There are books and blogs first time mama can read. But nothing is better than first hand experience. know that you have experience child birth, what would you do differently? Any advice on this is really appreciated. I found myself in this big black hole and are very uncertain on what will happen. I know the pain part of the labor, I know the non-sleeping part. But what else? And any tips that will make things easier will be great as well.
Mamas-- What advice would you give to a first time mama for labor and the first few weeks?
Seriously, no matter how great you feel after delivery (and I've had a couple where I've felt fabulous), don't do anything! Stay in bed, on the couch, cuddle with your baby, have everything brought to you, and just enjoy!
With each of my first 3, I jumped right back into regular life. Exhaustion eventually caught back up with me, and I wound up feeling like I missed out on special quiet time.
With my 4th, I don't think I even left the house for nearly a month, and I spent much of the first week or two in bed. It was heaven, and I was then ready to jump back into a routine without any repercussions. I didn't even mind (too much) putting the house back together after the kids had destroyed it in that time, lol.
Oh couldn't NOT respond
I'm going to agree with rest. Rest now, make sure you eat even if you don't feel hungry, and try to sleep when babe sleeps. I stunk at this part, because when my babes were sleeping, I wanted to read/catch up on blogs/do whatever! But at least one nap, or one large chunk make sure you sleep!
Stock up on movies. The best for when you are nursing. I made a "nursing station" with drinks, books, the remote, breast pads, cream, a change of clothes for babe and diapers and I never left.
Take a shower every single day, it'll do wonders
Ask for help! MILK IT.
: ) Good luck!
for labor: hypnobabies at home kit worked WONDERS for me. i had a drug free birth in 11 hours and spent most of it lying in bed focusing and really not in much pain. just try and avoid interruptions b/c thats what threw me off...
for newborn: invest in a good wrap. all other carries were inferior to a nice cozy wrap. its the best way to get full skin to skin contact and it made my life sooooooooo much easier. i like the moby, if its warmer weather just make you're own out of cotton gauze. www.wearyourbaby.com will teach you how to do everything with it. i found it easier to set it up without the baby and then just put her in it.
make sure you go outside everyday!
-Regarding labor have a well thought out birth plan printed up, share it with your doctor/midwife, Labor and Delivery ward staff, as well as Pediatrician, well ahead of time (if you are going that birth route).
-If baby sleeps better in bed with you, then do it. That was my biggest regret, that I didn't have baby in my bed from the first night home. My first two months could have been completely different. He was next to us in a co-sleeper but that just wasn't close enough for him (for some babies it is). He was a different baby from the first night he fully slept in our bed, the day that followed he napped better than he ever had too. Actually let me rephrase...... if there is something you feel would be best for your baby, don't let anyone talk you out of it, whatever it is. I regret terribly not following my instincts and instead listening to someone else (let this pertain to anything).
Best wishes on a wonderful birth and a healthy baby.
I agree with everyone else for the first couple weeks. Rest up, let other people help you and most importantly nap when baby does. Even if you feel great and want to get stuff done, don't. It'll all be there when you're healed up. Some of my fondest memories were just napping/nursing/holding with my first baby so much those first several weeks. I haven't been able to pamper myself like that since.
Labor: take each contraction 1 at a time. Don't think about the next one or how much longer you have left. Just ride out the contraction and rest inbetween. If your in alot of pain, don't be afraid to move into different positions to find something that eases it. Do what you need to do.
For the labor - don't fear it. This isn't something happening to you, it's not some external force, it's not something wrong. It's YOUR body doing exactly what it was designed to do. As the pain and intensity increases, allow your empowerment to increase also. Feel like super woman. Make the noises you want and feel in control. Remind yourself that you're doing awesome, just as your body is made to do, and that it won't last forever. Each contraction brings you closer to being done, and closer to having your sweet baby in your arms and being a Mommy! It's hard, but it's awesome.
For parenthood - follow your instincts. You can read all the books in the world but at the end of the day, Mommy knows best. Spend time with your baby and go within yourself, deep down you know what baby needs. Don't overthink it. Just be. Don't put pressure on yourself to measure up to this standard or that advice, just trust your gut and you'll do fine.
Also, savor it. It's all over so fast. You blink and then they're 8 and fighting with you about how they don't want to clean their room or go with you to the grocery store :)
try not to clench up with the uterine surges during labor. it was my first inclination to do so, but it just makes things worse. i'm really working on the opening/relaxing breaths from hypno-birthing this time around.
rest. whenever possible. let others do for you as much as possible.
make some food for you freezer while you have some time for after baby's birth.
i had not bought enough pads for post partum bleeding and i sent my husband out to buy some. he came home with depends incontinence pads. it was hilarious. in my case, i needed to be more prepared with that kind of stuff as my dh had no idea what he was buying.
