If you are reading this, I’d be correct in assuming you are pregnant, planning to have a baby or you recently put to bed. You may be worried about caring for your baby and you need advice about what comes next.
Firstly, big congratulations to you on a successful delivery, the hardest part is over and what you should do now is calm down, love and care for your new baby as the baby needs you now.
Secondly, you should know that no mother is ever completely prepared for the care of their child, no matter what you buy and what you do, there’s still so much more you will always find to do.
But remember, you got this! Believe in your instincts, listen to expert advice and let people you trust support or help you. However, to get you started on this exciting stage of your life, here are 5 do’s and Don’ts every new mother should be aware of:
Good news is always preferable so let’s get started with the dos.
1. Value your time with the child
These are moments you can’t get back, so it is important to cherish them and if possible be there to celebrate these little events or milestones for you and your baby. Take important pictures to help you remember your time with your kid. Sing lullabies and remember to use the same songs so the baby can associate those tunes with sleeping and try to remember let the baby sleep. Don’t worry about waking him up to eat when he’s sleeping, let him wake up. Pamper your baby and don’t worry about over pampering them, babies are not capable of emotional manipulation till about 10 months old anyway.
2. Make out time to take care of yourself
I know you are worried by every little thing happening to your baby right now, but ask yourself “Is this all I’m going to do for the rest of my life?” Taking care of your baby and you should be part of the same package, it shouldn’t be separate.
It’s true you’ll have less time for makeup and a few other normal routines, but we could start with the basics till you learn to adjust or fit things in properly.
So while it seems impossible, remember to rest, sleep, and shower (being clean is also one way to protect your new baby anyway), feed yourself, wash your hair when possible and very possible find time to exercise (even if it’s just taking walks). Besides helping you burn calories and postpartum fat, exercise makes you relax by releasing feel-good hormones which directly improves your mood and keeps you light-hearted.
Use athletic tapes to help with painful joints, improve your posture and tuck your stomach bulge. KTs are one of the best because they move with your skin and are not abrasive. So, please take care of yourself darling, you are too important to the baby to breakdown.
3. Accept help from friends
It’s very clear that unless you are the most inaccessible hermit, people will eventually hear about the birth of your baby and like most exciting news, you’ll get visitors who want to see your baby and offer help or gifts. Firstly, I know immediately after the birth of the baby, you may feel self-conscious, do not put yourself under too much pressure; limit visits until you are comfortable with them.
Secondly, no one is an island, you can’t do everything by yourself, your friends or loved ones really want to help and will ask if you need anything. This isn’t the time to be a boss so please let them help you; little things like bringing meals, grocery shopping, babysitting or helping you do the dishes. The littlest of gestures would go a long way to freeing you with time to rest, sleep and meet your baby’s basic needs.
4. Reach out to forums and other mothers for advice
While there’s wrong information, there’s nothing like too much information so ask your doctor for dieting and wellness tips for your baby. You can also check the hospital websites for forums of other new mothers because there’s truly nothing better than knowing you are not alone with your worries. Remember while you are all there to encourage each other, no one is an expert.
Also, remember despite the ads, nursing your baby doesn’t just come naturally; it may start feeling natural after a few weeks or even a month so please don’t stress.
This is new for you and the baby. It requires a lot of practice and you will have to help your baby get used to this new feeding method. If you’re always strained and discomfited after a month, you can consider using a bottle to feed the baby. There’s really no harm done as long as you’re feeding your baby.
5. Recognize the signs of Depression
I know having to hear other mothers describe caring for their babies as the most magical moments of their lives might make you feel inadequate, but you have to believe me that every new mother struggles to an extent and you are no different.
Those who are having harder times with their babies may not be as outspoken as these “Instagram glam” mothers so take note and don’t be overwhelmed. Get as much support as you can for you and your kid, after all, raising a kid isn’t a competition, it’s a team effort.
Studies show that 40-65 per cent of new mothers experience some form of postpartum depression or “baby blues” influenced by a lot of factors especially, their perceived inadequacies, their weight and general stress.
This shows that this is actually a norm and can even set in 6 months to a year after giving birth so please do not panic, learn to talk about your fears in forums, to your family and you’ll realize you are completely normal. However, if you still feel overwhelmed by stress after a while and you are not improving after several attempts at calming yourself, seek professional help.
Let’s get started with 5 don’ts really quick:
1. Avoid exaggerating your baby’s condition
Now, there’s medical precedence for the overly emotional response of moms to their kids; after pregnancy, there’s a higher amount of “oxytocin” in the bloodstream. This heightens a mother’s response when she sees her child’s distress. However, be aware that this also means that sometimes your mind plays tricks on you. This is important because a lot of mothers end up taking their babies to the hospital about 3 times per month for the first 3 months over nothing. For instance, newborn babies cry a lot; this does not necessarily mean they are sick. However, when all attempts to calm the baby becomes futile, it is definitely a red flag.
Remember when I said trust your instincts? I didn’t mean trust your fears. New parents tend to get scared even over new facial expressions they do not recognize.
Here are two more instances that you should consider. One, do not confuse a baby’s spit-up with vomit; Vomiting occurs more frequently, about 30-50 minutes intervals regardless of whether you fed the baby or not if there is a gastrointestinal condition. Two, don’t sweat yourself thinking your baby has a fever if they feel warm. Be aware that rectal temperatures below 38 are not emergencies. For temperatures above that, contact your physician.
