magical, exhausting, and new. You’ll get through it with faith, perseverance, and maybe a few of these tips for surviving the fourth trimester.
We all know that one mom who seems perpetually put together, with perfect hair and makeup, even when she has two toddlers crawling up her legs and a newborn strapped to her bosom. Forget about trying to be perfect. If you’re a first-time mom, this is all so new that you have to give yourself a break. It’s hard enough trying to figure out why your infant is crying (again) or when you’ll have a few minutes to take a shower. Moms who have been there understand.
Pay Attention to Your Mood
New moms often laugh and cry simultaneously. Exhaustion, recovery from the exertion of childbirth, and massive hormonal readjustments make mood swings normal. But if you notice yourself feeling sad for days on end or you’re having a hard time feeling as if you’re bonding with your infant, call your doctor. OB/GYNs and pediatricians know that care for the mother is every bit as important as care for the infant and that postpartum depression is real. Treatments are available, so don’t hesitate to ask for help if things don’t feel right emotionally. Finding an online community of new moms for support is great, but leave the diagnosing and doctoring to the medical professionals.
Eat Healthy Meals and Drink Enough Water
Talk to moms who have been there and they’ll tell you they had days when they forgot or were too tired to make themselves anything to eat. Staying hydrated is good advice in general, but it’s especially important for breastfeeding moms. Finding the time to sit down for a complete meal may be difficult, but try to do so at least once a day. You’re exerting yourself a lot after your body has already been through the wringer, and breastfeeding moms burn a few hundred extra calories every day. Go ahead and subscribe to one of those meal services that will deliver fully prepared meals created especially for new parents.
Pamper Yourself and Your Baby
You know that holding your baby skin-to-skin is good for both of you. You could even splurge on a nursing cover for added privacy and softness while you’re breastfeeding. Wear your baby in a carrier or a sling around the house to keep your hands free and your baby close to you.
Here’s another tip for surviving the fourth trimester: let your partner help. Even though they’re exhausted and sleep-deprived just like you, they need time to bond with your baby, too. Take a nap, take a shower, or take an hour or two to read a book or watch TV while they do so. Congratulations to you both, and welcome to the miracle of parenthood!