Growing your family whether it be bringing your first baby home or baby number two (or three, or four….) can mean big changes for everyone involved. We have come up with a few tips that can help make this time a little easier for you.
- Make a postpartum plan, just as you would a birth plan. Is there family coming to stay? Will your partner be taking time off? If so how much? Who else will be able to come and support you and baby? Hiring a postpartum doula can certainly ease the transition of a growing family. The support postpartum doulas offer varies from family to family but they can help with laundry, light housekeeping, meal prep or even taking care of baby while mom has a nap, bath or shower.
- Take time to bond as a new family. Everyone is in such a rush these days! Taking time – without visitors- just for yourselves to get to know each other without having to play host or feel the pressure to make sure your house is tidy to welcome in guests can be a great way to bond with your new baby.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself! Becoming a parent can be a difficult and messy transition sometimes. There can be lack of sleep, hormonal changes and challenges with feeding your new baby. You are caring for a new life and you have a new set of priorities. This can be really tough and much of society makes us think that we need to “bounce back”, that we need to “get our bodies back” and that we need to be out and about right away. What if we took time to bond with our babies, be gentle with ourselves and appreciate all that our bodies have done, and got comfortable as a new family instead
- When you do decide to welcome visitors, why not put them to work and have them help around the house? Make a list of chores and ask that each guest cross one item off the list when they come for a visit, or ask them to bring food (or coffee).
- Stock your freezer before baby arrives. Why not do batch cooking and freeze the extras? If you plan on having a baby shower ask for freezer meals instead of items you may not use. Bonus tip: make sure that many of these meals can be eaten one handed to make eating while holding baby a bit easier.
- Don’t be afraid to stand your ground when it comes to your baby and your parenting style, philosophies or beliefs. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to pass judgement and/or give unsolicited advice. They will be family, friends or even strangers. Don’t feel that the decisions and choices that you are making are wrong or less than because they are not what others have done. You are doing the best you can and you are making your choices and decisions out of love.
- You cannot spoil a baby. By responding to your baby’s needs you are showing them that they are in a loving and supporting environment. There is no such thing as picking up a baby too much and babies do not know how to manipulate people.
- Taking time for yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby. Even if it just a quick walk around the block or a shower by yourself. Selfcare sometimes looks a little different when you are a parent. Having those few moments of time to yourself can help you come back and be an even better, more present parent to your baby.
- And finally don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek out support. Look into what is available in your community. Here in Ottawa we have some great community resources that offer well baby checks, free drop ins where you can meet with other local moms, meetings with lactation consultants, nutritionists or oral health specialists all for free. Take advantage of them!