Most moms make a special effort to take extra good care of themselves while pregnant. They try to eat more healthy, take prenatal vitamins and get enough exercise. But when the baby is born, their focus shifts to their newborn. Plus, if there are other siblings, mom will be putting their needs above her own as well. If mom doesn’t make MOM her number one priority, baby and the rest of the family may suffer. This issue covers the need of moms to take time for themselves, too.
Newborns are a lot of hard work. If a baby is born prematurely, they require even more attention and more frequent feeds. Mom’s amount of rest can be severely compromised with night time feedings and the additional demands on her time during the day. It’s very easy for a new mom to devote all of her attention to her baby and not get enough sleep or good nourishment in the process. If a mom isn’t eating and drinking well and not getting enough rest, it can have a very negative effect on her milk supply. It also puts moms at very high risk for getting postpartum depression.
So what is a new mom to do? First, she needs to refocus and understand she is her number one priority. It’s important for new moms to recruit help for themselves. Partners need to understand that newborns are exhausting and mom won’t have the energy to do everything she used to. They need to be emotionally supportive but also help more with laundry, cooking and cleaning. Moms may feel others won’t do things as well, but she needs to embrace help from others in order to help focus on herself. Moms also need to listen to their partners when they tell them to go to bed and get more rest.
Family and friends love to visit the new baby. This is fine as long as they bring food for meals, help with laundry or household chores. It isn’t helpful to just hold the baby, taking mom away from her nap time. Moms need to be proactive for themselves and either tell visitors they are too tired for company or come by to help out in some way. When friends and family call to help, mom is not allowed to say no. If she is doing okay today, she should ask to call back tomorrow or next week when she is needing more help. Turn phones off and put a note on her door saying “mom and baby are sleeping” to make sure she gets her afternoon nap. There is nothing more important than mom getting her nap!
It’s also helpful to have convenient, healthy foods on hand. There are times when moms are hungry but have no energy to cook. There are several healthy frozen meals to choose from which can be quickly microwaved. Peanut butter and jelly or wheat bread and deli meat plus a piece of fruit are easy and healthy. Protein drinks are convenient and better than skipping a meal. Dairy foods are a good source of protein and are also quick and easy: yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese or a chunk of cheese. Nuts are another quick source of protein. Protein and cereal bars fit nicely into purses or diaper bags for moms on the go.
Having grandma come and stay for a week is a huge help for new families. Grandmas can help with meals, laundry, entertaining the toddler and giving mom moral support. Moms often just need a reminder to go to bed and not worry about the daily details. It’s also helpful to have grandma’s support as an experienced mom to reassure new parents they are doing a good job with their new baby.
Making mom be her number one priority will help keep things running smoothly and easily. Even if a few things don’t get done, a happy, healthy mom makes everyone happy! Getting help from an experienced Lactation Consultant can also be a huge stress reliever and can help get breastfeeding off to a great start! Call today or email me to set up an appointment.
Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime with your concerns. I am here to assist you in any way I can.