Surviving the First Six Weeks of Motherhood

The early days with a newborn can be a blur! Between round the clock feedings and diaper changes, sleepless nights, and feeling overwhelmed, it can be a huge adjustment. Here are some tips for surviving (and thriving!) through those first weeks of parenthood:

Rest

I know it sounds cliché to say “sleep when the baby sleeps” – but it really is true to some degree. Take advantage of those times when baby is napping to try and catch a few Z’s yourself. If you're like me, and have a hard time napping during the day, take that time to take a warm shower, rest on the couch with a book or magazine, or watch a favorite TV show with your spouse. Fight the urge to tackle chores or laundry. They will still be there in a couple of hours, trust me.

Focus on Enjoying Each Milestone

You've waited 9 months for this little miracle to arrive – soak it up! The newborn days will fly by, and you'll be surprised at how quickly your baby changes. Take a photo every day and watch him grow! Take photos and videos of that first bath, that first smile, the first time meeting special friends and relatives.  Perhaps you could even do a newborn photo session with your baby (either in a studio or at home) to capture all those little features.

Let Others Helpnewborn mom

One of the biggest blessings for us after the birth of each of my children was having meals brought in for a couple of weeks by friends and family. It was one less thing to have to worry about, while juggling everything else that comes along with having a newborn. It was such a help to have my mom, my sister in law, and then my mother in law give up a week to come stay with us, so we had one week of live-in help each time we had a newborn. That gift was priceless!! If friends or family ask what they can do to help – be specific with what you need, and don't be afraid to take them up on their offer!

Remember Recovery is Not a Race!

While childbirth is a natural process, it's also a hard on your body! It can take up to 6 months for all parts of the body to completely recover from childbirth, so don't push yourself to do too much too soon. Don't fault yourself if you haven't lost all the baby weight in a month (like all the celebrities seem to do), or if you still haven't gotten out of your maternity clothes yet. Let your body (and your doctor) be your guide – you'll know if you have done too much – you'll feel it the next day!

Those sweet snuggly newborn weeks are such a special time. It's the “getting to know you” phase of parenthood, and goes by all too fast. Before you know it you'll be planning that first birthday party, and looking back on newborn pictures and wondering where the time went.

1 COMMENT

  1. I remember telling someone, the first day home with my baby I was able to brush my teeth; the second day I brushed my teeth and my hair, (not with the same brush) third day I actually washed my face and so on. Sleep deprivation is torture.
    Here are a couple of tips: most of us breastfeed..and I was afraid that if I missed one feeding and gave my son a bottle, my baby would have the dreaded “nipple confusion”. Don’t worry about that. When my friend had her baby I convinced her to let me stay one night and get up to feed her newborn. Her husband was out of town a lot and like me, she did not have family support around. Once you get a decent night’s sleep, your milk comes in better and your mood is better. It worked for her.
    This next tip is from my Aunt, who raised 6 children: the monitors sometimes can cause us to disrupt baby’s sleep. She said newborns tend to stir in the night and anxious parents hear that, go into the room and actually disrupt baby’s sleep patterns.
    She told me that I needed to be far enough from baby so that I didn’t react to each slight movement; but close enough to hear if something truly were wrong. It worked. My son slept through the night @ 8 weeks old.
    Finally, to those mothers like me, who were not enthralled with motherhood at first: it’s normal. We buy into the movie version of motherhood where the first glance at our child makes us swell with love. It didn’t happen that way for me. I had a difficult delivery and was just about able to care for myself, let alone a baby. In fact, my doctor called to check on me and I asked him what the return policy was! Once I was able to get some sleep and a semblance of normalcy, everything was fine. Take any help you can get.