The 39-week pregnant mama can't wait to get that sweet baby out and into her arms. She built up how it would be in her head, love, at first sight, those sweet snuggles, pure happiness but now that her perfect little bundle of joy is here the struggle is real. The first six weeks after having a baby are some of the hardest. You're somewhere in between sleep deprived and entirely losing your mind. You now have this small helpless human that is dependent on you to read his/her ques and to figure out his/her needs. You'll learn how to navigate the waters of sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and lots of spit up.
It's important to keep in mind that all this chaos and feeling defeated is just a phase. This sweet newborn stage will be over before you realize it and you'll be wishing you could go back. Soak all the little moments up when you can.
Sorry to break it to you but sleep deprivation won't be the only toll your body takes. You grew a human and birthed it into the world. Regardless of if you had a natural or C-section birth, your body will have some recovery to do. From achy back to leaky boobs you're sure to experience some uncomfortable firsts.
15 Getting Cabin Fever
Having a baby can make you forget there is indeed a world outside your house. At some point in the first six weeks, you'll remember about it and suddenly get a craving for natural light and a car ride to anywhere that doesn't involve watching any more reality tv.
The first day out will be a daunting task. Packing the diaper bag alone is enough to give anyone a little anxiety. Wondering if you have everything. Then where to go? There aren't many places you'll want to take a brand new baby. Make your first trip somewhere comfortable that won't result in stress tears on the way home. The park is a great place to go to get out for a bit without being around too many people. Remember to take it easy since you are still healing up.
14 Keeping Track Of Time
Hours will feel like months but then a month will feel like a second. Half of the time you won’t know what time it is let alone the day of the week. Those undies you had labeled for each day of the week from kindergarten would come in handy right about now. Expect your internal clock will be all kinds of messed up while you acclimate to your new schedule of no sleep.
During the time that your sense of time is nonexistent, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking the time to drink enough water and eat something. Don’t allow an entire day to go by and realize you haven’t had any food or water. It’s easy to do when you’re baby focused. Eventually, as your baby starts to establish a routine, you'll be able to remember what day it is again.
13 Intimacy Problems With SO
Baby comes first always now, so where does that leave your relationship? Stress puts a strain on a relationship, and there is no stress like becoming new parents. You’ll likely struggle as you figure out how to navigate through the waters of parenting as a team. If the baby is sleeping, take a few minutes to snuggle up with your SO and reset.
Make sure you are taking the time to let your SO know you appreciate them. Even though the baby is now the star of the show, it’s important to still show affection toward your SO. Chances are your doctor won’t clear any sex for the first six weeks, but you can still show love and appreciation for all their support as you recover from childbirth.
12 Bonding (Or Not) With Baby
Though of course, you love your baby you might not 'like' your baby right away. For some moms, the bond is strong right from the beginning and others it takes a few days or weeks to get there. It might take some time to thoroughly enjoy your newfound role as a momma. After all, you just met the little guy. Not everything is going to come easy and natural; relationships take work.
Skin to skin and snuggles will help with bonding. Babywearing is a great way to get quality bonding time while getting some things done. If you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by the bonding process, it'll be essential to take some time for you to regroup. You'll soon be able to understand your baby's cues, and this will bring you closer.
11 Getting Physical Again
"Steady and slow wins the race." You need to keep in mind that you just expelled another human from your body, so it's going to take some time to return to normal. Overdoing yourself is going to result in making your life harder as it tacks on extra time to the grueling healing processes that go along with childbirth.
After you start to feel better, the struggle will now be finding the energy and motivation to get moving. Finding the balance between being active and a sleep-deprived milk machine is an exhausting task in itself. Start with small things like gentle yoga or a walk around the park. The craving to feel normal again will be filled once your body allows you to get back into a workout routine.
10 Worrying About All Of It
You spend your pregnancy reading up on babies, of course, you're bound to come across some horror stories. They are the stories that keep you up in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping. Is my baby okay? Is this normal? Everything will most likely be a mini heart attack for a while. The binky doesn't need to be sanitized everytime it drops. The baby doesn't need a bath every night.
Chances are everything is just fine, and your nerves are on high alert, with good reason. You don't need to call your doctor everytime the baby gets the hiccups. You'll always want to go with your gut instinct. Remember momma bear knows best. Knowing newborn CPR is a huge stress reliever, as this is something mommies worry about the most.
9 Finding Support
After you have a baby, everyone rushes in all at once to meet the little one. Of course, they all offer help, assistance, and support "anytime you need it." But then the newness of your baby wears off, and they start slowing drop off like flies. Suddenly it's like pulling teeth even to get someone to come hang out on your couch for an hour so you can talk to another human that speaks with words.
Sometimes it's just a matter of telling your friends and family what you need. Other time it's a matter of weeding out the people who just came around to take a selfie with your baby for their social media account. You'll need to make sure you have a secure support network that you can not only rely on but enjoy hanging out with. Because sometimes all the support we as new moms need is just a conversation in yoga pants over coffee.