2. Don’t be hard on yourself
Mothers live under a lot of pressure and worries. To be honest, side talk contributes a lot. People ask stupid questions like why the baby is crying or comment uselessly making you feel like you’re not a good mother.
Listening to them would only limit your confidence in yourself because, to be honest, very few people can do better for your baby than you are currently doing. No one loves your baby as you do. Do like the Taylor Swift song and shake the side talk off.
As long as you are doing your best to provide a loving and safe environment for your baby, you are doing great. Accept the fact that babies cry and it’s not always on you or a ranking of your parent skills, it’s sometimes their only means of expressing themselves (so do not fret). However, if crying continues nonstop for more than 30 minutes despite your attention and feeding your baby, it might be a sign that something might be wrong with the baby.
3. Don’t stress about being perfect
Remember, letting the pressure get to you is detrimental to you and consequently, your baby. Take care of yourself and be very aware there’s no specific time for doing anything really (except maybe vaccinations changing dirty diapers), trying to be the perfect mom would really leave you frazzled and unable to achieve little, be as good as you can, life is very uncertain and changes often, so you really can do everything you intended doing.
Set schedules and get help with things like cleaning and cooking if you can. Your baby needs some alone time too. You must not spend all your time rocking and singing to your baby. If you forget to do anything, if there’s still time to do it, then do it. That doesn’t make things worse.
4. Don’t “hate” your partner
While I realize hate sounds like a strong word, there are negative feelings that could arise due to internal emotional conflicts and hormonal changes of childbearing. Most new mothers have strong feelings of antipathy towards their partners and have to suppress the constant negative thoughts that come to mind during this period.
If you have complaints, discuss calmly with your partner. That is more effective than just harboring the negative thoughts.
It’s widely assumed that mothers are usually more emotional than others. But do not assume that you feel more pressure than your partner does. Your partner also feels a kind of pressure or anxiety about the challenges of a family.
5. Don’t feel bad about your body
You’re still yourself, a lot of hormonal and physical changes happen to the female body during pregnancy. Remember it took 9 months to get this way, it won’t disappear overnight, and after all, only about 5-10 per cent of moms lose weight immediately.
Some of these changes are painful even months after the birth of your kid. I’d list a couple of things you can do. Make time for exercise but do not focus on losing weight too fast, fat stores energy for proper breastfeeding; you’ll be cleared to exercise about 6-12 weeks after childbirth. You may begin by taking walks with your baby in a stroller (of course when the baby is old enough to be exposed to external weather conditions), register in a close by the gym that has a childcare section, some of them can take care of babies as young as 12 weeks old.
Bonus: How to use kinesiology tape to alleviate pains and general physical changes
I’ll explain how using Athletic Tapes like Kinesiology Tape can help you with some of the pain and swellings you may have as a new mom; KT is an elastic therapeutic tape that helps treat, recover from and prevent injuries. KT promotes better circulation and advantages include better limb performances especially when strained, posture correction after childbirth, you can shower and sleep in it comfortably, it’s very lightweight and flexible and stays on for 3-5 days so you don’t have to make time every day for reapplication. Reasons, why you should use KT as a new mom, are as follows: They make you feel better about your appearance, most mothers feel conscious about their posture and appearance, KT is safe and effective for treating the common pregnancy musculoskeletal pains like the lower back and girdle pain developed while carrying the baby. KT term should be used both while pregnant and after pain. KT alleviates the pain and also helps distribute and take off some of the weight of the child from your pelvis. It is easily used for relief and you will not believe how free you feel just by adding a few strips of tape strategically to either your lower back or abdomen. KT greatly decreases fatigue too.
Three applications of KT for great relief include:
1. Diastasis recti and simple abdominal taping
In cases of Diastasis Recti, a woman’s rectus abdominus physically separates as a result of the baby’s weight. KT is applied on the abdomen to encourage engagement and changes in posture that narrow the abdominal wall. It also helps restore your normal diaphragm breathing patterns.
2. Taping your lower leg
Swellings at the ankles and pain in the foot are normal in pregnancy as a result of the baby’s weight. Taping the foot spirally up to the lower limb helps you keep balance in your feet and centers your gravity while also reducing the anterior tilt of your pelvis. Taping in this way also strengthens your femoral bone and pelvic movements.
3. Taping your posterior areas
Postpartum discomfort in the lower back is common. You’ll be surprised at how less stiff your back feels after placing tape across the painful sites. KTs manages your pain, encourages blood circulation and easier movement. You can also tape your glutes and hamstrings because they are important for correcting your posture by relaxing your anterior pelvic tilt from pregnancy. Placing parallel strips of tapes that move from your hamstrings, over your glutes, over your spine to the center of your back helps you maintain a center of gravity and activates your posterior muscles.
4. Applying tape to correct forehead posture and neck pain
Sometimes, after birth, you feel pain in the back of your neck because of the posterior positioning of your head during pregnancy. Applying a crisscross pattern of taping from the top of your shoulders to just above your back close should encourage proper posture and head positioning. If in doubt, refer to your physical therapist and test a small piece of tape on your wrists first to ensure you aren’t sensitive to it.
In conclusion, good luck with your baby. I have every confidence that having looked out for articles like these that you care about your baby and both you and your baby will be fine. Relax and enjoy the little moments. It’s a time of growth for your baby and as you will find, for you too. Take care of yourself and have a great day.