Eight Ways to Reduce Stress for New Mums
One minute you’re pregnant, and the next minute, you’re supposedly an expert on babycare. It’s a pretty steep learning curve for any new mum! And while your every waking moment may be filled with the wonder and joy of your precious baby, it’s easy to overlook taking care of yourself. Here are eight ways that new mums can relieve pressure on the task of being a new mum .
Not taking time out to heal. There’s no denying that new babies are demanding. And with so much of your focus on your tiny, helpless newborn, it’s easy to forget that you’re also recovering from childbirth. If you experienced any tearing or had a C-section, you’re going to need a little more time to recuperate before you bounce back. So enlist some help from your partner, a family member, or a friend and ensure you get plenty of rest, water, and nutritious food.
Having too much time home alone with your baby. At times it may feel like too much of a struggle dressing yourself, organising and packing a baby bag, and getting out of the house for a bit. But staying home on your own all day can leave you feeling isolated and alone, battling crazy hormones. Even if it’s a walk to the park, a little exercise boosts positivity and lowers depression.
Fretting over your birth plan. So your baby’s birth didn’t exactly go according to your plan, eh? The important thing to focus on is that you and your baby made it through childbirth, a tremendous achievement in itself. If you had to change your plans midway through the birth, it’s time to let go of the anxiety and just enjoy your baby. If you’re having a hard time letting go of your negative feelings about your childbirth experience, talk to your midwife, LMC, Plunket nurse, or GP as you may be at risk of suffering from postnatal depression (PND).
Not seeking help with breastfeeding. The experience of breastfeeding is beautiful and enjoyable – but for many other women, it’s a lot harder than expected and may even be just plain impossible for some. If you are having any feeding issues, get help right away from a trained Breastfeeding Peer Counsellor, Lactation Consultant, your midwife or doctor, or an experienced friend or relative. Yes, breastfeeding is natural – but it is also something that both mother and baby need to learn and practice, and if you’re frustrated, things hurt, or you feel like your baby isn’t thriving, you need to talk to a professional early on.
Stressing over every little thing. It’s true, new mums worry excessively over every little thing, often to the point of obsessing. And while there are legitimate concerns, particularly when it comes to health, worrying about the little things simply serves no purpose. Talk to your LMC, Plunket nurse, or GP about any health concerns you may have, and try to get off the worry train.
Not accepting offers of help. Looking after a tiny baby is exhausting work, and combined with lack of sleep, eventually takes its toll on both Mum and Dad. So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it; even letting someone else watch your baby for an hour or two allows you to get out and have your hair done, do the shopping, or just take a nap.
Listening to every piece of advice you’re given. (with the exception of this blog post) You may have noticed that everyone has an opinion, particularly when it comes to babies. Keep in mind that if it doesn’t feel right to you, you can probably ignore it – even if it’s well-meant. Whether you cause offence or not, you’re the mum, and you know best for your own baby, so trust your instincts. And remember to ask the right people for advice.
Comparing your baby to others. All babies tackle their milestones at their own pace, and as long as your Plunket/ WellChild nurse is pleased with baby’s progress, it’s not worth sweating over. Try not to focus too much on parents who constantly flaunt their baby’s accomplishments or place too much emphasis on following developmental charts, as these allow for variations in stages of development.