Congratulations! After all the months of waiting, your baby has finally arrived. Your days of pregnancy has finally ended, and a new exciting adventure is about to begin. These first days are an amazing time that passes so quickly. These early days and weeks should be spent getting to know and bonding with your baby, both you and daddy. Naturally, family and close friends will want to stop by to see the new little one. However you may want to limit visits during the first week or so.
Take care of yourself. Remember that you have just gone through child birth. you will be tired and you need to rest. Don’t try to be supermom and do crazy things like cleaning the house and cooking a big dinner. Believe me; you have the rest of your life for all that. Right now, you need to concentrate on resting and getting to know the new little member of your family.
Do not wait on your guests. I’ve heard horror stories of new mothers cooking for company while the visitors sit and hold the baby. Don’t do this. Let people help you with cooking and cleaning. If the grandmothers want to visit, they will need to bring a meal or a dust rag. Holding the baby isn’t the help you need. You should be resting on the sofa or rocking chair with the baby while others prepare food.
Baby will spend most of his time sleeping and eating in the first days at home. Newborns sleep most of the time, but this is often a long series of shorter naps. The baby will wake to eat every hour or two, if they are breastfeeding. It’s best for the baby and your milk supply that you feed the baby on demand. After each feeding, the baby will probably fall asleep again.
It may take a few days, or weeks, for the baby to settle into any type of predictable feeding or sleeping pattern. This is very normal and one more reason to delay company. You need to sleep when your baby sleeps, since you are losing sleep at night. Gradually, the baby will settle into a fairly predictable sleep pattern and sleep for longer periods of time. Until then, you need to rest when you have the opportunity.
You may find that your mood changes or you have periods of sadness. At times, you may feel overwhelmed and exhausted. This is known as the baby blues and is totally normal. The combination of changing hormones and lack of sleep contributes to feeling a little blue. There are some things you can do to feel better, such as napping, talking with a friend or taking a walk outside.
Pay attention to your feelings at this time. If your feelings of sadness go beyond feeling just a little down, you may have post partum depression. Symptoms of PPD include feelings of depression, crying frequently, lack of interest in the baby or other previously enjoyed activities, feelings of fear and changes in sleeping or eating habits. If you think you may have post partum depression, call your doctor. Sometimes women worry that their feelings make them bad mothers. Nothing could be further from the truth. PPD is a fairly common condition that requires treatment.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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