8 Being On The Emotional Rollercoaster
If you're now finding yourself crying at sappy commercials on TV, welcome to the mom club. From PMS to pregnancy, after birth hormones are some of the craziest. During birth, the delivery of the placenta causes a decrease in a woman's progesterone level. Meanwhile, when the progesterone levels down, the estrogen levels stay high. This chaos of hormone love can cause you to feel a little more emotional. Sometimes you can even still have pregnancy-like symptoms like hot flashes and cravings.
It's okay to cry, get frustrated, and be a little moody. These mood swings will eventually even out. Though being moody is normal you'll want to keep an eye out for signs of postpartum depression. You can always talk to your doctor if you think it could be a possibility.
7 Body Image Issues
Your body image is an immense struggle after having a baby. It took you nine-plus months to get that big, you can't expect all that belly growth to go away overnight. Aside from the baby bump you'll still have at six weeks postpartum, you're likely to experience some swelling in the first few weeks after delivery.
Don't dis your body. It just gave you the most beautiful gift. Celebrate those stretch marks and give the bump a few months to go down. It'll take time to get back to where you want to be. Eat whole healthy foods and drink lots of water. Most importantly be kind to yourself. Soon you'll be able to start slowly working out. Breastfeeding is also a great way to get that baby weight off.
6 Toughing It Out Through Breastfeeding
Everyone you've ever seen breastfeeding makes it look so natural and beautiful. In actuality, breastfeeding is messy and hard work. You're likely to experience some pain. It's essential to stock up on breastfeeding supplies ahead of time, so you're not sending your husband to the store every three days. Breast pads and a good nipple cream will be your best friend.
The first six weeks of breastfeeding are the toughest - well until they learn to bite. If you can, push through it because the bond you'll have with your little one is worth every toe curling painful latch and milk crusted shirt stain. If you're struggling with nursing, ask your doctor if they can recommend a location consultation in your area to make sure everything is okay. But ultimately, fed is best, so if it's really not working out, then it might be time to consider formula.
5 Asking For Help
After you have a baby, everyone asks "what do you need." If you're anything like me, you tell them nothing or you're good. LIES. Now is a time when people want to help you and do something for you. If you need a gallon of milk from the store and someone asks what you need, tell them you're out of milk. If you need a shower and someone is over and asks if they can do anything for you, ask them to hold the baby for 15 minutes.
Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. Not allowing others to help you when you need it the most is not going to be in your best interest. "It takes a village", let your village help you when you need it.
You'll want to make sure you're getting plenty of rest when the baby allows it. Remember that your body has just been through a trauma of sorts. It's important to take it day by day. You'll slowly be able to do a little more each day until you're back to your regular self.
4 Waiting To Heal
Having a baby isn't something that you can just bounce back from. Your body is going to take some time to heal itself. Regardless of whether you've had a c-section or v-birth you've got some healing up to do. Making sure to take it easy is going to be very important in your healing process. You'll need to be careful especially with lifting.
You'll be extra sore down there for a few weeks, and if you've had a c-section, your incision will be ouching as well. Sleep is a great way to heal your body a little faster, but since you won't be getting much of that with a new boss in town, you can make sure you're feeding your body nutritious meals and drinking plenty of water.
3 Saying NO
Having a new little human around will bring everyone, from your favorite loved ones to ones you haven't talked to, out of the woodwork. Everyone will want to come over and meet your baby. It's okay to tell them no or that you aren't ready for company. Don't feel like you have to say yes to everybody. You can pick and choose who you feel comfortable with.
The first few weeks are an extraordinary bonding time for you and your baby. Don't feel guilty or selfish for wanting to keep that to yourself. If you don't feel right about saying no to certain people, have your significant other do it for you. Make them the bad cop for a change. People will be disappointed they won't get the baby snuggles right away, but they will understand. Do what's best for your new family. Setting boundaries will be crucial the first few weeks and can often time set up the tone for the future years.
2 No Sleep
The first six weeks of having a baby will be like the worst jet lag of your life. For a few days you'll be on a baby high, but then suddenly sleep deprivation will set in with a vengeance. Your eyes will feel like they are swollen shut. You'll be a little cranky and won't be able to get much done. It's okay to stay in your PJs all day and not shower when you have a newborn.
Getting no sleep can also cause you to do silly things like mistaking cinnamon for cayenne pepper when seasoning that cup of coffee you so desperately need, or walking into a room and forgetting why you were in there. Try to nap when the baby naps but if you're anything like me this was next to an impossible task.
1 Remembering To Take A Minute
Babies rely on your for everything, so it's easy to get caught up in taking care of them and forgetting about yourself. Remember to take a few minutes just to breathe. Take that shower, brush your teeth, make something to eat.
You won't be able to be 100% there for your baby unless you take a minute or two now and then to reset yourself. It's critical you stay in tune with yourself by listening to your body, and its needs. Communicate with your support team, and if you need a break take one. Don't feel guilty. Step outside to get some sunshine on your face or take a nap if you need one. The baby will be just fine, and you'll be a better mom if you take that minute for yourself.