Between grabbing sleep and remembering what feed was when and how much did they have, it can all get a bit much. Here are your top five priorities:
Making sure you are fed well
For the first few weeks after you’ve given birth, you’ll be getting to know your new baby, learning how to be a new mum and possibly welcoming lots of excited visitors. As a new mum, you need to look after yourself properly so it’s important you get plenty of nourishment and a healthy balanced diet to keep your energy levels topped up.
Getting used to feeding baby
Feeding your baby will take up a lot of your time in the first few weeks. It’s a learning process for everyone which will change from day to day as your newborn grows. Breastfeeding is the best food for your new baby and provides many nutritional and health benefits.
Newborn babies need frequent feeds every two to three hours in the early days. It’s important to keep up the night feeds, especially in the early weeks, as they are essential for your baby’s nutritional requirements. A good idea at this busy time is to nap when your baby naps.
Setting up sleep habits
Newborn babies are growing and developing rapidly, and this means they need a lot of sleep. Your baby will take smalls naps throughout the day, waking only for a feed and change.
Your newborn does not know the difference between night and day just yet
Your newborn does not know the difference between night and day just yet but there are a couple of things you can do to change this; interact with your baby as much as you can during the day. Keep rooms bright and include some background noises such as the TV or radio. During the night keep the lights and noise down and save little chats for during the day. Your baby will soon learn that night time is for sleeping.
Beating the ‘Baby Blues’
Many mums suffer the ‘baby blues’ during the first weeks after the birth. Giving birth is a very emotional and physically demanding experience. Because of this and hormone imbalances, you might feel tearful, anxious, hypersensitive and even alone in the world, even if you are surrounded by family and friends. With rest and the support, these feelings will gradually melt away. You are not alone, speak with your healthcare professional who will listen to your feelings without judging and give you the support you need so you can get back to your old self and enjoy being a new mum.
Saying yes to help!
It’s only natural to want to do everything for your baby but it’s actually a good idea to share the workload. This helps your baby to develop relationships with others and recognise the important people in your lives. And once you can get used to handing your baby over to someone else for a while, you can catch up on some activities or some sleep too. It might be tempting to do chores when your baby naps during the day, but first off it’s best to rest and sleep if you can, as you might be up several times during the night.
Dad can spend plenty of private time with your baby doing activities that involve skin-to-skin contact. Changing nappies, cuddling, putting the baby to sleep, giving them a bath, or even just reading in a chair while the baby naps on his chest are all great relationship builders. They’ll give him and the baby a chance to be alone together and he can really enjoy being a dad.
Finally, nobody is judging you or expecting you to be perfect. All mums need help from time to time, some more than others so if there’s anything you want to know, just ask for advice. Don’t be afraid to chat to your healthcare professional when they visit – they’re there to help you and your baby. And we’re always here if you need any help or advice, just contact our Careline.