I think the one thing I regret the most was not asking for help postpartum.
There were so many times and in different ways that I struggled, but I was too ashamed to ask for help as a new mom, and even has a second time mom.
I felt like I had to prove that I could do it all myself. But the only person I was trying to prove that to was myself and I constantly had this internal struggle that I needed to do it all.
If you choose to breastfeed, ask as many questions as you can while you are in the hospital and have all those resources right there for you. I always thought breastfeeding just came naturally and it was as easy as it looked. I was wrong. My oldest did not have a good latch from the start. It was very painful from the start and everyone told me that I will just get used to it, yet there I was with a three month old crying and wincing every time she latched because of how painful and cracked my nipples were. I went to a lactation specialist, but it was too late. We then had to work on correcting the latch that could have been fixed weeks… months ago.
So, before you leave the hospital or if you are already at home with the newborn ask for as much help as you can. Lactation consultants through the hospital, in most cases are free.
Have them look at your latch, be open to using other positions when latching, find what is best for you. Also ask all the questions you think you may have later down the road. Like when you need to start pumping if you know you will be returning to work in a few weeks. They can guide you through a feeding baby and pumping schedule.
Also don’t be afraid to ask the questions that may seem silly. We have all thought them so just ask, how do I know baby is getting enough, why does baby want to be latched on all the time, am I doing something wrong. These are the questions that constantly run through every new moms mind and I am sure there are more. But if it makes you feel better ask those questions a head of time to a lactation consultant or even your doctor and let them answer and ease your mind.
Sleep is a thing of the past when you have a newborn, but it is still essential. You are going to need your sleep there is no doubt about that, but with a newborn baby that is up every few hours at night, it is difficult. But during the day ASK FOR HELP. The saying sleep when baby sleeps is difficult, yes, but it is important. If that little baby is sleeping, mama needs to lay down to. So, if that means you need to ask someone to hold and watch the baby. Do it because a sleep deprived, hormonal mama is not a fun mama. You won’t like being that person it is not fun, trust me. Plus there are so many people that probably want to come and snuggle that baby so take advantage of that and go get some rest.
Girl you just pushed out a baby, there is no need to be worried about the laundry or the dishes or anything else. Again, if it is piling up ask for help. And when I say ask for help, I mean call your mom or sister or someone and ask them if they would be willing to come and do your dishes or throw in some laundry for you. Don’t let them come in and say, “let me hold the baby while you do that”
Again, you just pushed out a baby and need to heal and rest, you stay on the couch or in bed and let them do the work, and when it is done let them hold the baby so you can sleep. This may seem “demanding” but in the first few weeks adjusting is hard, and your mom or mother in law will understand. They have been here, remember IT TAKES A VILLAGE.
For your Mental Health
Remember during pregnancy all the crazy hormone changes you went through and how up and down you were emotionally. Take that and multiply it by like 10. After giving birth to your placenta your body literally loses a bunch of hormones that it was once used to having. Now that those are gone your body must regulate itself back to your normal pre pregnancy level, this change is what doctors call “the baby blues”.
You may cry for reasons you aren’t even sure of- you may start to feel anxious, nervous, scared and many other things. Baby blues typically go away on their own with in a week or two. But if you are feeling sad for more than two weeks that is when you need to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or even a friend or your mom about how you are feeling, call your doctor before your 6 week check up if you need to.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are real and can make everything feel a lot harder for you. I let my Postpartum anxiety go until my youngest was almost a year old and I wish I spoke up sooner about how I was feeling.
Make sure you are specific when asking for help. My husband and I would get into small fights because I would tell him I needed help and he would start doing things that I didn’t necessarily need help with. I had to ask him specifically
“If you see dishes in the sink, or bottles and pump parts can you wash them?”
“Can you make sure my water cup is always full” this one may seem odd but you are so focused on the new baby that sometimes you forget about yourself but if you ask someone to make sure you are taken care of in certain ways that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
“Can you keep an eye on the washer” This was my way of asking can you keep up with the laundry. In my house if the washer is empty and doesn’t have clothes in it, I am behind on laundry.
I am not one ask for help or accept help, this made it extremely difficult for me sometimes. My family would come over and ask me if there was anything they could do, and I would just shrug and say no. But in the back of my head I had a running list of all the things I needed to get done, like the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom. If someone is coming to your house and asks you if there is something they can do, tell them! Ask them to unload the dishwasher, even if you have to tell them where everything goes at least you are sitting down and resting. Ask them to simply switch the laundry around so you don’t have to get up and do it, they don’t have to fold it (especially if it is intimates) just put it in a laundry basket.
Remember to ask for help. Don’t feel like you have to be super mom and super woman. This is a difficult season you are going through and the more help the better and the easier it will be on you.