Postpartum, escpecially for the first time mom, can be difficult. Your body is healing, in various ways. Where your once round bump was, is now squishy and different. You are leaking, in various ways. You are getting to know your baby and learning how to care for them. You are likely trying to do it all, all while sleep deprived.
It can be hard to slow down, even when others are telling you to. Everyone wants to come and meet your new baby! They are so excited for you and they want to share your joy. If I could go back, I would limit the amount of visits I had in the hospital with my first child. I was so excited to show off my little man! I was trying to heal from birth. I was EXHAUSTED from being up all day, laboring all night, then having visits the whole next day. All while learning how to care for my baby, breastfeed, track pee’s and poos, get sleep, eat well etc. I didn’t want to nursing in front of others at first, so trying to build our nursing relationship was hard. My son started to lose weight, and the pressure to supplement with formula came on hard and fast. I fought hard (all sleep deprived night long) to regain our breastfeeding relationship. Thankfully we did. I regretted having so many visitors. With my second child we limited visits and had a much easier and more enjoyable first few days.
So, my advice to you is WAIT. Wait until you get home to have the visits. Tell your well meaning friends and loved ones, “We would love a visit from you when we are settled in at home!”
1. Feed her and tell her she's pretty!
- If you are visiting someone who just had a baby you can't go wrong with bringing the new parents food. Who has time to grocery shop, meal plan, or cook postpartum? There are better things to do! Bring them something nutritious to eat. My favorite go to’s are these breakfast burritos.
Use whole wheat tortillas, eggs, veggies, a protein or two, cheese, and wrap them individually in press and seal. They can be frozen and reheated in just a few minutes. My hubby and I lived on these for the first few weeks after our first child.
I also love these blueberry avocado muffins from the Thriving Home Blog! They are sweet and healthy. Bringing food will buy you the visit you want. For great food tips and tricks make sure to follow my friend and fellow mommy Lisa at her site Four More Bites.
2. Stay in your robe!
- Keep your robe on and do as much skin to skin as possible with your new babe. This stirs up that amazing love hormone, oxytocin. It helps you and baby bond and helps you establish your breastfeeding relationship. It makes nursing easy, just wear a nursing bra and stretchy tank underneath. (My favorite are Bravado silk nursing bras and Kohls Sonoma tanks - I seriously probably will wear both forever.) This makes it easy for guests to also see you are not going to be hostess and lets them know to keep their visits brief.
3. Dad protect the environment!
- When that well meaning person comes and overstays their welcome it is dad’s job to politely invite them to leave. This is not the time to be hostess of the year. If you are the guest, know that a brief visit is best. If you are welcome longer you will be invited to stay. When you do visit, offer to do a chore for the family, and let mom and baby relax. Maybe offer to snuggle baby and let mom take a shower or a nap but don’t baby a baby hog and steal all the snuggles! Don’t ask to hold the baby unless offered. Oh, and wash your hands!
4. Learn to relax
- Do not over do it in the first few weeks postpartum. There has been an enormous amount of change in your body physically and emotionally. Allow yourself the time you need to heal fully. (Repeat after me: I will not go to Target to get all the things. I will not go to Target to get all the things... not speaking from experience or anything... but if you do baby wear.)
Your body will tell you if you need to slow down. Often times you can tell in your postpartum lochia, or discharge. It will likely increase in amount and color if you are overdoing it.
The hormone fluctuation postpartum is huge. Your body is going from pregnant to not, and initiating lactation. This can really throw your body for a loop. Know what is normal and not. Many women will go through what is called baby blues. These are often mild and don’t last longer than a week or two. If you are noticing your mood is down and you’re struggling with energy, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, or sleep make sure you talk with your care provider. Family is often the first to notice the change, be aware and speak up if your loved one seems off. Postpartum mood disorders are serious and need to be cared for and treated.
5. Give yourself grace!
- Enjoy this amazing time in your life. Take pictures and journal all of your baby's firsts. Enjoy the love and support you are getting. This time goes so fast! Give yourself grace and love.
Learning your baby’s cues comes with time. Confidence is built from experience. You will learn how to be an amazing parent to your little one! My best advice is to relax and trust your intuition! Oh, and once your think you have your child all figured out... they change!
Paige Goldade - A Birth Boot Camp Instructor living and loving in South Dakota. She is a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers. She works as a childbirth educator and Board Certified Registered Nurse.