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!
One of the biggest things I've learned as a mom is life doesn't revolve around me anymore! My life revolves around my two children now. I spend my days with teething, tantruming (I invented this word), potty training, messy and loving babes. I am so busy and focused on their needs it is easy to forget my own.
Self care is so important for moms. We can't give from a place that is empty. Early on in my parenting journey I had to learn quick and easy ways to de-stress and care for myself. I will share with you 5 things you can easily do to care for yourself.
TIP # 1 - TAKE A BATH
- My son was a colicky baby. We were dealing with food sensitivities and he wasn't a happy boy for the first many months of his life. The second my husband came home I handed him off and went to run myself a bath. That 20 minute bath helped me relax and regroup from the day. I was able to re-energize myself and come back to my family a calmer and happy mom.
- Try incorporating 1 cup of Epsom salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil to your bath for a great way to relax your muscles and relieve aches and pains.
TIP # 2 - TURN UP THE MUSIC
- This seems so silly and simple but it helps! When I find my kids are cranky and in a funk I turn on Pandora to my favorite stations. Either Matchbox Twenty or Jewel radio if you're curious ;)
- Getting everyone singing and moving to the music easily helps lift my mood and get the kids distracted from whatever meltdown they were having.
TIP # 3 - GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
- This is with and without your kids! Fresh air is so important for our souls. Go for a walk, to the park, for ice cream.
- I don't care where you go but sometimes you just need to get out of the house! Lately I have found that grocery shopping alone is so peaceful. I usually crank up the music on my drive there and relax. I can actually focus on everything in the aisle... I am not redirecting or keeping peace between the kids. It may be silly but it gives me some time to just relax. This could be to Aldi... or Target... just a couple good ideas ;)
- Go out to eat with a friend. I love getting together with mom friends and just relaxing and laughing and commiserating about our busy and humorous lives as moms.
TIP # 4: SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PARTNER
- As parents, it is easy to get so caught up in the daily hustle and bustle that you forge to take time for each other. Don't forget what made you fall in love. Spend time together talking about your day and decompressing.
- In my home we try and get the kids to bed by 8:30. With our oldest this doesn't always happens, he has FOMO! After they are in bed this is our time to spend together. This is important, make it a priority to be together without your children!
TIP # 5: FIND YOUR PASSION AND PURSUE IT
- This may be a bit abstract but it is important to have a purpose. I have a few passions I have learned over the years. One being teaching! I absolutely love helping couples prepare for their births. I love watching those ah-ha moments!
- I also love crafting and crocheting. It keeps my mind busy and focused. I love the feeling of finishing a project and even more love seeing someone's face when I give them my finished product.
It is important to do the things you love. Don't forget your hobbies or work. These things can help give our lives purpose and help us to decompress and regroup from a stressful day.
I hope these tips help give you a few simple ideas of ways you can care for yourself. As moms, our plates are always full. Take time every day to care for yourself so you can stay a grounded, centered, and happy mom!
Paige is a Childbirth Educator in Sioux Falls, SD
I am happy and excited that my little business is growing! I decided I would share a little about myself with you all. I found a questionnaire on this blog and and tweaked it a bit. I hope you enjoy!
Name // Paige Tillie, Tillie is after one of paternal great grandmother's.
Age // 29
Zodiac Sign // Gemini - I grew up with my mother and sister also being Gemini's... it was wild at times!
Nationality // According to Ancestry, I am 23% Eastern European (Polish, Yugoslavian/Czechoslovakian), 22% Great Britain, 18% Scandinavian, 15% Western European (German), 12% Southern European (Italian/Greek), 6% Finland/NW Russian, and 4% Irish. Many of these are a big surprise to me! Genealogy fascinates me by the way! I was either going to be a nurse or history major!
Fears // Driving over bridges close to the water, losing my children and husband
Favorite Holiday // Christmas, I love getting the house decorated and the way it makes me feel. It makes me remember Christmas' when I was a kid. Playing music, tricking my dad into eating a warhead every year. Going to church in my new dress. Waking up to find Santa's presents. I want to let my children experience these magical moments.
