You walk into the hospital with a big belly and after some time out comes the most beautiful little thing covered in vernix and some other sticky things. While you are at the hospital you have help that can come to you with the push of a button. Is baby’s poop supposed to look this that? Are my breasts supposed to feel like this? How much is baby actually supposed to eat at 1 day old? All of these and any other questions you have can be answered by a skilled and experience nurse night or day while you are in the postpartum wing.
But what about when you leave? Who are you going to ask these types of questions to? How are you going to know if that face baby is making is just gas or if something is wrong?
Most new moms have lots of friends and family near by that will come and check on them and hope to get some baby cuddles when they come over. Some moms are living hundreds and thousands of miles away from friends and family and may not have the support so close to them.
One thing that nearly all moms have is Facebook. It can be a vital tool in connecting new moms(and anyone really!) together. There are always new groups popping up for due date months, or pregnant in your local area.
When you get home and all settled in with your new love, it doesn’t take long before people want to start coming by to meet baby. Depending on how you feel will determine the flow of visitors coming and going.
Do not be afraid to ask for them to bring food. You’ve just had a baby, the last thing you want to do is stand at the stove and cook when you could be relaxing with your new baby.
Ask your visitors to ‘work’ for baby cuddles. “Would you care to load the dishwasher for me before you sit and cuddle baby? I sure would appreciate it!”
You can even type up a little list of things you would like help with around the house and tape it to your front door and ask if they read the note. If not, they can go back and check it out. Having it this way can help you avoid needing to repeat it every time someone comes by.
Do NOT feel obligated to have people over if you do not want them to visit yet. Everyone gets anxious and wants to meet baby but sometimes you’re not ready for it. That is ok! You can make a post on facebook, group text, another note on the door. “We know you can’t wait to meet our new addition, but right now Mom and baby are recovering and needing some quiet and rest. We will let you know right away when we are ready for visitors! Thank you!”
Maybe you need all the help you can get. The more the merrier in that case. If you’ve got enough help, have someone do the dishes while another snuggles baby and you take as long of a shower as you want! Have someone take out the trash, feed the pets and stock the changing table for you.
If you don’t have the village of friends and family near you but you need someone to come regularly and take care of things you have some options, a postpartum doula, a baby nurse, a nanny or maybe just a housekeeper to come in once or twice a week.
So I want some hired help, but don’t know where to look. Ask your nurses before you leave the hospital, they may have some names and numbers to pass along. Talk to your neighbors to see who they recommend. Check out those local mom groups on facebook and ask around. I’m sure you will find just what you are looking for!
Adjusting to a new family member can be overwhelming and exhausting. But don’t forget to take care of yourself too. New moms need cared for just as much as newborn babies do. Have a snack station set up next to your favorite sitting spot. Bottled water, fruits, granola bars, maybe some of your favorite candies too. Everyone says sleep when the baby sleeps. Sounds great in theory, but if you have older children this may not be possible to do. Take it one day at a time. Depending on your older children’s age you may be able to have community nap time once a day. Maybe they’re old enough they can be trusted to entertain themselves with a movie, coloring books, favorite toys for an hour so you can close your eyes with baby in the afternoon.
Nutrition first, sleep second.
If you are breastfeeding and hit some bumps in the road don’t hesitate to get help. Call the hospital you gave birth at and ask to speak to the Lactation Consultant. If you have a local health department with a WIC program they usually have breastfeeding peer counselors or LCs to assist you. A lot of doulas also offer breastfeeding support as well. Some areas have independent LCs who can come to your home and help you. This is another time when you could get on those local mom facebook groups and ask around, see what is available to you in your area.
Let’s not forget about the emotional well being of new moms too. Giving birth is tough, and sometimes things trail off from the birth plan a little or a whole lot. Reach out and talk to someone if you need to. Friends, family, your doula, your doctor or midwife, a neighbor, anyone you need to. A healthy baby is not the only thing that matters, a healthy mom is just as important. Let’s not forget that.
If you’re local to Southern Illinois come join our pregnancy group. http://www.facebook.com/groups/pregnantinsouthernillinois