and he was sleeping through the night. It was literally glorious and it did wonders for the whole family. We still had a lot of rough patches with sleep over the past few years, but most of the time it was something we needed to adjust in his schedule and we just didn’t realize it. Now we are at a good place where our 2 year old sleeps in his crib like a champion most nights.
If your baby is colicky or develops eczema, or has allergies, he may have a gut imbalance-
*Disclaimer: I’m not a Dr., so please consult your Dr. or child’s Dr.. This is not medical advice. This is gathered from my own personal experience.
This has become extremely common, so you aren’t alone. We hear that “this is normal or that no one really knows” what causes colic, eczema, or allergies, but from my personal research, a lot of it stems from the gut. The gut of a newborn can get disrupted from multiple different things after birth.
There is so much research on this if you look into it. If you feel comfortable, you could talk to your Dr. about trying an age appropriate probiotic to your baby. When I was consistent in doing this, is when I noticed the biggest improvements with the eczema he was experiencing. I really like this one: Gut Infant Pro. Just make sure you work with your Dr. and follow the directions with dosing. Dairy also seemed to be an issue for us early on.
Eat well, and don’t live on plain oatmeal, cold turkey sandwiches, and tons of sugar to get you through (me, again). You’ll pay for it in crashes and mood swings. Eat to balance your blood sugar and stay full. This means eating healthy protein, fat, and carbs at every meal. After I had Luke, I ate a big bowl of oatmeal with a little bit of real maple syrup every morning for breakfast because I read that oats help with supply and it was a fast breakfast. But, after a while I noticed that everyday after eating oatmeal I would feel really anxious and dizzy. I realized it was because my blood sugar was spiking and I wasn’t eating any protein or fat with it. I started adding some protein and healthy fat to it and I felt much better.
Take your prenatal vitamins and other supplements.
This was huge for me! I took a prenatal through pregnancy, but once I had Luke, I slacked off. I started again and started taking a multi-vitamin that was fully methylated (you can research more on this) and has aloe to help absorption (the one I take is Plexus X-Factor Plus). This changed how I felt big time. A lot of supplements are a waste of money because they contain fillers, synthetic vitamins, and don’t absorb well. Do your research before buying just anything. I also started doing Fish Oil/Cod liver oil (supports so many things—but I noticed an improvement in my mood). You want to make sure you get a high-quality one (I like Nordic Naturals and Carlson Labs). You have to be consistent with all supplements to see improvements.
If you don’t want to give your baby something, don’t do it!
You know what is best for you and your baby, even when it feels like you don’t have all the answers. If something doesn’t feel right for you, don’t do it. I had a lot of well meaning advice come my way, and I filtered it through prayer. Don’t be afraid to say no. You are the advocate for your child.
The early days of transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom can be emotionally challenging for social mamas. Get dressed and shower everyday (this is possible lol—I always get up early and prioritize a shower because I feel better). Talk to your family or friends everyday, even if it’s just a text. I’m not a big texter, so sometimes I would just call my friends or family to talk for 5 minutes. This helped me so much early on.
Get help if you plan to breastfeed-This won’t be for everyone, but take a breastfeeding class before you have your baby if possible (I skipped this one because I thought, how hard can it be? Attach baby…done. Eye-rolling at myself now). Also, see a lactation consultant right away and continue to work with them if you still have issues. Breastfeeding was very challenging for me, mostly because I had a rocky start and had no clue what I was doing. But, I made it 24 months and it got so much easier after I got help. There is hope!
I’m sure there are a million other things I could say, but the biggest one is to give yourself, and your husband, loads of grace and to partner with God in your parenting journey. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own, but instead rely on God daily for answers and wisdom and you won’t fail!
What are some of the things you wish you would have known postpartum?