I've bought some depends and they're sitting in my birth room :) I figured I don't want to ruin my underwear in that first day or two when I bleed like mad. Hopefully I won't feel like a baby in diapers..I've never worn them before, I used to use disposable briefs in the UK after birth, they were much more classy and less diapery...I couldn't find any here though.
I had to giggle at what the guy at the checkout must have thought to see me buying depends, towels, sheets and washcloths.
Like other people have said:
Do what feels right - you will not believe the unsolicited advice you will get...I doubted myself a lot because everyone told me it should be this way or that way. Trust your gut, do what feels right and don't doubt your instincts. If I had a dime for every one who told me my baby should be sleeping through the night at 3-4 months and I should just let her cry...ugh! It starts from day one and from strangers too!
And don't worry about not getting anything done. I feel into that trap and now I hear all new mothers (well not all, but most) say "my baby just wants me to hold them and I can't get anything done" Life is short, and getting stuff done is not important, but holding your child is. It amazes me how many mothers put "getting stuff done" before holding a 4 week old baby. It doesn't take long before they want nothing to do with you, so treasure it!
And if you feel like your baby blues won't go away...talk to someone about it. It took my about 4-5 months to admit I had PPD, and I feel like I lost a lot of time trying to do everything and make everything perfect instead of concentrating on the fact I had a colicky baby and I just couldn't do it all. I think lack of sleep and having certain expectations kind of contribute to it, too.
Get a dry erase board for you front door. Post when visiting hours are.
Turn off the ringer on your phone and the volume and your answering machine
Disconnect your doorbell
Invest in low dollar grocery gift cards.
When you needs a few things post a list on the dry erase board and tape a gift card.
Get a cooler to put outside your front door. Friends can put your groceries in it. They can also drop off meals in it.
Buy laundry bags and small disposable containers to put 1 load worth of your laundry detergent in. Put out loads of laundry w/ detergent.
Post a calendar showing when you have meals coming and when you don't. Anyone can stop by see what is needed and add their name in an empty spot.
If you're really bold you can open your house to "helpers only" for a period of time. (ie: on the dry erase board write visiting hours Tuesday 2-4, helpers only may come at 1).
helper- anyone who is willing to do what needs to be done. When they get there have a list (floors, bathrooms, collect trash, dust, clean kitchen, package leftovers in individual portions to freeze), encourage everyone not to ask questions just to do their personal best. Be grateful!
DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! I gave my cousin this advice and her friends wrote ME thank you notes because they loved that they knew how to support her. Seriously, DO IT.
I agree with everyone about the labor part...
1. Space out your visitors. Everyone is so excited to see the new baby but it seriously can take a toll on you-trying to recover and trying to entertain. I was exhausted the first few days and that when mostly everyone came.
2. Have your mom or someone close to you stay with you or come over the first few days and play "nurse". I had a homebirth and my mom stayed with us for a week. It was awesome. I literally stayed in bed for the first week and my mom (and husband) took care of me. My mom really helped me getting to the bathroom and all the bodily stuff.
3. Have some meals prepared and freeze them
4. If you're nursing---don't let it stress you out. I stressed myself out with the pumping, etc because I had to go back to work and wanted to store up a bunch of milk. I also got a little crazy about my baby not sleeping well at 13 weeks when I went back to work. I tried to "schedule" him but he was not having it. He didn't end up sleeping through the night consistently until 8 months old...so don't cause yourself extra stress for nothing! :)
5. Lastly, call someone if you ever feel like your sad (baby blues) or crazy (newborn won't stop crying at 1 am and you feel you cold lose it)
Best wishes to you!! I hope that helps a little bit! :)
One thing to add: Stock up on some food you can eat with one hand: Granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, yogurt smoothies, squeeze packets of almond butter, etc. This is to keep you fed when you are by yourself. Put some within easy reach of your preferred nursing spot, along with a big water bottle.
Actually, the more I think about it the more I do want to add. First off, I want to reiterate what another mama said - if you feel like you're spiraling and can't get out of the 'funk' weeks after birth - talk to someone. I put it off FAR too long with both my last kiddos and should have just admitted I had PPD and needed help.
Secondly, if you're a 'natural' minded person in that you don't use paper plates/paper towels, etc., give it up for a while. Seriously. I KILLED myself trying to keep up with dishes and such when I should have just used a darn paper plate! This wasn't so bad with the first baby, but once I had a toddler to take care of too, the dishes seemed endless! This time I already have a pack of paper plates from Sam's and fully intend to use them!