A confession // I am always in my head, I overthink everything. Thankfully I have Jared to be my sounding board.
Things that annoys me // Loud eaters, it literally makes me cringe. I think I have mysophonia
Favorite animal // Horse for sure, I used to have one I named Bingo. They are the most gentle creatures. You have to take time and gain their trust. I always wanted a farm to have my own one day.
Pets // We have two cats, Molly and Max. They were our first babies. With the cat hair though, I will never own another indoor animal.
An embarrassing moment // I am really good at sticking my foot in my mouth. With age I am getting better ha... I was getting a massage for the first time in a few years. I forgot if I was supposed to get completely undressed. I went to ask and as I was opening the door, the massage therapist was on the other side opening the door. She literally jumped three feet in the air and was clenching her chest. It was horrible and I couldn't relax during the whole massage! HA
Favorite store // ELEGANT MOMMY of course. Check them out. They have everything a pregnant woman/mom could need. I once went through every room in my house, my garage and both vehicles. I have something in every room!
Something I fantasize about // Sleeping all night long, sleeping in in the morning... ahh to be 24 again. I work evenings and get home a little before midnight. With kids up at night and being up early in the morning I am learning to be a functioning zombie.
Where I work // I am a Board Certified Psychiatric Registered Nurse. I work part time at an inpatient Behavioral Health Center and I teach Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes.
Favorite band // Matchbox Twenty, Jewel, Brooks and Dunn
Favorite food // My favorite food of all time is called petahe, also known as three corners, cheese buttons, pyrohy. They are Ukrainian, my mother in law's specialty. Basically they are a noodle dough, filled with a cottage cheese mixture. They are boiled then covered with fried onions in butter and sour cream.
This is a Christmas eve tradition with my husbands family. We just made them last night because we were craving them!
This is followed close by Crave's Tropical Poke Bowl... it is literally amazing!
Favorite drink // Diet pepsi... yes I know it's not good to drink. I am trying to end my obsession.
Favorite book // Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Favorite Movie // The Life of David Gale, Zootopia
Favorite TV shows // Parenthood, This is Us, Law and Order: SVU
Things I find attractive // Being genuine, hardworking, sense of humor
My idea of a perfect date // Dinner followed by the Johnny Holm Band! We were able to have this date a few months ago and it was so much fun.
How many siblings do I have // I have two older sisters, an older brother and a little sister.
Something I am talented at // I am really good at crocheting. I have been working on things for probably 15 years. I can make almost anything with yarn.
Things I love // My family, summer nights, vacations, smores, belly laughs from my kids, the smell of my husband's cologne, finishing a good book, finishing a crochet piece
Number of kids I want // Well before kids I said 4-5... now that I have two and don't get sleep I am thinking 3 eventually... Every day we change our minds. Check up with us in 5 years!
Can I cook // Yes! I love to cook and bake. I wish I had a person devoted to cleaning up my mess though!
Favorite Color // Well since my house, our truck (and all my past vehicles), our recliner, washer and drier are all red... I say red :) Thanks grandma
Turn offs // Bad drivers, being self-centered, narcissism
How I feel right now // Tired... both kids have a cold, M is teething which equates to very little sleep. I try to remember my mantra that gets me through the hard times, "This is only a phase."
Someone I miss // My dad, he died ten years ago. For my sisters 21st birthday my mom and I made her a bracelet that has my dads handwriting on it. They surprised me with one as well! I love having a piece of him with me. Check out Say Anything Jewelry.
That is enough about me. I would love to hear from you! If this reaches you, please comment below! Tell me something that makes you unique.
Also, if you were stranded on a desert island for one year and could take two things with you, what would they be?
Paige lives in South Dakota with her husband and two toddlers. She is a registered nurse and Birth Boot Camp instructor.
FollowPaige at www.facebook.com/bbcpaige
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.