Motherhood is by far one of the most beautiful journeys a woman can embark on. But it most certainly is not an easy or smooth one! Even more so for a first-time mother! No amount of reading, watching videos or seeking advice from friends and family can prepare you for this experience.
Firstly, and most importantly, every experience of motherhood is unique and yours is too. Every pregnancy, childbirth and child is different, and even personal situations are different. This makes every parenting experience unlike the other.
Some moms have a breezy pregnancy and childbirth, and some go through multiple hurdles before they get through. Some babies are easy to handle, and some ensure you never forget they’re here!
Feeling overwhelmed is a feeling that sometimes stays for longer than you anticipated. But that’s okay. Undoubtedly the young one needs full-time attention and care. But in the middle of caring for your little one, you cannot possibly forget about yourself!
Looking after your own health and wellness tends to get neglected with the baby taking up most of your waking hours. However, amid all the chaos with a newborn, you need to look after yourself. Remember, if you are healthy and well, you will be able to give your baby the 100% attention they need.
The little one is entirely dependent on you and that is why looking after yourself is crucial. Here are a few experiences that you need to brace for along with some simple ways to manage them all.
It’s okay not to feel okay
The ‘Post-partum baby blues’ or that sudden sad or depressed feeling is far more common than it is actually spoken about. You need to know that it is fine to feel that way. Pregnancy, childbirth and first-time motherhood is not easy!
It is okay to have some amount of sadness or depressed feeling. Understanding that things will get better and looking at the positives in life help. However, self-awareness is equally important. If the feeling of depression lasts longer, or if you develop feelings or impulses to self-harm or harm the baby, you need to address the issue and seek professional help for the same.
Boost your immunity
If you’re healthy and fine you will be able to look after your little one well. New mothers often neglect their own dietary needs and compromise with what they eat. Conversely, you need to stock your body with nutrient-dense foods that help improve your immunity, so you’re not falling sick often. Also, nutrient-dense meals help with breast milk production as well. You must include foods like dry fruits, dried berries or fresh berries. You must also ensure an intake of green leafy vegetables like palak, methi, or sprouts. You can also take in some proteins through chicken, fish or eggs. Vegetarian moms can get their nutrition from tofu or paneer.
New moms must try and stay away from highly processed meals, greasy foods or foods that have little or no nutritional value.
There are also some health supplements like health drinks that are made especially for new mothers that can go a long way in helping meet your nutritional requirements.
Take all the help you can!
‘It takes a village to raise a child’ was certainly not an understatement. New mothers often find themselves straining for rest, or making ends meet with the needs of newborns. It gets tougher when you are dealing with your own hormonal, physical and emotional changes.
Until you are more comfortable with the new addition and the new responsibilities in your household, ask for help. There is no shame in taking help when you need it the most. If you have friends or family around you can request their help.
Even if you are on your own, you can make chores easier by investing in baby care items that help you save time and effort. Simple items like diapers, baby wipes, and bottle sterilizers can go a long way in saving precious time and effort.
Opt for all options like a breast pump to safely collect and store breast milk, for whenever you have help to take over the baby’s duties, or if you have to step out.
Don’t fret about the baby’s weight
Your body has recently undergone a life-altering change. A new life has taken birth from you, and this changes your body in countless ways. Never ever be in a hurry to ‘lose the pregnancy weight’ or ‘get back into shape’.
As this will lead to increased stress and poor nutrition along with unnecessary hormonal and emotional troubles. While you can stay active and keep moving whenever possible, but involving in heavy exercises or reducing your calorie intake will cause more harm than good. This obviously does not mean you lie in bed all day long or eat all the junk you feel like. Eating well and getting enough rest is the need of the hour.
The hormone ‘Relaxin’ stays in your body till about 5 months after childbirth. It causes your muscles and bones to become more lax and open. And so trying any kind of heavyweight or strenuous exercise will not work well.
You need to give your body time to recover and heal well. The ‘pregnancy weight’ can be shed once you get used to dealing with the new changes in your life.
Sleep deprivation will happen
We know it’s impossible to actually ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ but grab some naps whenever you can. While the baby gets used to its schedule outside the womb, there will be times when sleep becomes a luxury. You will soon know that quick naps can be restful enough as well. You can get the father ‘on Daddy duty’ or request someone to look over your baby and get your much-needed rest.
Breastfeeding can be challenging
First-time mothers often find breastfeeding challenging for various reasons like the baby not learning to suck the nipple well, not enough breast milk, or chapped nipples.
Trying constantly often seems to be the simplest solution. Babies soon learn to hold onto the nipple and try sucking. Breast milk production is a natural reaction once the baby learns to suck on the nipple. You can also try breastfeeding supplements. For chapped nipples products like nipple butter can help.
Understandably, a first-time mother would feel intimidated by taking on so many changes and responsibilities. Be rest assured, as tough as it may seem, things get better with time. Enjoying and cherishing all phases of life is important!
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