The day after giving birth to my second child, I insisted we ventured to the local soft play, baby’s very first outing. I was excited to show her off. I sat at a table there, almost crying with the afterpains I was having whilst breastfeeding.
I almost cringe thinking about it. What on earth was I doing, leaving the house so early, and to soft play?! It didn’t stop there, I was in and out the hospital within hours after a straight forward birth. I was on such a high I felt invincible. The 2 weeks after my daughter was born, we made various trips out to museums, did loads of walking, had tonnes of visitors. Sounds great right? Not really! 6 weeks later I crashed and burned, absolutely exhausted. I hadn’t given my body any chance at all to recover.
I recently put a post on Instagram on this subject, and was surprised at how many people commented, with stories of doing way too much after giving birth. The overriding theme was that mums regretted how much they did, too much too soon.
So, what can you do to make sure you recover in the best way possible?
Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re not planning on having any visitors for a few days, weeks, whatever you decide. Those first few days are so precious, and incredibly important for bonding. I remember after I had my first, realising I had hardly held him all day, apart from to feed. That evening he was incredibly unsettled, and I’m certain it’s because he’s been passed around constantly. Of course, you’ll be desperate to show off your new bundle of joy, but there will be plenty of time for that.
Sleep when baby sleeps
The advice you’ve probably heard constantly, but really, it’s true! Turn your phone off and get your head down, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. You’ll feel better for it, I promise.
Make the night feeds a treat!
I would always take snacks to bed in anticipation of the night feeds in the early days. Chocolate makes everything better, even being awake at 3am. The caffeine in chocolate is great for helping to stay awake too! I also downloaded some books to read. I would catch up on some YouTube videos too.
Don’t think you’re being polite by refusing help if people offer it. They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to! I still remember one of our friends coming over when our first was born, and insisting on cleaning and tidying the kitchen. It was amazing! I’d much rather that than a bunch of flowers. Accept the help, people will be pleased to be lending a hand, and it’ll mean less for you to do.
‘It takes a village’
The saying is true, it really does take a village to raise a child. Don’t struggle on your own. Talk to family, friends, your midwife or health visitor. This is a massive must if you’re breastfeeding and not finding it easy. Research your local breastfeeding support before baby is born. Quite often, you’re able to call breastfeeding support workers who can come and give you a home visit. I really wish I’d gained access to support sooner with my first. I was stupidly embarrassed that breastfeeding was not going well. I thought I’d be looked down on. When we did access the right support though, it was what saved our breastfeeding.
I asked some fellow parents for their tips and here’s what they had to say:
Get a lot of supplements ready. Things like turmeric will help with the inflammation and then a load of probiotics. Your gut health will likely be depleted after birth and the probiotics will helps the baby and their gut health if you’re breastfeeding. Something which might also help with things like colic.
Ross from Https://isablog.co.uk
You’re so attached to the baby in those first few weeks, but making sure you get a few minutes to yourself each day just to have a shower or a bath, brush hair etc can really make a big difference to your mood and mental health 🙂 Hayley from www.mamainprogress.com
Prepare loads of nutritious meals when you are pregnant and freeze them – so nice to have a home cooked meal and just warm it up Liane from www.anklebitersadventures.co.uk
Try and get out of the house when I could. It’s good practice for when you’re on your own and the fresh air really helps after being cooped up. Jemma from Www.havekidswilltraveluk.com
I said NO! To visitors at the hospital and once I’d got home too. It just gave us time to breathe and bond as a new little family unit. Nobody was offended and our little one was soon fussed over after a few days. Emma from https://dirtdiggersanddinosaurs.com
Buy a stretchy sling and wear your baby close. Things got easier for me when I started to do it. It help you bond with baby, helps them regulate their heart rate and body temp and it gives you your hands back. You can go to the loo whilst baby wearing and you can settle them without straining your back. Sarah from Www.arthurwears.com