I remember how quickly the first few days flew by after my baby arrived. I had all the emotions you can find in the dictionary. I was tired, anxious, happy, sad, hungry, joyful. It’s the “fourth trimester.” The trimester no one tells you about. It’s the special time you spend with your little one alone or with your partner and/or family member(s). It can be awkward and a little weird. It can also be exhilarating and joyful at the same time. In this “trimester,” you are trying to learn how to take care of a new little human, which could be for the first, second, third -or even forth time.
As a first-time-mama, it was a little challenging trying to manage a flux of emotions, waiting for my breastmilk to come in, figuring out the best way to take care of my baby, receiving guests and trying to get some sleep.
Below are some tips that helped me settle into this phase of motherhood.
1. Limit the number of guests visiting at a time: Recovering from childbirth is no joke. I had my daughter vaginally and know how much rest and sleep my body needed. During this time, your baby is using all their senses including smell and touch to differentiate you from other people they meet. It is recommended to keep visitors to a minimum to allow your baby connect with you as you get used to your new family. You also just need a break after the long marathon you and baby just finished.
2. Ask for help: This is one thing that I cannot over emphasize. It is more than likely that you will receive a ton of well-wishes and congratulatory messages from family, friends and loved ones after you have had your baby. Don’t hesitate to ask for help as much as possible. “What would you like?”, “would you like me to bring you anything?”, “how can I help?”. Someone can make you food and bring over, another can help you with your laundry, a friend can do your groceries etc. Just make sure you get the help you need because the last thing you want during recovery is stress.
3. Sleep is a priority: Getting enough sleep is very important in the first few days and weeks after delivery because it helps you heal quicker. After feeding and bonding with baby, try to get some sleep while baby is sleeping. I took advantage of all the help I received in the first three weeks after my daughter arrived. When she napped, I tried to nap. Getting in small dozes of cat naps goes a long way.
4. Drink lots of water: Drinking a lot of water after childbirth is pertinent to help you stay hydrated. It also helps with your initial breastmilk production for baby. I had my sister who came by for two weeks three days after my delivery to fill my 64ounce bottle with water every 1.5hrs.
5. Chat with experienced mamas: if you are able, have a chat with close friends and or family members who are mamas that have gone through the process before. You will be surprised by how much you may learn. While doing this don’t forget that your experience will be different that others so don’t fall into the trap of comparison. Each journey is different.