~Be patient with yourself and your husband. This is a wonderful and very challenging time. There is a lot of stress, a learning curve, lack of sleep, and a baby does need a lot of attention. Add to that the hormonal changes a woman experiences after giving birth! Things will get easier, and children have the potential to make a couple stronger.
~Leave past problems where they belong. Ask for what you need/want.
Many new mothers want to feel they are in a partnership; they are in this together. They want dads to help without asking. Mothers also really want someone to listen to them, without trying to fix things.
New fathers often want space to do things their own way. Different ways of interacting with baby actually helps baby’s brain, and gives you more skills to draw from. Babies unquestionably benefit from having one-on-one time with each parent. Choose what baby chores you are both responsible for, your “domain”- the other can’t oversee, comment or criticize.
Dads also really want sex! He still desires you. For many moms this is at the bottom of their priority list. It helps to find a happy medium.
Moms can remind themselves that getting enough rest, baby care breaks, and exercise all help her self-confidence and decreases her stress. This may allow her to feel like herself again; taking care of herself she really can better take care of others. Dads can help by sharing the parenting responsibilities and perhaps hiring out some of the house work, grocery shop and prepare healthy meals, do little things to show appreciation and love (a love letter/hidden notes, flowers, an unexpected present), and encourage Mom to take care of herself.
~Focus on positives and show appreciation. New moms really need praise and notice. Dads may not understand just how time consuming breastfeeding can be, or that a baby needs attention every 20seconds! They may think it looks relaxing to sit on the couch all day, without realizing how lonely and intellectually numbing it can be. Dads need to be noticed and appreciated for going to work; they feel
~Make time for each other- connect on a personal level. Don’t talk about baby. You are taking care of your baby by taking care of your marriage.
~Develop a support network. This is the time to receive help not give it. Find other new mom friends.
Ask family for what you need; involve them in ways that supports your marriage. Develop healthy boundaries such as: your new family comes first, respect your spouse and do not criticize (and require the same from your family), support each others' parenting choices over keeping peace (unasked for advice/out of date opinions can be dealt with by saying “My doctor says” or “You did what you thought best, I am doing what I think is best” or “This works for us”.) If problems arise on your side of the family, you should be the one to talk to them.
BabyProofing Your Marriage by Cockrell, O’Neill and Julia Stone,
and Baby Makes Three by Gottman
If you weren't active during your pregnancy, or tapered off your fitness routine as the weeks went on, start slow and check with your doctor or midwife before you begin exercising. Exercise is good for you, but keep in mind that your joints and ligaments will still be loose for about three to five months, so don’t push yourself to hard. Your body needs time to heal, and you need time to adjust to your new role and to care for and bond with your baby.
For many new moms, exercise takes a back seat to other concerns — sleep, for instance. But you'll find you have more energy for yourself and your baby if you make time for even short bursts of exercise. Ten minutes here and there is better than nothing, and it'll do you good. Being active helps raise metabolism, shed extra weight, provide much-needed energy and helps reduce stress and tension. The key is finding an activity that you enjoy and that works with your schedule and lifestyle.
Some ideas to try…
Go for a daily walk with your baby in a sling or stroller. This can be nice to do alone or with a friend.
Check out local health clubs. Many offer postpartum exercise classes suitable for new moms — as well as day care and even classes you can take with your baby.
Swimming is a great postpartum exercise! It is gentle on your body but involves all of your muscles.
Yoga has some gentle poses can be a great way to get your blood flowing while reducing stress. It can be done at home following a video or just looking the poses up on line. There are also some great postpartum yoga groups, many you can even take your baby with you!
Kegel exercises can help strengthen weak pelvic muscles, which can cause bladder control issues, which are common in women postpartum. Exercising with a ball can be a fun way to approach fitness at home.
The important thing to remember is to be gentle with yourself and follow any doctor's orders. Make sure you're eating a healthy diet, particularly if you're breastfeeding (which may require up to 500 extra calories a day). Stay well-hydrated and don't give up. Fitting in exercise may be hit or miss as you adjust to your new life and baby. So do the best you can and focus your energy on taking care of yourself and your baby.
rules to remember….
o Baby should be close enough to kiss.
o Baby should never have his chin resting on his chest.
o Baby's head should be above the rest of his body.
o Baby's face shouldn't be covered by fabric.
o Baby's head should be supported.
o Baby should be held in a natural position, as you would hold
him in your arms.
• Benefits to baby wearing…
o It puts baby where she wants to be, next to your heart.
o You can see baby and she can see you.
o Baby is not at cigarette-‐level (as she would be in a stroller).
o Slings are easier on your back than carrying a car seat.
o With practice, you can learn to nurse your baby in a sling.
o Slings can be shoved into a bag/purse when not being used.
• A few good websites on baby wearing…
o http://babywearinginternational.org/pages/safety.phpo http://thebabywearer.com/o http://www.attachmentparenting.org/parentingtopics/babywearing.php
In Austin, we are lucky enough to have the Austin Baby Wearing Group. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/austinbabywearers/
It looks like they normally meet at Cherrywood Coffeehouse at 10:30 a.m. on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
There has been a lot of talk about the risk associated with baby wearing. Here are some of the big ones...
Some places to find slings on-line...
Olives & Applesauce: http://olivesandapplesauce.com/
Bali Baby Breeze: http://www.wrapsodybaby.com/shop/breeze.php
Baby K'tan: http://www.babyktan.com/
Mei Tai: http://www.meitaibaby.com/
Angel Pack: http://www.angelpack.com/index.php
The following is a story that has moved through many e-mail boxes in the last few years. A doula friend of mine pointed out that it can be used to remind new moms how to take care of themselves (more on that after the story)
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed..
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else---the small stuff.
'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.
Visit with grandparents.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.
Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.
Set your priorities.
The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.
The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.
So, how is your “jar” filled?
Top 5 self care items for new moms
1. Sleep- opportunity to nap, rest
2. Nutrition- the car won't go without gas!
3. Companionship (besides the baby)friends,family, relationship
4. Exercise/recreation- releases endorphins, helps moms lose weight, helps self esteem
5. Selfish pleasures-- mani/pedi, massage, alone time, a bubble bath,free time to do hobby or read, time with girlfriends, a "night out" with spouse, etc.
start with the basics…
is baby hungry? Does he need to burp?
Does the diaper need to be changes?
hold baby and bounce as you walk
put baby into a swing
cradle baby in your arms facing out, and jiggle
white noise can be soothing to baby
turn on the vacuum cleaner
use a white noise machine
make shushing noise into your baby’s ear
try getting skin to skin under the covers
put baby into a sling and wear him
could baby be gassy?
Lay him across your knees on his tummy and rub his back and you softly bounce your legs
Use baby gas drops
bicycle his legs while he lies on his back
Go outside… A change of scenery can be distracting enough to calm your newborn's cries.
Give baby a massage…Some babies find stroking soothing.
Check the temperature in your house… Baby could be too hot or too cold.
Check baby's clothes… Hot, tight, or confining clothes can cause fussiness