You’re home with the new bundle of joy! This wonderful addition to your home and life means the world to you, and you should be jumping with excitement. So why don’t you feel terrific all of the time?
When you think of stress what first come to mind? Bad jobs, poor relationships etc., right? You’re correct, these areas cause stress, but did you know that even the so-called happiest times in your life can bring on stressful feelings? Yes, even the arrival of your new baby is a stressful event. No kidding, you’re saying. As soon as the baby is born your family and friends flood you with visits and want to get their hands on the baby. Combine that with the fact that hospitals aren’t always the best sources of information when it comes to what to do next as a new mom. They send you home with a smile and a ‘sign here’ and somewhere in your cloudy mommy brain you hope you can actually do ‘this.’
One of the major sources of new mommy stress is the extreme lack of sleep. Every new parent soon realizes that newborns don’t sleep much. At least not long enough to allow you to get some much needed rest. Add to that the hormonal changes in your own body, and you have a formula that’s guaranteed to be stressful. Sometimes you think you’ll never get a full night’s sleep again. And until the baby settles into a routine, you probably won’t.
To get through those first few months, here are some suggestions to help you get as much sleep as the baby will allow:
First of all, don’t try to be ‘Wonder-Mommy.’ When the baby goes down for a nap, lie down and take a small nap yourself. The housework that you think is calling your name will just have to wait until you’ve taken care of your needs. You don’t need to have a perfect house. There will be time for all that; give yourself a break whenever you get the opportunity.
Take your family and friends up on their offers of helping out with the baby. Now is not the time for an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude; you’ll only show them how quickly you can lose your mind from lack of sleep. If you have a willing mom or in law to help out, by all means take advantage of that for an afternoon.
When you put the baby to bed for the night, take some time to wind down and relax so you have a better chance of falling asleep. Take a bath scented with lavender; put on some soft music and pamper yourself a little. There’s probably some wonderful spa product that you received at your baby shower that would be great for relaxing in a hot bubbly tub. Don’t forget to include the new Daddy in the relaxation; new babies are often hard on them too.
There’s a lot to get used to with a newborn in your life, but with time and attention to your own needs and help from loved ones, you can get through the first difficult months with ease.
Sherry Frewerd publishes several websites and blogs. Visit www.familyplayandlearn.com for activities and ideas for toddlers and preschoolers.
Author: Sherry Frewerd
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