Having a baby is definitely a life-changing event, there’s no denying that. But when I talk to a lot of my mums friends, a common thread that seems to be unwoven during conversations is the fact that we seem to place A LOT of emphasis on the birth of our baby, often leaving us feeling quite unprepared for the realities of postpartum and life with a newborn. Here’s 5 things I wish I knew about postpartum and life after birth. Please remember to be kind to your body and your mind above all else, you have created and birthed life and for that, you are beyond amazing.
You’re going to feel emotional, it’s okay to ask for help
You have been through so much both physically and emotionally after childbirth. The first time you experience birth is often the most life changing as it’s something you’ve never experienced before. The mix of hormones can lead to mood swings, crying spells, euphoria, a spike in anxiety, and even overwhelming love. A lot of the time as mothers we feel as though it is our responsibility to take care of everyone and everything around us. It’s during this initial postpartum period that you need to lean on your support network for comfort and help.
Breastfeeding can be tricky, and doesn’t come naturally to everyone
While many make breastfeeding look effortless, others can have a harder time establishing this new normal. Reaching out and seeking a trained Lactation Consultant, or researching one ahead of birth can be extremely beneficial. It’s also okay if you decide breastfeeding isn’t for you, or isn’t for your baby. There is already too much pressure and judgment put on mums. Our biggest advice when it comes to feeding is go with what works for you, seek help when needed, and take the pressure off when it becomes too much. At the end of the day, some things that work for one person, don’t work for another. Be kind to yourself.
Tired will quickly become the new normal, but like all seasons it will pass
Newborns need to be fed around the clock. This quickly leads to a very tired mumma. It’s all well and good for people to tell you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, but this can be hard in reality. Go easy on yourself and take one day at a time. If you can, have your partner help where possible. This might mean them being on baby duty in the early evenings so you can have a few hours to rest before the night shift, or your partner taking bub first thing in the morning for a walk so you can get some sleep. Whatever it looks like, make sure you are still looking after yourself as much as possible as well as your brand new bubba.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good burping
Our tiny human’s digestive system is very, very new when they are born. Even though they are only drinking milk in the early days, their digestive system goes into overdrive trying to break down all the goodness. This can sometimes cause discomfort for our little one. They might take in air as they drink and cry, causing uncomfortable gas. This leads to a very unhappy baby, and often a stressed out mum trying to figure out what to do! Keeping your tiny human upright after a feed and ensuring they are well burped seems like a simple thing to do right? But it can actually make a huge difference in the comfort of your baby. This can help them sleep better and be overall more content. If there’s one thing I wish I knew sooner, it was the good old burping!
Some friends may drift away, but new bonds will form
It can sometimes be tricky for friends that don’t have a baby to understand the enormous life shift that you have been through. While some friendships may start to drift the more you delve into this new chapter of life, new friendships will emerge with other women going through a similar experience. Having your mum group is really important. These women become your tribe to lift you up, reassure you and steer you in the right direction when you’re lost. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to finding a mum group, or feel a little overwhelmed with putting yourself out there, there’s lots of ways to build your community. Facebook is a great place to start if you’re looking for a local meetup. There’s also Peanut, which is a safe space for women going through pregnancy and motherhood to connect with like minded others.
Go forth and conquer mum!
Entering motherhood is an indescribable feeling of highs and lows. The early days can be filled with uncertainty and doubt, but believe us when we say this will soon become unwavering confidence as you and your tiny human grow together. There are many things that hindsight can offer as a mum, but our biggest advice is to trust yourself, because no one knows your baby as well as you do. Whatever motherhood looks like to you, we can’t wait for you to experience this wonderful, magical journey.