Throughout the pregnancy, you’ll have constant support, advice and guidance as parents-to-be from a whole host of people.
From your doctor and midwife, antenatal classes, books and resources, family members and friends. Getting through pregnancy can feel like a breeze with so much information and support around to help you.
But what happens once you finally get home with your new bundle of joy?
Any new parent will tell you how tricky it is coping with a new baby in the house, There are so many things that we don’t know to expect until our baby has finally arrived – and that’s normal. Parenthood is an extremely rewarding experience. It’s important to make sure you make some time as new parents to look after yourselves, so you can really enjoy the experience.
Look After Your Body
Both parents need to make sure they take the time to look after themselves physically, and this is especially important for new mums. It can take 3-4 months for your body to heal properly following pregnancy, and with a new baby to care for, exercise and eating right might be the last things on your mind.
Work together as a couple to make sure you give each other time, space and support to look after your bodies. Exercise can be very therapeutic and help combat emotional stress, along with eating right and getting plenty of rest.
Here are some helpful tips for looking after your body:
Remember to rest: those early days will be full of broken sleep and your body needs to adjust. Don’t forget to rest when you can. Sleep when baby sleeps, nap when you can, and make sure you support each other and communicate if you’re feeling the strain of exhaustion.
- Eat Healthily: You’re going to be so busy taking care of your new baby, so it’s crucial to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients for optimal energy and health. Make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats – and keep hydrated!
- Take light exercise: Depending on how your birth went, your doctor will let you know when it is safe to start having some light exercise. Swimming, yoga, walking and light cardio can work wonders for your body while it’s recovering. Even just going for a stroll in the park with your new baby can make a big difference.
Look After Your Emotional Health
Postnatal depression is a very real and sometimes very serious experience for a lot of women. Many women will report experiencing the ‘baby blues’ post-pregnancy as they come to terms with their new body and new way of living. It’s important to make sure you speak up about these feelings and get support if you feel it’s becoming too much.
It is very important to take care of your mental health following pregnancy. Some ways to do this include:
- Be social: After giving birth, it can be tempting to stay shut up at home, coping with looking after your new baby. You might not feel like going out or seeing anyone, but it’s important to make the effort, and time, for family and friends. Even just once a week can work wonders for your emotional health.
- Join a mum and baby group: With your partner, friends and family all at work, you might start to feel a bit isolated, with only your baby for company. Joining a mum and baby group can work wonders for your emotional health as you’ll be interacting with other mums going through exactly the same things as you. It’s a great support network.
- Practice self-care: Self-care is really important and making the time to look after yourself can really help your emotional health. This includes communicating as a couple and giving each other the space to talk about any worries or fears, and supporting each other through them.
- Make sure you talk to someone: If you’re feeling down, or blue, post pregnancy, it’s really important to let someone know. Talk to your midwife, doctor, family or friends about how you’re feeling so they can reassure you that you’re not alone. Your doctor can also make recommendations for coping with postnatal depression if they think this is what you might be experiencing.
Setting a Routine
One of the best things you can do for yourself, your baby and your home post pregnancy is setting a new routine. In the beginning, this may seem really difficult, but the more you stick to it, the easier it will get and you’ll quickly find that both of you as parents, as well as your baby benefit.
This includes simple things like agreeing who is going to cook dinner on what nights, when and who is going to make sure the laundry is done, and pick up the groceries.
Your baby will need feeding at regular intervals throughout the night, so set alarms and get into the habit of waking up to feed them at the same times each night to encourage them into the routine too. Make sure you have a proper morning and night time routine for your baby so that they develop a rhythm – you will definitely reap the benefits of doing this! This includes:
- Feeding at the same time each morning and during the day
- Putting them down for regular naps at the same time each day
- Bath time at the same time each day
- Putting them down to sleep at the same time each day
Make Time to be a Couple
Now that your baby is finally here, it is so easy to let them become your one and only focus – which is completely natural and understandable.
But it’s also very important to still make time for yourselves as a couple.
Agree on a date night each week – you don’t even need to leave the house if you’re worried about leaving baby with a sitter. Just making the time to sit together, talk, watch a movie, get a takeaway and relax as a couple can make all the difference. Remember to switch off mobiles and turn off laptops and give each other your full focus.
This will help you stay feeling connected, and give you the opportunity to get reassurance from each other that you are doing this together, as a team!
Remember: don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. If you need more support from them or are feeling overwhelmed – tell them! Give them the best chance to help you when you need it by telling them.
If you are struggling with anything, no matter how big or small it might seem, make sure you get support.
Having a new baby is hard work! It’s challenging and you will find that every single new parent struggles – especially in the beginning. If after a month or so you’re still having a really hard time, make sure you work out what it is that you need help with and get support.
If that means asking a family member or friend to come over one day a week to help with laundry then do it! If you need an afternoon off or a day off to just relax without baby, then ask someone to come and help out. There is no shame in taking a little bit of time to focus on you so you can be the best mum to baby.
If you’re worried you might be experiencing depression, don’t keep quiet about it – get support. Speak to your partner, family, friends and your doctor so they can all rally around you and give you the help you need.
The most important thing right now is to make sure you are the best version of yourselves so that you can take the very best care of your baby. If having a cleaner come in to take care of all the housework frees up your time to do that, then do it.