5 ways to manage the first weeks

Sleep deprivation post pregnancy

In the first few weeks after birth, your baby can sleep for up to 18 hours over a 24 hour period, but unfortunately for you your baby is unlikely to sleep in 8 hour stints like you do. Newborn babies generally sleep for no more than three or four hours at a time, day or night. To minimise sleep deprivation on your part, try resting when your baby sleeps. Whether it’s morning, noon or evening, resting will naturally revitalise your body, and avoid irritation and lack of motivation. So get your head down and enjoy the time when your newborn is awake with a happy get-up-and-go attitude. If your baby is still having problems sleeping at 6-8 weeks why not sign up to a baby massage class? This can help your baby to become calmer and more peaceful at bedtime.

Body changes post pregnancy

As a new parent, don’t expect to master everything first time; from changing a nappy to juggling house chores. Change can be tough, and your first week with a newborn will bring completely new experiences, not just mentally but physically as well. If you’re new to motherhood you will have to learn to adapt to changes in your body. Your breast milk will become available soon after the birth; if you have decided to breastfeed you will notice your breasts can become very tender and may enlarge as the milk continues to produce. You can ease this tension by expressing the milk into bottles – not only does this decrease the pressure and pain you felt in your breasts but now your partner can also help with night feeds –and they thought they could escape easily!

Emotions post pregnancy

It is normal to experience a spectrum of emotions after having a baby as it takes your hormones on a rollercoaster ride. One minute you’re happy and the next you’re crying for no reason. This is completely normal, and is often heightened by lack of sleep. But there are steps you can take to help enhance your mood. Why not get yourself outside in the sunlight for a nice walk in the park? Even just sitting outside can help clear your head and relax you. Our food also plays an important part in how we feel; by eating well with foods such as lentils, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, your unsettled feelings can be reduced and your energy boosted. Steer clear of caffeine, too much sugar, or alcohol, as these can sometimes affect our mood for the worse.

Isolation post pregnancy

Parents on maternity or paternity leave can be left feeling isolated after the first few weeks of caring for their newborn and can sometimes feel lonely. While everyone else is at work throughout the day, consider joining parenting forums online to share your experiences – more often than not, there is someone else going through the same thing, which can translate to a big cyber hug! There are also many mother and baby classes you can sign up to, including music and exercise classes. Babies benefit from soothing music, expressive play and interacting with other babies to help their development both physically and mentally. These classes will not only inject your day with some much needed adult conversation, it will also give you and your baby a fresh change of scenery, and is a great way to get your baby to interact with others from an early age.

Visitors post pregnancy

You’ve just had a baby so it is inevitable that every family member will want their turn to cuddle your bundle of joy, immediately turning evenings and weekends into a baby pass the parcel event. Even though you might resent the idea of having people in your home right now, as your housework mounts and your head aches, take advantage of these situations. Use the time to have a quick shower, put an essential wash load on or have a power nap for 10 minutes – with little time to yourself right now even a short break is greatly appreciated, and your loved ones will be more than happy to support you. Remember that those who matter will not expect silver service – you’ve just had a baby! So don’t fret if you’ve run out of coffee and cakes and enjoy their company instead.

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